When a smoke alarm started beeping every 60 seconds I assumed I had time to figure it out. The offending object was in my guest house well out of everyday ear shot. No guests in residence. I was thinking the battery would eventually just die, and be OK to dump into the recycling can.

Didn’t happen.

I got out the ladder, took the thing down from the ceiling, tried opening it to extract the battery. Wouldn’t open. Still chirping through the first week. Located my file with the manufacturer’s brochure, which explained I couldn’t open the white plastic case because it wasn’t supposed to be opened. I was dealing with a “state of the art permanent alarm,” except that one wasn’t exactly permanent. Sounding out every 60 seconds supposedly indicated a dead battery. Clearly not dead enough, it chirped away relentlessly into the second week.

By the third week of nonstop beeping I considered trying to smash it to pieces with a hammer, when asking the Fire Station for help came to mind. Why-Didn’t-I-Think-Of-That-Sooner?

Problem solved by a firefighter in 5 minutes.

The final step went this way: Park right in front, ring the fire house doorbell, hand the noise maker to a very cordial fire person, who did not laugh at my predicament. (Not in front of me anyway.) 

He immediately flipped open the unopenable case, disappeared briefly, and returned with my old smoke alarm, chirpless and back in service. Three-week ordeal ended. Sanity restored. Another grateful little old lady rescued.

And, the alarm purchased as a replacement for the chirper goes back to Home Depot for a $100 refund. Sometimes life on this old island can be too good to be true.

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