My world is dark (except for the glow of a TV screen). My world is quiet (except for the soft sounds coming from the TV). I have been lulled into sleep when suddenly a piercing, squawking noise unsettles the night.

At first I think this sound is coming from the TV, but it is not. This sound forces me to become conscious of my surroundings. I get up from the bed and realize it is the smoke detector screaming at me. The problem is which one? There is one in the bedroom, one a few steps away in another bedroom, and a third one a few steps away near the hearth room. As I try to make sense of this noise it stops.

This was not the gentle chirp that becomes an annoyance when the battery is dying. This was the squawking that said get up and out of the house, you have a problem. The only problem we could find was a smoke detector gone crazy. My husband went out into the garage to sniff for smoke, but thankfully there was none .

We settled back into bed, not quite sure of what just happened. Slowly we slipped back into sleep, but just as we were about to fall into deep sleep the squawking began again. This time it did not take us so long to respond.

I jumped out of bed determined to discover which smoke detector was screaming. I noticed the small green light on one turned orange red but then turned back to green when the noise stopped. Now I know which one seems to be going haywire, but I don’t know what to do about it.

I am afraid to go back asleep, thoughts crowd my mind as I lay there waiting for another screech. What if there is a fire and we don’t discover it until it is too late? What would I grab as I head out of the house? What about my computer and books on the other side, I know I can’t get to them. Should I put a pair of shoes next to the bed? How will I do my job without my computer? The rest of the night was a restless sleep, waiting, knowing that alarm may sound any moment.

So far there’s been no repeat of that night. No sounds from any of the smoke detectors. I don’t know what triggered it, but I’m thankful to know I won’t sleep through the alarm. I just hope I never need to hear it for real.

20 thoughts on “Squawking

  1. Judy C. says:

    Those little chirps are one thing, but the squwaks in the middle of the night are alarming. Glad you figured out which alarm was making the noise and that there was nothing more than an errant smoke detector.

  2. I chuckled as I read this – My world is dark (except for the glow of a TV screen). My world is quiet (except for the soft sounds coming from the TV). So glad you had your husband at home to help you problem solve! Such a maddening, worrisome noise.

  3. Stop the squawk! That dreadful sound is bad enough but at night…even worse. So frightening. I hope it never happens for real too. Puts you on edge doesn’t it?

  4. Oh my gosh, the same thing happened to us one time this summer! I reacted just like you did — made Husband go check the whole house, afraid to go to sleep in case there really was a fire, etc. It hasn’t happened again though! We read that sometimes dust can make it do that… Hope that’s all it was for you too!

  5. I like your humor, Elsie. Your first few lines made me snort. And this one: “The only problem we could find was a smoke detector gone crazy.” made Andy want to know what was so funny. Although, it’s not REALLY funny…I hope this isn’t a repeat problem!

  6. Jaana says:

    I know what you mean!!!! I have three (3) smoke detectors waiting replacement batteries! Don;t worry, I still have a working one as well!!! Why do they all need to go at the same time???

  7. There really is nothing more jarring and jolting than a fire alarm. It really is incredible, even when you know it’s a false alarm. Hope technical issues have been worked out, and I too hope you’ll never hear it for real.

  8. Oh, Elsie, I was expecting the squawking of an owl or another animal of some sort that you would be celebrating–not a smoke detector!!! How scary for you! I hope that everything in your home is okay and that you find time to take a nap today!

  9. Ah, the dreaded sounds of the night. Why is it that everything is scarier at night? If that same thing had happened during the day, you would have investigated and checked it out the same way, but I bet it wouldn’t have worried you quite as much. I hope this is the end of the squawking for you!

  10. Your use of “suddenly” had my mind thinking of several scenarios. How unrestful your sleep must have been. I can hear the annoying screech but am thankful for its definite usefulness.

  11. Things that go bump in the night. What wakes me in the night is the sound of a cat being sick somewhere in the house. I just need to find the spot before I walk into it.

  12. Ah, this is a little different from what you usually write about–nature at its best. It’s mysterious and frightful that leads to many wonderings and questions. What a good month for this new genre of yours!

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