Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Extreme Reactions to Temperature Extremes


I don't have the complete story. I don't even have all the details. This is not due to a lack of communication -- It is just that whenever I start to ask I get all giggly and have to sit down.

Okay. So yesterday I left for work crazy early (like everyday) and as I left, the house was screaming through every smoke detector for no good reason at all and all parties involved figured it would just stop in a few minutes like it always does.


It did not. When I arrived at work there were a few instant messages from Shana letting me know that our home was still a shrieking wasteland full of nervous cats. She also let me know that Google was unhelpful in providing a list of people to call about that.

I had to try for myself, since Google is not about failure to produce search results. Google is about the instant availability of information needed to live.

But "False Smoke Alarm" and "Thermal Detector Failure" and "Houston Fire Alarm" all turned up nothing we could immediately use.

The Fire Marshal's office was closed.

The City of Houston Fire Department Administration Office seemed a little freaked out that I didn't want a Firefighter to speak at my child's Elementary School or to have them park a fire truck in front of a carnival somewhere. They had no form for help with smoke detector issues and, sadly, no protocol for things which fall out of the bounds of the standard forms.

Shana had a different experience, which will be dramatically reproduced below to the best of my understanding:

Scene 1, near a coffee maker somewhere in the suburbs--

Dispatch: Houston Fire Department Non-Emergency Services, how may I direct your call?

Shana: Our smoke detector goes off when it gets cold and the heater kicks on. Who can we call to have that fixed or destroyed?

Dispatch: Your smoke detector goes off?

Shana: Yes.

Dispatch: Is it going off right now?

Shana: Well, yes. One goes of then they all go off. It's very loud. Could you speak up?

Dispatch: Are you still in the house?

Shana: My coffee is here.

Dispatch: A truck is on the way. Please leave the house immediately and stand out front. Will you need me to remain on the line?

Shana: There is no fire.

Dispatch: Thank you for calling the Houston Fire Department. Help is on the way.

Lights dim, scene changes to Yahoo Messenger window--

Shana: The Fire Department is on the way. You can stop Googling. 

Garrick: That was fast. They have guys who fix smoke detectors?

Shana: Maybe. They are "sending a truck".

Garrick: Fire Truck?

Shana: Not sure what other kinds they have.

Garrick: Lights and sirens?

Shana: Maybe. I'm supposed to go stand in the yard and wait. BRB

Garrick: Pictures! I have to blog this!


Apparently, yes. Lights and sirens and a giant red truck, though since my request for pictures was late I have to abide by the standard "Pics Or It Didn't Happen" law of the intarwebz. They stormed the house, found the failing detector, carried it into the yard and smashed it with fire axes, then drove off. Kind of like really loud ninjas in raincoats.

And I missed the whole thing!

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