I’M nervous of the new rules for fire alarms. What if I get the wrong type and it starts sprinkling? It will be drizzling indoors. Fire alarms are the topic of the moment. Or I assume so. “Is yours battery-powered?” said the next table in the café, to chortles.
To remind you, every Scottish home must have interlinked fire alarms in due time. Specifically, a smoke alarm in the room where you spend most of the day. Another in hallways and landings. And a kitchen heat alarm.
Given the huge market ahead, I hope a Scottish line of alarms will be available. When living overseas, we had a US brand of talking alarm in the flat. “Caution. There is smoke in the kitchen,” it would counsel in an American accent when a bagel lingered in the toaster.
A homegrown brand would warn in a Scottish accent. There could be a national competition to become the voicebot of fire safety. Scotland’s flame dame. Or smoke bloke. It would be an alarm with local charm.
Maybe we could have Gerard Butler, Karen Gillan or Len Pennie from Scots Word of the Day on Twitter doing it?
Some talking alarms might seek to appeal to younger Scottish homeowners (if there are any). The alert would be: “Something is burning. Do you have a tinder situation?” Tricky if that went off during an evening of Netflix and chill.
If not an actual Scottish alarm, might there be an existing system adapted for the Scottish market: Google Hoose rather than Google Nest?
Or Scottish touches. One type of alarm, FireAngel, is round and white with a nodule in the centre the size of a Jelly Tot. A box of six looks like Empire biscuits, says my Dad.
And selling fire alarms is surely an opportunity for that institution on many of our high streets, Marks & Spencer. Put fire-detecting equipment on your Sparks card.
At the moment, it’s just about planning.
We have until February 2022 for these interlinked alarms to be in place and most homeowners are still trying to make sense of the rules.
What emerges are different camps with their own approaches. There are the waiters.
They are holding back from any outlay of cash on fire-detecting hardware in case the Scottish Government does a one-eighty. Or a volte-face, though that term better applies to the glum expression worn by those daunted by all the tech.
And there are the batteries. People who say Scotland has a shortfall of sparks – no, it’s not a romantic desert, it’s that the workload of electricians precludes anyone answering your call.
These people intend to self-install an interlinked system which, for some, means reaching the three-metre-high ceiling in many old tenement buildings.
I appreciate the fire alarm rule is for the greater safety of the nation, but I also fear falls, not flames, could dominate injury data for the foreseeable.
Back to where we started. Hair. And that rule requiring one interlinked detecting device to be installed in the room where you spend most of the day. My honest answer: bathroom, with hair gadgets.
An alarming admission.