Smoke Detectors Don't Wake Children - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Smoke Detectors Don't Wake Children

Many people rely on smoke alarms to help save their family and don't give them a second thought. Firefighters recommend them and most people believe the alarms will wake their children and help get them out alive. But firefighters say children may ignore the alarms and sleep right through them.

Studies have shown that as many as 71% of children sleep through smoke alarms. And in our test, 6-year-old Bella did'nt wake up in the first minute or even in the first five.

"Well, it's disturbing, to watch her not budge, it doesn't make you feel safe at all," said Bella's father Matt Funk.

The smoke alarm rang in at 112 decibels and in Bella's room still at an ear-piercing 84. This is the same as sleeping through the noise made in city traffic.

Firefighters say there are ways to make the alarms more effective."Press the button and make sure they know what it sounds like and that when it goes off there is probably a fire in the house," says Kennewick Firefighter Scott McLellan.

Firefighters also suggest trying new kinds of smoke alarms, ones with a lower frequency or that use a parent's recorded voice as a warning. Most of all, they say fire alarms are still effective.

"We've been on cases where families got out because of them and its always sad when people don't make it out because they don't have a working one," said McLellan.

Homes with smoke alarms do have a 40% or 50% lower death rate than those without.

"I think it is best off that she would be at the top of my list..and I'm pretty confident in myself that i could get her out," said Funk.

 Firefighters remind parents to check smoke detectors and change their batteries every six months.