I have to say, the first time I saw this fantastic little bit of gear I thought it was a put-on. About the size of an old-fashioned zippo lighter, this miniature smoke alarm gives you about the best life saving bang for your buck at around US$28 that you’ll ever get.

First of all, I’ve made and heard all the excuses ever heard about pain-in-the ass smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms. You know, moaning and whining about how they go off a lot and make dreadful noises like a cat keening and only seem to go off while you’re having sex or are deep in Rem asleep. The fact is that, even though they do make that dreadful caterwauling, its either because there really is an emergency, there’s too much smoke in your kitchen from cooking, or, most likely, it needs a new battery.

First Alert Atom P1000

It’s called maintenance, sucker. Just like your car or your lover. You can’t expect to just plug them in and forget about them into perpetuity. More of them get broken because of the owner’s frustration when he can’t figure out how to get the battery out.  You yank out the battery and sometimes the wires and all and toss it across the room forgetting you are no longer a child. This problem could, of course, have been allayed in advance had you read the instructions in the first place. But, really, aside from the batteries, a smoke alarm only needs replacing every ten years, a Carbon Monoxide alarm every seven. If, according to Consumer Reports, folks knew how to install and maintain these gadgets properly, fire deaths would drop by 36% and as many as 1100 lives a year would be saved from fire in the U.S. each year. So that’s why need to spend $28.

First Alert’s Atom P1000 packs all of the power of an advanced photoelectric smoke alarm in a miniaturized design. Its alarm is simple and designed to be both an unobtrusive piece of decor and the latest in practical micro technology. For shoppers seeking the latest in performance and décor. Be warned also that the Atom features an advanced smoke entry recognition system for fewer false alarms. It also features a shrill, penetrating alarm siren for maximum protection, which is inescapable from the limited area of one’s own home. Smaller than a dollar bill, you can basically place it anywhere – on the ceiling, on the wall, under a table, etc. Your old school alarm may be some unsightly thing everybody hated to have floating above them in the kitchen. Your Atom P1000 is, instead – dare I say it – cute!

Installation is easy. The Lithium long-life battery comes included with the kit. Replacement batteries are also east to find for its CR2 batteries (which is, again, an improvement over the previous models). You simply drop the battery into its compartment, and then screw the alarm onto the wall or ceiling with the provided screws using your own Philips-head screwdriver.

I have nothing negative today about this product except it only comes in white.  Warrantied for ten years, it’s a product you can sleep safer next to than a Rottweiler. Accept no substitute!

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