When I got home from work on Thursday my smoke alarm was beeping. No problem, I thought, I will just change its batteries and go about my day. Then I changed the batteries and it kept chirping.

After a little bit of internet research, I found out that the alarm beeping five times every 30 seconds actually means the poor little bugger is at the end of its life. It is literally called the End of Life Chirp. That's so depressing.

Suddenly, what sounded like a low battery indicator at first now sounded like a small animal dying.

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After I removed the alarm from the wall it let out three long beeps, the kind of beeps it would emit if there were any smoke or carbon monoxide, then it went silent, never to beep again.

I put the smoke alarm in a shoebox surrounded by small sticks, then I put it on a makeshift cardboard raft and gave it a viking funeral in the pond behind my house. It seemed somehow appropriate to end its life with fire.

Obviously, this is all tounge-in-cheek, but it is a good reminder to stay on top of smoke/carbon dioxide alarms to keep them in working condition. This is especially true in the winter when we are likely using space heaters, candles and other things to make sure our home stays warm throughout the dark, endless Minnesota winter.

According to the US Fire Administration, smoke alarms should be checked once a month.

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