Residential Fires:How Fire Monitoring Saves Lives




Not all Fire Alarms are Created Equal

The e-mail I received from a colleague just after Christmas was heart-breaking. She apologized for not responding to my latest e-mail and the reason? Three days before Christmas, her best friend lost all three of her children in a fire that gutted their home…

The cause of this appalling tragedy was apparently due to the lack of functional smoke detectors to rouse the family. Every year in the US, the lack of fire monitoring in residential situations causes loss of lives and property To get some idea of the reality of this problem, here are the figures for 2012 as compiled by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

In 2012, “U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,375,000 fires. These fires resulted in 2,855 civilian fire fatalities, 16,500 civilian fire injuries and an estimated $ 12,427,000,000 in direct property loss. There was a civilian fire death every 3 hours and 4 minutes and a civilian fire injury every 32 minutes in 2012. Home fires caused 2,380, or 83%, of the civilian fire deaths.”

Sadly, these shocking figures will remain just that for many of us until some unforeseen disaster strikes someone we know. If you already have a working home security system, surely fire monitoring should be one of the most important functions of that system?  By integrating fire monitoring into your existing system, you are taking a wise step to protect your home and family.

Fire Monitoring is Affordable

Many consumers are put off by the belief that such systems come with a high price tag. Sure, there are plenty of alarm companies who will load the charges for smoke or heat sensors. These same companies often add unnecessary fees for a service that does not cost them any extra.  But this doesn’t have to be the case; the best reputable alarm companies will usually include fire monitoring at no extra cost to you.

Am I saying that a standard, non-monitored, smoke detector won’t work?  No!  Obviously, it will always be better than nothing and properly maintained (batteries checked regularly, etc.) these solutions have saved lives. But they do have serious limitations and many consider them to be just noisemakers.


So How Does a Good System Work

Your home security system with fire monitoring can include smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide detectors. These are 24 hour zones and are on all the time. While smoke and heat detectors protect from the risk of fire, carbon monoxide detectors guard against the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Local fire code requirements for a fire alarm system can differ from state to state and county to county. You can check these with your local fire department and a good security company will be able to advise you of the specific conditions each security system has to meet.

Alarm systems (including those with fire monitoring) are usually required to have maintenance checks carried out every 6 – 12 months.


Better Companies Offer Fire Monitoring

A good alarm company will recommend at least one monitored smoke and heat sensor with every system they install. There are a number of reasons for this. Should you be away from home when fire breaks out, the monitored alarm will send alerts that get immediate response.

And if you or your loved ones are overcome by smoke in your own home, a fire monitoring system will contact the people who can provide the fastest help available. As with burglaries and home intrusions, a fast response to fires is critical.

Your home security system is vital but fire monitoring is the next most important function to have in place. With the extreme cold driving more of us indoors, using more heating devices, adding fire monitoring to your home alarm system makes good sense.


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