Monitored Smoke Alarms For Unattended Fires | Guardhouse Security
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Monitored Smoke Alarms: Protection for Unattended Fire Breakouts

03/17/2014

Monitored Smoke Alarms Protect Against Unattended Fire Breakoutsphoto credit: Mick Chester Photography via photopin ccRecently, our central station received a fire alert from a customer’s alarm control panel. While at work, our customer’s dryer caught on fire. Once the central station received this signal, they dispatched the fire department and attempted to contact the customer. Unfortunately, the customer was occupied in business meetings and was unable to answer his phone, so the central station left several messages explaining the situation. When the customer arrived home from work, his burned-out dryer was in his driveway, but his home was safely protected from any other fire-related damages.

When you’re away, who would call the fire department before everything you care about is ruined? You might already have a hardwired AC or battery-operated smoke detector in your home, but would you hear them if you’re not there?

Let’s take a look at how the different types of smoke detectors match up:

Battery-operated. Most battery-operated smoke alarms are not connected to other detectors, remote warning devices, or a central monitoring station. If the alarm is located outside a bedroom and the door is closed, a sound sleeper may not hear it go off. In a multi-level home, the smoke alarm may be located on a different floor, making it difficult to hear. These cases increase time to discovery of the fire, and the chance that items are destroyed. Another thing to be on the lookout for is the life of the batteries. Detectors do not function properly if the batteries aren’t replaced. The time it takes to get the ladder out and change the batteries doesn’t sound like that much of a hassle when valuable items (and lives) are at risk.

AC Powered Detectors. These detectors were most likely installed by an electrician when the home was first built. The vast majority of these detectors use ionization technology to detect fires and, unfortunately, recent studies have shown these detectors to be inferior to photoelectric detectors. Moreover, these detectors are not connected to a central station so unless you are home, no one is going to know that they are going off.

Monitored Detectors. Monitored detectors primarily use photoelectronic technology and, in our opinion, provide the best kind of early warning when located on all levels of a home and all bedrooms. As soon as it senses a fire developing, the monitored detector signals an alarm and activates a siren on both the detector and the home’s alarm system. It also simultaneously sends a fire alarm signal to the central station, which in turn notifies the fire department. Monitored detectors can be either hardwired with a back up battery or battery powered only. If your batteries run low, the alarm’s control panel will notify you that its time to change the batteries.

How does a monitored smoke detector work with a security system?

Monitored Smoke Alarms Protect Against Unattended Fire BreakoutsThe smoke detectors are connected directly to the security control panel, which is monitored by your security dealer. It doesn’t matter if they are installed with a new system or added to an existing one.

After the detector senses smoke, the control panel triggers the alarms and relays the emergency signal to your monitoring service. To verify the alarm, since time is of the essence, the monitoring center calls you after dispatching the fire department. Whether you are home or away, the local Indianapolis fire department is notified and help is on the way.

What if the next time the fire broke out, you weren’t just 20 minutes away at work? You might be headed for vacation. The bags are packed in the car, and all that’s left is to activate the security system. Your house may be protected from burglars, but not the potential danger of fire. Think about the family photo albums it would steal; the memories you can’t replace. If monitored smoke alarms aren’t included as part of your security system, your home could be at risk.

Transform the same system that protects your home from intruders into one that also guards it against fire, with a monitored smoke detector.