January 27, 2015
As a new generation of connected fire and smoke detectors hits the market, it’s important to know that not every detector billed as “smart” delivers the maximum safety for your home and family.
A detector that is part of a fully integrated Smart Home is always safer, smarter and more efficient than a standalone fire/smoke detector, particularly when it comes to taking action in an emergency.
If you’re considering a connected detector or solution to protect against fire, smoke and C02, there are three things you should know.
1: Your fire and smoke detectors should automatically alert emergency services
Fire/smoke detectors are life safety devices. As such, signaling inside the house isn’t always enough. If a homeowner is away from the house during an unexpected emergency, the home will be unprotected. Neighbors are put at risk if the fire spreads. Pets are in danger.
Smart devices should automatically alert emergency services when they detect smoke or fire. With a Smart Home Security system powered by Alarm.com, professional monitoring and emergency response is a core service. In addition, Interactive Services make it possible to send alerts to anyone else who needs them, like the homeowner, neighbors and friends or family close by. A fire/smoke alarm that does not alert emergency services is limited in the safety it can provide.
A real life example of the power of emergency response paired with personal alerts happened to an Alarm.com user who had a fire in his condominium when he wasn’t at home. His system automatically alerted emergency services and the fire department responded in minutes to put out the fire before it could endanger his neighbors. It’s a touching story because the user also got an instant alert sent to his phone and was able to rush home and save his dogs.
2: If your smoke detector depends on WiFi, you’re taking a risk.
WiFi is fine for surfing the Internet, but depending on it for life safety puts your home and family at risk.
Loss of Internet service, power outages and WiFi signal reliability can all prevent a device from sending emergency alerts. Fire/smoke detectors in essential areas like basements or attics may not work properly due to weak WiFi signals.
In contrast, an always-on dedicated cellular connection provides a highly reliable signal, while battery backup keeps that signal strong during a power outage. Alerts are reliably delivered to emergency services and the property owner.
3: Detectors provide more safety when they’re part of a connected home system
Standalone fire/smoke detectors only understand one aspect of your home, a potentially costly limitation when it comes to life safety devices.
A fully integrated Smart Home pulls information from devices inside and outside the home, and enables your home to take action in the event of an emergency.
In the case of a fire, the home knows to shut down the HVAC to reduce the spread of smoke and ash, locks can automatically open to facilitate a fast exit, lights can turn on, and neighbors can be alerted to the danger. In this way, your house becomes safer when your devices are connected to each other through a Smart Home platform.