There are over 1.3 million fires in the United States every year, claiming an average of seven lives per day. Many of these fires are preventable; in fact, the most common cause of residential fires is cooking. But there are plenty of steps that families can take to prevent fires and increase emergency preparedness. One easy way is by adding a smart fire alarm to your home security system.
The importance of smoke detectors
Smoke detectors are an essential part of preventing home fire-related deaths. Three in five of these deaths occur in homes that don’t have working smoke detectors, and installing one will reduce your risk of dying in a fire by 50%.
If you already have a smart home security system in place, adding a smart smoke detector can help give you even more peace of mind. These devices connect to your smart home and work with the same technology you use to control your security cameras and video doorbells (often IFTTT and an app you control via WiFi).
By nature, smart smoke detectors come with a long list of benefits that you won’t get with a regular smoke detector. You’ll get mobile notifications when one of your detectors picks something up, showing you exactly where in the house the problem is occurring – even if you’re not there. Smart fire alarms will also automatically self-test and let you know when batteries need to be changed. And if you accidentally trigger the alarm by burning your dinner, you can easily silence it through the app instead of covering your ears while you wait for the noise to stop.
Smart fire alarms should be placed just as you would place any smoke detector: in each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every floor of your home. If you get a smart fire alarm with built-in CO detection, you’ll have the added bonus of not needing to place extra devices.
Easy upgrades to your existing gadgets
If a smart fire alarm isn’t quite in your budget, you can still upgrade your existing smoke detectors with smart batteries. These WiFi-enabled batteries can be inserted into the battery compartment of your “dumb” smoke detector. They’ll send you a notification when the alarm goes off or a battery needs to be recharged.
You can also decrease the risk of home fires by installing smart plugs. These mini devices are plugged in between the outlet and any electrical appliance, such as a toaster. You can shut the power supply to these devices off using your smart plug app after you’ve left the house without having to remember to unplug them before you go.
Professional home monitoring and fire safety
Many home security systems come with the option to subscribe to professional monitoring. Some of these packages include fire and carbon monoxide detector monitoring. If you have one of these plans, your security company will get notified in the event that a smart fire alarm detects an issue. They can dispatch emergency services to your home and notify friends and family automatically.
Here are a few home security providers that offer fire safety monitoring:
- ADT offers 24/7 smoke monitoring, fire alarm response, and emergency dispatch services with their packages.
- Vivint’s smart fire alarms use photoelectric detection technology to sense fires faster and sound the alarm before smoke becomes detectable.
- SimpliSafe offers inexpensive fire detection solutions with smoke detectors that cost only $29.99. Their emergency response plan includes firefighter dispatch and SMS notification to you and your list of close contacts.
Other ways to protect yourself
Once you’ve installed smart fire alarms, take the opportunity to evaluate your fire safety plan as a whole. Your homeowners insurance plan should include fire and smoke damage with a high enough limit to cover your assets. You should also document those assets by performing a home inventory, or a thorough documentation of your personal property that includes photos, receipts, serial numbers, and warranty details. A home inventory is extremely helpful to have when filing an insurance claim after a fire. It’s much easier to document your possessions before an emergency occurs so that you can replace them without hassle.
The Bottom Line
If you have a smart home, it’s time to upgrade your smoke detectors. Smart fire alarms can help protect your family and reduce emergency response time. When every second counts in a fire, you just might be saving a life.