Fire Protection & Your Home Alarm System

Home alarm systems are, as we’ve discussed, not just about intrusion detection. Another very important role that residential security technology can play in your peace of mind is to detect certain conditions in your home. One of the most important of these is fire detection.

Unlike intrusion direction, which is only “active” when your alarm system is armed, fire detection devices don’t need to be turned on and off. A monitored smoke detector is working all the time. These detectors provide an incredible service.

In fact, fire protection all by itself is a major reason to have a monitored home alarm system in the first place.

  • Let’s say you’re away when the fire happens, so you’re not home to hear that non-monitored noisemaker alarm go off.
  • How about if you are home – and overcome by smoke? Most fire deaths are caused not by the fire itself, but by smoke inhalation. Wouldn’t you rather know that if you are overcome by smoke, help could be on the way?
  • An additional advantage is that your insurance company may well offer further discounts for fire monitoring over and above the savings you’ll see just from having a monitored intrusion system.

So, let’s briefly recap the key benefits of adding fire protection monitoring to your alarm system:

  • Non-monitored smoke alarms – even the extensive systems sometimes required by building codes – will never summon help. They do nothing when you are away, or if at home and overcome by smoke.
  • Fire protection monitoring should not add a penny to your monitoring fees.
  • Fire monitoring should provide you with additional home insurance discounts.
  • Pets that are home alone need monitored fire protection, too!


Smoke and heat sensors are best placed high on the wall, or on the ceiling – and as a rule, not in the “corner” where the wall and ceiling meet. I generally recommend one sensor on each floor, starting with the upper floors, and working down (since heat rises, and upstairs is usually where the bedrooms are).

As you may imagine, the kitchen is not a great location for the smoke & heat sensor. There is too much possibility of a false alarm. The same can be said for a bathroom, as the steam may be interpreted by a sensor as smoke.

Monitored Fire Detection is Best

It’s great to know that if you are away from home – or if you are at home, and are overcome by smoke – that help can be on the way in minutes. That’s why a monitored smoke & heat sensor is the wise choice for homeowners looking for true peace of mind. Frankly, anything else is just a noisemaker.

3 Things To Remember To Stay Safe At Christmas

Ho, Ho, Ho – the Holiday season is here again – a time of celebration and gatherings.  However, it is always best to pay attention to safety issues so that nothing spoils the occasion.  Here are three suggestions to bear in mind to help keep you and family safe and secure:

1)   Trees and Decorations

When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant.” Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean the tree won’t catch fire but it does mean that the tree will resist burning and should be able to be extinguished quickly.

When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and when bent between your fingers, needles do not break. The trunk of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.

When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces and radiators. Because heated rooms dry live trees out rapidly, it is safer to keep the stand filled with water.

Cut a few inches off the trunk of your tree to expose the fresh wood. This will allow the tree to absorb the water and help to keep it from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.

Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use nonflammable holders and place candles out of children’s reach.

Indoors or outside, always use lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing agency that indicates conformance with safety standards.

Check each set of lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets.

Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.

Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.

Before using lights outdoors, check to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.

Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use insulated staples to hold strings in place, not nails or tacks. Or run strings of lights through hooks.

Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks. Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.

2)   Drinking and Driving

If you are planning outings to celebrate the season and they include alcohol, the best approach to ensure your safety and the safety of others is to use common sense. If you are driving home, don’t take any chances – stick to soft drinks all night. If you do wish to drink alcohol make plans in advance about how you will get home – book a taxi, arrange a designated driver or ask a friend or family member to pick you up. Make use of specialist companies that arrange to drive you home if you have drunk more than you planned – or book yourself into a hotel.

3)  Alarm System

Burglars are well known to target homes at Christmas.  They know there is a possibility that the home owner may be away and there are potentially lots of expensive gifts around.  Installing a monitored security system can help to protect your home and family.  If you already have a home alarm remember it is only effective when it is armed, so make sure you have it turned on when you are away!