Fire is an element so old we rarely even think about it. While no one should be overly preoccupied with concerns about house fires — except maybe Team Guardian, that’s kind of our thing — understanding how they start and loading your tool belt with strategies to help prevent them is essential.
In Part 3, we’re bringing it home with what we believe is the number one, most important factor in fire safety at home: professionally monitored fire alarms.
Why professional fire monitoring?
So why does professional monitoring matter? To start answering that question, let’s recap what we already know about fire:
Fire detection equipment is incredibly important, and working smoke alarms (preferably combination smoke and heat detectors) are your first line of defense. And you have the choice for those devices to be monitored or non-monitored.
“Non-monitored” smoke alarms, sometimes referred to as “local,” can be effective in providing an early warning of a fire and giving people more escape time. They’re helpful when they’re working properly, as long as you’re at home and alert.
But there are a lot of scenarios where standard smoke detectors can fall short, such as:
- What if you aren’t home when fire is detected?
- What if your pet is home alone?
- What if you’re a heavy sleeper?
What raises the biggest concern in all of these instances is that all of the responsibility is on you. It’s kind of like that old thinker, if a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? Well, we’re posing another question that’s a lot less philosophical:
If a smoke alarm sounds in your house and there’s no one there to hear it, who’s going to save your house?
Maybe no one.
A non-monitored smoke detector is only designed to notify whoever is inside the house or building that there’s an emergency and it’s time to get out. That means that if your alarm goes off and there isn’t anyone who can hear it and call 9-1-1, then the fire department may not be notified until it’s too late to save your property.
This is why we recommend professionally monitored smoke alarms: You need someone to get your back. Luckily, there are experts for that.
How professional fire monitoring works
Monitored smoke detectors are connected to a 24/7 central station who can notify the fire department whether your system is armed or not, whether you are sound asleep or away from home.
To explain, let’s use Guardian Protection’s process as an example.
Here’s a scenario that could happen in any home, and what happens if you have Guardian’s professional monitoring team on the job:
See the difference? The flow of action screeches to halt pretty early when you’re the only one doing the monitoring. Once that alarm sounds, the ball is completely in your court. You hear the alarm (maybe), you get your family out of the house, and then you have to call the fire department. To put it bluntly, the buck stops with you.
Imagine that fire started while you were on vacation, at work, or even just asleep.
Actually, Megan was asleep when a fire started in her home. So was her five-year-old son.
Megan is a Guardian customer who didn’t know a fire broke out in her kitchen until one of our protection specialists called to warn her. He stayed on the phone with her until she and her son got to safety.
Here’s her story.
Every second truly counts. Monitored fire detection will make the most of those seconds.
More fire safety tips for families
Fire safety is a combination of basic education and awareness, proactive steps, and practice. It’s a lifelong practice that never ends, like healthy eating and good hygiene. Let’s bring all of our hot takes together to wrap up this crash course:
- Know the most common causes of home fires, and be mindful of potential problem-areas in your home.
- Take proactive steps to stay safe, like installing professionally monitored smoke detectors in your home and testing them once a month.
- Create a family fire escape plan. Everyone should know it by heart and practice it at least twice a year. It’s free, it’s easy to do, and it will help maximize every second your family has to safely get out if there is a fire.
- Make sure that you have at least two ways out in case one is blocked by a fire, as well as routes for escape from all the different floors of your home.
- If your house is multi-story, consider purchasing a fire escape ladder. If someone lives in the basement, make sure they have a window to escape through.
- Talk to your kids about the importance of fire safety. Help them understand it’s a tool for adults, not a toy for kids.
- Keep fire extinguishers in your homes, make sure they’re easily accessible, and know how to use them. Share the PASS acronym with your family: It’s P-A-S-S, for Point, Aim, Shoot, and Sweep.
Fire maybe scary, but Guardian can help! We offer free fire and CO monitoring when you have a Guardian Protection security system. These devices are monitored even when your security system is disarmed.
Our team of experts can help whatever it is that makes your world special — your kids, your home, your business, your pets, you name it. Have a puppy who spends a lot of time home alone? No problem. Have a small business you’ve poured your heart into? We got it.
To learn more about what Guardian Protection’s professionally monitored fire alarm systems can do for you, call 1.800.PROTECT, or sign up for a free consultation at guardianprotection.com.
This is part 3 of a 3-part series covering the essentials of home fire safety and prevention.