Tools For Fire Preparedness
Monitored smoke detectors can help your family get out safely when things get hot.
Most people installing an alarm system want to help protect against burglaries and home invasions. And while it’s important to secure valuables, ADT sales representative John Soulos says many forget about a far more devastating threat: fire.
“Roughly eight people a week in Canada lose their lives to fire,” he says. “The size of a fire doubles every 30 seconds. That’s an alarming rate, and if you don’t react immediately it will quickly get out of control.” State-of-the-art smoke detectors offer an advantage that you may need.
“People really don’t consider smoke detectors as part of their alarm system until you show them the facts,” Soulos says. “When you talk about security systems, people worry about someone breaking in and stealing their jewellery – and to be honest, I used to think that way too. But if someone breaks into my house, l can replace what they steal. I can’t replace my family.”
All homes should be equipped with smoke detectors, of course, but Soulos says there are significant advantages to going a step farther and using a monitored ADT system. ADT also offers monitored carbon monoxide detectors: like monitored fire detectors, these are important because they work whether or not you are home or able to respond to them and directly contact emergency services.
There are about 12,000 residential structure fires in Canada every year. Cooking, smoking, and faulty electrical appliances are leading culprits. Complicating the problem are modern construction materials, which burn faster than traditional wooden homes and release potentially deadly toxic compounds.
Off-the-shelf smoke detectors generally use ionization technology, which can lead to a false alarms. “If they’re activating every time you burn toast, or when there is too much dust or even high humidity, you may take out the battery and forget to put it back,” he says. Smoke detectors also need to be replaced every few years – something that many neglect to do.
Even the best smoke detector is limited in its effectiveness if it’s not monitored. If the alarm is beeping and nobody is home to hear it, or if residents are unconscious, it’s not much help. And networked alarms that aren’t monitored can warn you of potential trouble but can’t do anything about it.
In contrast, ADT’s sophisticated photoelectric devices come with a heat detector, so not only do they quickly react to smoke, they can also alert homeowners to heat within walls – potentially stopping slow-burning fires before they get out of hand.
Equally importantly, they are linked to the company’s network of monitoring stations, so when a fire occurs, there is an immediate response.
When an ADT fire detection system identifies smoke or excessive heat, it sends a text or alert to the customer’s phone. Meanwhile, the ADT monitoring station will already have jumped into action. The moment an alarm is triggered, Soulos explains, “a live agent calls your home, and if nobody answers, the fire department is dispatched. We don’t go down the list of names on the emergency contact list – we can’t take that chance with fire doubling every 30 seconds.”
Residents may also be home, but unable to answer or hemmed in by smoke and flames. “If you’re in your home and there’s an uncontrollable fire what do you do about it? What if you don’t have your phone?” Soulos asks. “With ADT, if you’re trapped in a room with no phone or access to the outside, you know someone is on their way.”
But fire safety goes beyond the gadgets. In addition to installing a monitored ADT system, Soulos says it’s also critical to have an evacuation plan and to practice it with the family every few months, so that everyone knows what to do in an emergency.
Using the floor plan of the house, he works with customers to identify potential problem areas when it comes to getting out quickly, and helps them develop a rapid evacuation plan – something many have never considered. “The evacuation plan is something people really appreciate,” Soulos says.
Ensuring your family is prepared for a possible home fire is one of the most important actions you can take, he says. “Most fires occur when people are sleeping,” Soulos says–but with an ADT system, someone’s always keeping watch.
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