While we have made significant progress over the years in educating people about fire prevention and taking precautions in the home, it’s striking to see the following statistics.
In 2015, the National Fire Protection Association reported that:
In fact, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported there were 1,345,500 fires in the United States in 2015 alone. These fires caused 3,280 civilian deaths, 15,700 civilian injuries, and $14.3 billion in property damage.
The state of Massachusetts has recently increased its efforts in fire prevention by providing grants to 234 community fire departments for fire safety training to school children and senior citizens. Due to education efforts such as the SAFE program in Haverhill, the number of children who die in fires every year in Mass has decreased by 70% in the past few decades.
Having worked out in the field as both a service and installation technician, I can lend some insight on how fire code works.
If you are ever going to sell your property, you are going to need to bring it up to code. Rather than wait until you are going to sell your home, it makes sense to do it ensure it is up to code while you are living there to help keep you and your family safe.
The good new is that, if your town’s fire code requirements can be found online, it is a much more cost-effective endeavor than is used to be. Be sure to double check the fire code in your town, but these guidelines will help you to start thinking about it.
Start by counting how many smoke detectors are located within your property and note each location.
Today’s code requires that you have:
It’s possible that your current fire and carbon monoxide monitoring system may not be up to these code. That’s because some homes were was “grandfathered” into the new regulations.
We can bring it up to code by simply replacing existing smokes detectors with our new top of the line Honeywell wireless devices. We will then map out the additional smoke detectors you need to meet your town’s fire code. An added benefit is that this could also lead to some discounts on your homeowner's insurance.
Depending on when your house was built or modified you can fall under different sets of guidelines and regulations. Code varies from state to state, and sometimes even county to county within a state itself.
Always reach out to your local fire department and see if what is listed above meets the code requirement in your state and county.
Technology has come a long way. Today, there are a variety of new sensors and improved technology that was not available to homeowners years ago.
Low Temperature Sensor
These sleek, small devices monitor the temperature and when the building drops below 42 degrees it sends in a notification to our UL listed Central Monitoring Station. These are especially important for a property that is often empty, like a second home, to help prevent a burst pipe.
If you have ever had a burst pipe, you may be shivering remembering the experience. This past winter we experienced temperatures as low as -10 degrees on the Cape. I called a few friends of mine who are licensed plumbers and they reported that last winter they responded to hundreds of calls about frozen pipes and dead furnaces.
I also asked a union-licensed plumber what the average cost is to repair busted or frozen pipes and he said the cost ranges from about $400 dollars to fix for a minor burst and close to $1500 if for a larger incident because it often also include both plumbing and patch work. That cost does not even take into consideration the cost of mitigating the flood damage.
This spend could have easily be prevented with a nominal additional equipment spend and zero additional monthly monitoring. At Alarm New England, we sell motion detectors with low temp sensors already built in to provide this value at no additional cost to our customers.
I can speak from experience that this device can be a huge headache-saver. You simply install the device near some valuables you don't want to get wet. I usually install them in areas prone for flood: close to a hot water tank, near a sump pump and underneath bath/kitchen sinks.
I recently had some flooding in my basement but, thanks to the flood sensor, was alerted quickly and was able to move some valuables out of the area instead of sleeping through another 4 hours of flooding. This saved me the cost of replacement goods. It also gave me a heads-up that my basement needed some preventative patch work. Early detection means huge potential savings.
Fire and Carbon Monoxide Sensors
Roughly 400 Americans die from unintentional CO2 poisoning each year. There are 20,000 visit emergency rooms for small cases and more than 4,000 of those require hospitalization.
People often overlook adding smoke and CO2 detectors to new alarm systems because they already have hard-wired systems in place. Hard-wired devices are required by building code and a great basic line of defense. Where they fall short, however, is if they are activated when no one is home. By tying them into monitored alarm systems, our central monitoring station is watching them 24 hours a day, so if you’re not home, we will be alerted and can quickly notify you and dispatch the authorities.
According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), deaths from fires in which no smoke alarms were present or in which smoke alarms were present but did not operate, accounted for 60 percent of all home fire deaths.
Smoke alarms were lacking in 37 percent of home fire deaths. At least one alarm was present but non-operational in 23 percent. I know when I was growing up, if a smoke detector started to chirp, my parents would pull it off the ceiling, take the battery out and put it in a drawer somewhere until they were able to put a new battery in it.
Keep a stash of the appropriate batteries handy so you do not make this potentially fatal mistake. Also make sure to test smoke alarms at least once a month. Replace any smoke alarm that is more than 10 years old. Smoke detectors older than 10 years start to lose sensitivity and can provide you and your family with a false sense of protection.
Based on my years of experience as a technician, I have compiled some fire safety tips that you can implement immediately:
The NFPA report also shows cooking equipment was involved in almost half (47%) of all reported home fires and almost half (45%) of reported home fire injuries. Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in these fires and in fire casualties.
Does your home need to be brought up to code to meet local regulations and insurance requirements?
Alarm New England can help. Contact us to learn more about how we can help your home meet fire safety standards in your state.
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