Will Your Security System Monitor For Fire?By - 07/01/2016
Home fires can be a lot more devastating than break-ins. You can catch a burglar and get back what he has stolen, but damage from a fire is forever. Fire protection is critical. And for that, we recommend professionally monitored smoke alarms.
Although almost all security companies include fire protection in their basic monitoring plans, the level of protection they offer differs as does pricing. So, how well does your security system protect you from fire?
(Note: If you’re looking for tips on buying smoke alarms, we discussed that in another article).
Fire protection is included in all of Frontpoint’s monitoring plans. With the Protection Plan, Frontpoint monitors your smoke sensors and will report fires to your local fire department. Upgrading to the Interactive Plan makes your smoke alarms a little smarter by adding text and email alerts.
The Ultimate Plan adds automation, like video streaming and remote door lock control, so you can verify the alarm and help those inside to get out quicker by unlocking the door for them.
Frontpoint’s smoke sensor is combined with a heat sensor. They can monitor for smoke and rapidly rising temperatures. The smoke & heat sensor is wireless and battery-powered, with a 2-3 year battery life, and an 85dBa internal siren.
For pet lovers, Frontpoint (read our Frontpoint review here) also makes sure your furry friends are accounted for in a fire. When you sign-up, they will not only ask about your home and human companions but your furry companions as well. If you have pets, they’ll tell the fire department when calling. As an added tip, most of the time you can negotiate a free smoke sensor when signing up for Frontpoint monitoring. Give them a call and ask!
ADT protects you from fire with smoke and heat sensors. But aside from the sensors, you can add the Smart Voice Sounder – a speaker that says “fire,” if there’s a fire, or “intruder,” if there’s a break-in. Why do you need that? Because you should react differently to each situation. If there’s a burglar, it might be best to stay in your room or hide until help arrives. But if there’s a fire, it’s best to leave the house as quickly as possible.
ADT monitors fire if you sign up for any of their plans. But ADT Pulse goes the extra mile when it comes to fire protection. ADT Pulse has a Triggered Automation feature, which uses rule-based actions to command your ADT Pulse system. For example, you can set a Triggered Automation so that if there’s a fire, all door locks will be unlocked to make it easier for everyone to get out. Of course, you’ll need the right Pulse-compatible devices to make Triggered Automations work.
Vivint gives you three choices when it comes to equipment.
First, you can purchase smoke alarms from them. They have a photoelectric smoke detector, which is good at detecting slow-burning fires.
Your second option is to use your existing interconnected smoke alarms. While Vivint won’t directly connect to your smoke alarm, they offer a device called Firefighter. Firefighter is a listening device that listens for the sound of a smoke alarm. And since all of your interconnected smoke alarms sound when there is a fire, only one Firefighter needs to be placed within earshot.
Third, if you have a Nest Protect smart smoke alarm, Vivint will monitor it.
Aside from monitoring fire, Vivint also protects you by automating your home. The Smart Protect & Control and Smart Complete plans both offer home automation. And like ADT, Vivint’s automation packages allow you to create rules to trigger events. So when there’s a fire, Vivint can automatically turn your central AC off to prevent the fire from spreading.
Brinks fire protection is typical. You get a smoke alarm from them, and they will monitor it 24/7. However, they have a unique alert system called ASAPer. It simultaneously contacts the numbers in your emergency contact list during an alarm event, like fire. It can contact them through email, text, or phone call. Contacting everyone only takes half a minute. Once everyone is informed, you can open a group chat so that you can all talk it out and discuss how to handle the emergency. You can read our Brinks review here.
Xfinity by Comcast
Xfinity offers smoke and fire monitoring in most areas, but not all. You should check with Xfinity to see if your area is supported.
With Xfinity, you can use your existing equipment, but they will have to review and approve your existing smoke alarms. In regards to equipment, they use a smoke and heat detector upgraded with an 85dB temporal sounder, which sounds an audible voice alert if there is a fire. An audible voice is, to some extent, better than a standard siren. The loud, blaring sound of a siren can cause panic, and panic is not okay during emergencies. On the other hand, a human voice during an emergency promotes calmness. Xfinity also includes text and email alerts in their Home Secure plans. You can read more about Xfinity Home here.
Protect America uses interconnected wireless smoke alarms. When one sounds, they all sound. Their smoke alarms also have dual-sensors, using both an ionization sensor (good for detecting flaming fires) and a photoelectric sensor (good for detecting slow-burning fires).
Besides monitoring your smoke alarm and contacting your local fire department if there’s a fire, Protect America also sends out text, email, and push notifications to you. But there’s a catch; you’ll have to pay an extra $9.99 per month for fire monitoring.
There is nothing special about SimpliSafe’s fire protection. They monitor the smoke alarms they provide, they call the local fire department if the alarms detect smoke, and they send you email and push notifications. However, what sets SimpliSafe apart is the low cost of monitoring and equipment. Their smoke alarms cost less than $30, and you can get monitoring for as low as $14.99 per month.