When it comes to home security these days, there’s a lot of focus on smart devices, connected gadgets, the cloud, and the Internet of Things. And to be sure, wireless cameras that transmit live video feeds to the cloud which you can access and view via your smartphone from anywhere in the world are absolutely impressive. But when it comes to the home security devices that can have the biggest impact on your family, it’s often a pair of less impressive-seeming tools that might be the ones most likely to save you and your family’s lives.
I’m not talking about motion sensors or glass-break sensors either, though both are an important part of a complete home security package that prevents and monitors against break-ins.
I’m talking about an old, trust stand-by, that you may not even think of as a home security device at all: the smoke detector, and of course its steadfast companion, the carbon monoxide detector.
Smoke alarm and CO2 alarms have been around for a long time, and in almost every state one if not both of these devices are required by law to be in every home. But perhaps because people are so used to and familiar with smoke and CO2 alarms, they tend to take them for granted. That means they can go years without being tested or replaced, with failing or dead batteries, poor connections, or alarms that aren’t loud enough to wake someone who is sleeping. Smoke detectors and CO2 sensors work and regularly save lives, but they have to be maintained and when necessary, replaced. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that more than 500 people a year die in fires where smoke alarms are present but fail to operate.
Another potential problem with smoke and CO2 detectors is inaccurate or inadequate placement. Alarms should be placed in or near kitchen areas, fireplaces, and bedrooms at the very least. It’s also a good idea to keep at least one working fire extinguisher around so that small fires can be dealt with immediately before they grow.
Fortunately, video cameras are not the only devices that have gotten smarter and more technologically advanced in recent years. Smoke alarms and CO2 detectors have also gotten more modern as technology has advanced. Newer alarms can be integrated with home security systems and monitored by a monitoring service in the same way your home can be monitored for a break-in. This allows for quicker calls to emergency services and response times even if you can’t get to a phone, or you aren’t at home when a fire breaks out.
For those who really want to get serious about fire protection or who live in high-risk areas for fires, some homes have installed sprinkler systems to help combat fires immediately when they occur.
So, when you go to upgrade and purchase fancy new gadgets, don’t forget about the ones that can really make a difference in saving you and your family’s lives.