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Fire Alarms

A home fire alarm system is usually part of a total security system providing burglary protection in addition to fire protection. Such a system supervises doors and windows and spaces within the home for break-in and may also provide monitoring services by dialing your telephone to report a fire or intrusion to a security office, where it will be reported to your local police or fire department.

Due to their relatively high cost, these systems are generally found only in larger homes. The system can cost $1000 or more to install, with 24-hour monitoring service adding $15 to $20 per month.

What are the components of the system?
  • A central control panel to which smoke and heat detectors are connected, along with bells or horns that are activated when the system triggers an alarm.
  • The control panel operates from house power but also usually contains an emergency battery that can operate the system for about 24 hours during a power outage.
  • Sensors associated with the burglary functions connect to doors and windows or monitor rooms for motion or body heat.
  • Fire alarm systems that provide remote monitoring services can also be used to provide medical alert services. Here, a person with health problems who lives alone carries a radio transmitter that can trigger the system in case the need assistance.
  • Signals received at the monitoring station are identified by type (fire, burglary, medical alert) so that the proper response can be made.
Why have a residential fire alarm system?
  • Increased reliability and the ability to place detectors and bells exactly where needed.
  • The cost of adding fire alarm fetures to a residential burglary system is relatively small.
  • They are the only way to obtain remote monitoring services. This becomes important in cases where family members may not be capable of escaping from a fire without assistance.
  • A feature of most monitoring services is the ability to keep special information on the residence that comes up on a computer when an alarm is received from that home. Thus, if there is a disabled person in the home who needs special assistance, this fact will be known to the operator and can be passed along to the fire department when they are called.
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Smoke Detectors