Smart Home Tech: Smoke Detectors Sure Have Come a Long Way

If you haven’t gotten on board with home automation yet, you’re missing out on a lot of exciting technology. Take the typical smoke detector. The smoke detectors of 5 and 10 years ago were good devices back in the day. But today’s smart devices are so much better. The smoke detector sure has come a long way thanks to the internet, wireless technology, and home automation.

Vivint Smart Home recently published a blog post discussing their smart smoke detector. Some of the things the device can do are incredible. For the record, Vivint is not the only one with this technology. But for the sake of simplicity, this post will discuss some of the features mentioned in their post. Before that though, a little housekeeping.

Smoke Detectors Are Non-Negotiable

According to data cited by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments respond to a fire call every 23 seconds. In 2020 alone, fire departments responded to some 1.3 million fires that caused 15,200 injuries and took the lives of some 3,500 civilians. Annual monetary losses are close to $22 billion.

Homes and possessions can be replaced, lives cannot. For that reason alone, smoke detectors are non-negotiable. The smoke detector represents one of your best opportunities to get early warning in the event of a fire. The sooner you are warned, the sooner you and your family can get out of a burning home.

The Smart Smoke Detector

Smoke detectors have been around for decades. So what makes a smart smoke detector different from a standard one? Technology. A smart smoke detector can be integrated with other smartphone devices to enhance overall protection. It can also communicate with the outside world over telephone lines or the internet. Finally, it can be accessed remotely.

As for what a smart smoke detector can do via home automation, be prepared to be amazed. Here are just some of the features Vivint Smart Home mentioned in their blog post:

1. Unlocking Doors

When a smoke detector is tied into a home’s smart home system, it can be integrated with electronic locks. That way, all the doors in the home can be automatically unlocked in the event the smoke alarm is triggered. The benefits here should be obvious. Automatically unlocked doors allow for faster egress. They also allow firefighters to get into the house more easily.

2. Turning off HVAC

Integrating a smart smoke detector with a smart thermostat can slow the spread of flames by having the HVAC automatically be shut off in the event of a fire. That way, it doesn’t inadvertently turn on and help spread the fire by circulating air to feed it.

3. Remote Monitoring

Because a smart smoke detector is connected to a remote monitoring service, there is always someone keeping an eye on it. In the event smoke is detected, monitoring personnel can immediately contact the authorities. They can also attempt to communicate with homeowners and occupants to determine if everyone is okay. That is made possible through two-way audio.

If no one is home when a fire breaks out, remote monitoring is equally valuable in the sense that there is still someone available to call the fire department. You do not get that with a standard smoke detector.

If the smoke detectors in your home are standard rather than smart, that is still good. Any smoke detectors are better than none at all. But if you are looking for devices that go above and beyond making noise, consider upgrading to smart smoke detectors. Thanks to home automation capabilities, they can do so much more.

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