Posts made in March 2017

WHY MONITORED FIRE SYSTEMS DON’T WORK – Issue #4

Tom Kunkel – March 21st 2017
Last post ended with “Next time we’ll examine how and why insurance companies grant substantial discount when monitored fire alarm systems are present and maintained.” I promise to get to that. Two things happened last week that compels me to change what I planned.
Last month a Centralia home was destroyed by fire. Five people were inside at the time of the fire. Three are in serious condition at Harborview Hospital Burn Unit in Seattle. Two were treated and released from Centralia Providence. Investigators are not yet able to determine the cause of the fire because the structure is unstable. It is unknown if smoke sensors were present.

One Day earlier last week a house fire in Glenoma Washington killed two senior citizens and one adult. Bodies were found in the bedroom, living room and hall. Authorities found that there were “no smoke sensors installed”.

Sad: Angry: Stupid: Disturbing: Anguished: Shameful:
These are just some of the emotions that come to mind about these terrible losses. Three DEATHS, three SERIOUS Burn Victims, two injured and two destroyed dwellings and lifetimes of personal property. All lost. Could the loss of life have been avoided? Or, could damages have been less? Answering these questions is frustrating and very sad. We sell Residential and Commercial Fire Alarm Systems. They are designed to do just “that” – prevent death and reduce damage to contents and structures. It’s exactly like winning against cancer. Early detection is key. Once discovered, positive options appear quickly. Monitoring your health is now routine. Benefits of routinely checking blood pressure and other vital signs is obvious. It’s all about early detection.

Fire detection and response is no different. Today’s fire alarm systems detect most fires very early in the burn. In fact, before “burning” actually takes place. In most cases, serious fires are preceded with “smoldering”. Smoldering happens before flames. Smoke sensors detect smoldering by-products in the air. Fire Alarm Systems react to this detection by sounding loud sirens, calling a Monitoring Central Station and dispatching the Fire Department. Central Station operators call inside the structure once the alarm is received. Using an Emergency Response Call List allows operators to also contact neighbors, friends or family. Response happens very quickly, hopefully during the early “smoldering phase”, so occupants don’t die without ever knowing there was a fire developing. The possibility of detection, alarm, response and dispatching help is what a Fire Alarm System is all about. Are they perfect? No. But they are the most effective way of countering the very real threat to loss of life in structure fires. These losses and all those that went before them, in the Nation, in the World, are completed. They can’t be undone. There is no “reset button”.

Who will be next? A better question is “what can I do to prevent being ‘next’?”. I beg anyone and everyone who will listen to answer this question when they see or hear about house and building fires. “Did they have a monitored Fire Alarm System?” I hope that question is shouted to the Four Winds, over and over, until people answer it for themselves with “yes”. If you live without a Monitored Smoke Alarm System, think about it. The cost of a good quality system, installed and monitored, will be just a few drops in the bucket compared to an undetected fire.

Alarm System owners and their homeowner insurance companies both save money. Next time I will examine how and why that works the way it does.

So WHY DON’T MONITORED FIRE SYSTEMS WORK ? Answer, if they are not installed and monitored, they just can’t work.

Your comments, ideas and questions are always welcome. Thank you for investing your time.

TOM KUNKEL – President & GM – Access Security, Inc. & Access Monitoring, Inc.

Smell it?
Hear it?

Smell it?
Hear it?

The Promise of Spring – 2017

Greetings from Southwest Washington where this winter has provided lots of opportunities to hibernate through snow and shorter days.

Spring is almost upon us – a time to clean-up and repair after winter storms and spruce up for the coming warmer months.

In past postings, I have encouraged situational awareness – mostly for protecting homes and businesses from the devastation of unreported fire. Sadly, the Lewis County Area has experienced a number of serious fires in recent weeks . . . none more difficult than where 3 lives were lost . . . another, with injuries, required transport to a trauma center and other homes uninhabitable and a business fire. The operative question is could these have had a different outcome with monitored smoke alarms?

As our thoughts turn to spring, let’s make our homes and businesses less likely to suffer loss from fires. While focusing on situational awareness, let’s also be looking at making our homes and businesses less likely to be victims of intrusion or vandalism. Retired Lewis County Sheriff, Bill Logan, says, “property crime is a crime of opportunity”.

As you dig into spring cleaning chores, are your buildings free of debris or things that provide hiding places for someone looking for unlawful access?

Whether for fire mitigation or deterring the “bad guys” – keep yards picked up – facilities that look well attended help deter intrusion.

If you are going to be gone, make sure mail or newspapers aren’t piling up announcing your absence.

Do you network with your neighbors? Knowing and working with your neighbors not only encourages the sense of community but helps us all work together when there is a crisis. An advantage of a monitored alarm system for fire and/or intrusion is the communication network that is part of the service. After dispatching the Fire Department or Police, Central Station Operators call your Emergency Contact List “automatically” and without fail. Most cities or counties offer assistance in setting up Neighborhood Watch Programs that include prominent street signs and help with organizational meetings.

Home security/fire systems are no longer just “alarm systems” – there are many added conveniences available. Control your thermostat, or your door locks or garage/shop doors from your smart phone or computer. Very popular features today are Security System Cameras that allow “looking” inside your home or yard. Dogs and cats are members of the family too. Seeing that they are safe, especially in an emergency is a very effective benefit from growing technology. For business, controlling access and having environmental controls can save precious capital dollars. When isn’t it a good idea to save money?

There is no a way to put a price on “Peace of Mind” . . . Whether in your home or business, there are threats. Working as individuals, business and communities we can be situational aware and take action before we become victims.

We look forward to serving our communities in Southwest Washington State. Our business is based on helping homeowners and businesses lower risk and enhance peace of mind.

We appreciate the referrals, here, on our site from those we serve . . . we are humbled and grateful to try and not only meet but exceed their expectations. We are richly blessed by the trust our clients place in our equipment, monitoring and service.

Thank you for your time – comments and ideas welcome – until next time