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.

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About Tom Kunkel

I am one very blessed soul. Life is good, business is great and the people we serve are fantastic. Why am I here? What is my purpose? On the back of my business card is "We act on what we believe. I believe that God is good all the time". Yes, I am blessed. Blessed with a wonderful wife, children, grand children, staff and fantastic customers to serve. I live in the United States of America, land of the FREE and home of the Brave. Born in Illinois, raised there with Mid-Western values, moved to California, joined the US Navy and learned discipline. Moved to Washington State in 1976 and to Lewis County in 1989. I'm the President and Janitor of the company: Access Security, Inc. & Access Monitoring, Inc. Next cake will have 75 candles. It just doesn't get any better. Praise God!