Every year, more than 100 Canadians are killed in house fires,1 and around 12,000 homes are damaged by fire.2 The importance of smoke detectors is widely known, but not everyone is aware of the difference between off-the-shelf, self-monitored smoke detectors, and smoke detectors that are connected to a monitoring center providing 24/7 surveillance. The differences are crucial and with the risk of house fires increasing during the winter months,3 now is the time to make a choice and get the best protection.  

As a leading provider of state-of-the-art, 24/7-monitored smoke detectors, our clients frequently ask us, “What’s the benefit of having GardaWorld monitor my smoke detectors?” Here’s what we tell them: 

  1. Better protection while you’re away from home. 

Business woman leaving home holding a thermos

A self-monitored, smart smoke detector can only send you a notification through your cell in an area with Internet and Wi-Fi. If you’re not in an area with coverage, the notification may not go through. If you have a standard smoke detector that’s not connected to an app, you won’t get a notification either. By comparison, if your smoke detector is monitored 24/7 by a professional monitoring center, an operator will attempt to reach you by phone—and if no one answers, they will immediately dispatch emergency services. This is vital, because a house fire can double in size every 30 seconds. A few extra minutes can avoid tens, hundreds, or even thousands in repair costs. Far more importantly, that extra time can save the life of your beloved pet. 

 

  1. Better protection while you’re at home. 

A young family having a laugh in their living room

Say you’re trapped on the second floor of a house while a fire spreads in the basement and lower floor, you might not have access to a phone to call 911. Or you could be trapped in a room with an uncharged phone. In some cases, you simply may be unable to call 911, even when a phone is in reach, as smoke inhalation can quickly overwhelm people and cause them to lose consciousness. When your smoke detector is being monitored, the monitoring center will immediately dispatch emergency services if you don’t answer your phone.  

Or, if you are home and can respond, you probably wouldn’t call 911 immediately. Instead, you would do the right thing—you would gather loved ones and escape. But this means that it can take more time before a fire-response team is dispatched. With a monitored smoke detector, the monitoring center calls you immediately when the alarm is activated. If they can’t reach you, they dispatch first responders to the scene, to promptly locate your loved ones and pets and to reduce the damage to your home. 

 

  1. Better protection against battery outages. 

Smoke detector

Smoke detectors are usually battery-operated, which means that their batteries need to be changed periodically, about once or twice a year. The detector will typically emit a beep or send text alerts to your cell. Far too frequently, people find these reminders annoying and choose to silence them, thinking that they’ll get around to changing the batteries later, but then they forget. The result? Statistics state that “in fires in which smoke alarms were present but did not operate, more than two of every five (43%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries”.4  

 
With a professionally monitored smoke detector, when the batteries are getting low, you’ll get reminder messages to change them. If you don’t change the batteries before they die, the monitoring center will call you or use another mode of communication until it’s confirmed that your device is operating smoothly. The monitored alarm provides peace of mind, whether for your teenager who is renting a house with friends and might not remember to maintain alarms, for an elderly parent, or for you! By reminding you of battery changes or alerting you to an operational issue with the device, it’s one less thing to worry about. 

 

In summary: 

 

Scenario 

Self-monitored 

Professionally monitored  

You are away when a fire breaks out but you’re in an area with weak or no Internet or Wi-Fi. 

You may not receive any notifications and remain unaware of the situation at home.  

The monitoring center will call you and if they cannot reach you, they will immediately dispatch emergency services. 

You are at home when a fire breaks out but are unable to escape or call for help. 

A self-monitored system relies on you to call for help. It will not alert emergency services on your behalf.   

The monitoring center will call you and if they cannot reach you, they will immediately dispatch emergency services. 

The batteries in your smoke detector are weak. 

You might turn off the “low battery” reminders. Later, if the batteries die, the device won’t function when needed. 

The monitoring center will call you multiple times until new batteries are put in. 


The bottom line: Monitored smoke detectors save lives, and homes. 

For these reasons, more and more Canadians are switching to GardaWorld’s monitored smoke detectors, with 24/7 remote monitoring, maintenance reminders, and the immediate dispatching of first responders in the event that we cannot reach you. Thanks to advances in technology, the best way to protect you, your loved ones, your pets and your home from a devastating fire is now available in your community, and it’s affordable. With all the benefits of 24/7-monitored fire detectors, the choice is clear. Your life, the lives of those you love and your home could one day depend on it.  

We’re here to make sure you’re protected. Give us a call at 1 833 GARDA 33 (1 833 427 3233) or request a quote online

    

  1. https://cjr.ufv.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/UBC-Epidemiology-of-Residential-Fires-Children-and-Youth.pdf 

  1. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=3510019201 

  1. https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Seasonal-fire-causes/Put-A-Freeze-on-Winter-Fires 

  1. https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Data-research-and-tools/Detection-and-Signaling/Smoke-Alarms-in-US-Home-Fires