Monitored Smoke Alarms

Smoke DetectorDynamark Security is proud to provide state-of-the art monitored smoke detectors to our residential and commercial customers in the Richmond area and throughout central Virginia.

Although many of our customers are rightly concerned about property crime and preventing burglaries, when it comes to the physical safety of your family the statistics are clear--fire is by far the greater threat.  Residential fires kill thousands of people a year in the U.S., and many of those deaths could have been prevented if a working smoke detector had been available in the home.

Our monitored smoke alarm systems give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your home has this critical type of protection. Thanks to constant monitoring by our Five Diamond Certified central station, any problems with your smoke detectors will trigger an alert, so you'll never have to wonder whether they are working properly.

In the event of a fire, not only will monitored smoke detectors alert you of the danger (even if you aren't at home at the time), they will also alert the local fire department so that they can respond faster and extinguish the fire quickly. 

Benefits of a Monitored Smoke Alarm

There is no doubt that smoke detectors save lives.  According to data from the National Fire Protection Association, the risk of dying in a house fire is over 50% lower when there is a working smoke detector on the property.  But is there an additional benefit from having a monitored smoke alarm system?  In our opinion, there are absolutely many benefits to this added layer of protection:

  • A monitored smoke alarm system can be programmed so that a master alarm at the control panel is triggered when smoke is detected anywhere in the residence.  In larger homes, this eliminates the potential problem of a smoke detector not being audible throughout the home.
  • If nobody is at home when a fire starts in a residence without a monitored smoke detector, the fire would likely go undetected until it is severe enough to be noticed by people outside the home, resulting in extensive damage or the loss of the entire property.  Monitored smoke alarms will detect a fire much more quickly in this situation and alert the authorities.
  • The smoke detectors typically installed in new home by the builders are fairly low-tech and can result in false alarms (such as those caused by accidentally burning food on the stove while cooking).  Monitored smoke alarm systems can incorporate advanced technology like smoke/heat/freeze detectors that minimize false alarms.
  • Monitored smoke detectors will alert you if there is a problem with the detector itself.  With traditional smoke detectors, depending on what type of detector you have, you may not be aware when it stops working correctly.

Smoke Detectors vs Smoke/Heat/Freeze Sensors

When it comes to detecting a fire in a building, there are actually several different methods, with two of the most common being smoke detectors and heat detectors.  As their names imply, these devices alert people to the possibility of a fire by either detecting the smoke from the fire (smoke detectors) or the rise in temperature caused by the fire (heat detectors).

Typically, smoke detectors are considered better for providing early warning of a fire, since smoke will be present before a change in heat occurs.  However, they can be prone to nuisance alarms, such as those caused by cooking food in a kitchen.  Heat detectors are less prone to nuisance alarms but might take longer to detect a fire, and might not detect smoldering fires at all.

In the monitored smoke alarm systems installed by Dyanamrk Security, there is a third option that combines the best elements of a smoke detector and a heat detector: smoke/heat/freeze sensors.

What are smoke/heat/freeze sensors?

A smoke/heat/freeze sensor is designed to tell the difference between smoke created by burning synthetic materials (which would likely indicate a fire) and smoke from cooking.  Using advanced algorithms and an improved optical chamber, these devices reduce the number of nuisance alarms caused by cooking while still providing early warning of fires.

They can also alert you to extreme cold temperatures, which can be helpful in preventing your pipes from freezing in the winter if you are away from home for an extended time during a power failure. 

Requirements for Residential Smoke Detectors in Virginia

NFPAThe National Fire Protection Association, among other things, develops recommended building codes and standards that will help minimize the danger posed by fire to life and property.  The guidelines for smoke detectors in homes under NFPA 72 is used by Virginia's Uniform Standard Building Code, and dictates that every home should have a smoke detector in the following locations:

  • In each sleeping area
  • Outside each sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms
  • On each additional story of a dwelling unit, including basements or cellars

Note that these are just the minimum requirements.    Depending on the size and layout of your home, you may want more smoke detectors than what is required by law.  However, under no circumstances should you have anything less than what is recommended by NFPA 72, especially if you are renting out your home or any portion of your home (such as listing a room for rent on Airbnb, for example). 

Does your home currently meet these requirements?  And if you believe that it meets these requirements, would you be willing to bet your life on it?  In the case of a fire, that is essentially what you are doing--betting your life and the lives of your family members that the smoke detectors in your home are working properly and installed where they need to be.  Wouldn't having a monitored smoke alarm system make you feel better about the answer to the above question?

Monitored Smoke Detectors and Homeowners Insurance

In addition to building codes and government regulations related to smoke detectors, some insurance companies may, in certain circumstances, either require monitored smoke alarms or offer discounts to homeowners who have them.   

This is more common with high-end properties or when certain riders are added to a homeowner's insurance policy, such as a rider covering expensive artwork in a home.   

Even if your insurance company does not require monitored smoke detectors or offer discounts for having them, the fact that some insurance companies do this is just further proof that these systems reduce the risk of property damage or injury (and thus, reduce the potential liability for the insurance company). 

Facts about Fire Safety

As a business that provides monitored smoke alarm systems for homes and businesses, we certainly believe that our systems are of the highest quality and we hope that we have the opportunity to serve you as our customer.  However, even if you don't become our customer, we absolutely hope that you take time to make sure that you have working smoke detectors in your home in all the appropriate places. 

If you need any convincing about how important this is, just take a look at the following list of sobering facts about fire safety in the U.S.:

  • During the four year time period of 2013 to 2017, nearly 80% of fire deaths and over 70% of fire injuries we caused by residential fires.
  • On average, a house fire occurs about once every 90 seconds in the U.S.
  • The most common causes of house fires are cooking, heating, electrical distribution and lighting equipment, intentional fire setting, and smoking materials.
  • It can take less than four minutes for a fire in a house to produce temperatures of over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, including temperatures of over 300 degrees in rooms that aren't even on fire
  • In addition to smoke, fires can produce odorless gases that can incapacitate you.  If you're asleep, these gases wouldn't wake you up--but a smoke alarm would!
  • Having a working smoke detector in your home increases your chances of surviving a house fire by over 50%.