How Loud is Your Smoke Detector?

How loud is your smoke detector?  You might be wondering why it matters.  I often talk to business owners and homeowners who think they have enough coverage with battery-powered smoke detectors that are not monitored.  By saying “monitored,” I mean smoke detectors that are tied into an alarm system that will report any alarm signals (like smoke and fire alarms) to a monitoring center so that the appropriate authorities can be notified.

Smoke Detector Image

Smoke Detector

I ask them: “Have you considered adding monitored smoke detectors to your alarm system?”  They say: “I don’t need those–I have battery-powered smoke detectors so I will know when there is a fire.”  I then say: “I hope your smoke detectors are very loud.”  At this point, I usually get a quizzical look.

I go on to say that battery-powered smoke detectors are incredibly important safety devices.  But, they won’t do anything to save your home or business if a fire breaks out when you are not at home or inside your business.

There is a recent example from the metro Atlanta news that illustrates why it is important to have monitored smoke detectors as part of a fire alarm system.  The article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper describes the sad story of a Romanian church located in Dacula that experienced a recent fire.  This is the link to the article:

The article provides many details but this is what caught my eye:

“Gwinnett fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge said a passerby reported a fire at the church in the 2800 block of Winder Highway about 8:30 a.m.”

Did you read it carefully?  A passerby reported the fire. If the church had installed smoke detectors that were part of a monitored fire alarm system, it is likely the fire would have been detected sooner and that the fire department would have been dispatched more quickly.

I feel terrible for the leaders of the church.  All of their hard work went up in smoke.  Let’s make sure this doesn’t happen to you.  Even if you have insurance for your home and business,  you need to think about the significant disruption that is caused by a fire.’

In a recent report, the National Fire Protection Association ( reported that there was an average of 512,200 structure fires per year (based on data from 2005-2009).  That is a lot of fires!

So, don’t be surprised by fire.  Have your trusted security or fire protection company install monitored smoke detection in your home or business.  It adds a little extra expense but greatly increases your peace of mind!

-Scott Hightower, Verified Security