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Tom RuggleTom Ruggle

Hi Duncan,
We have a division of the Fire Department called Direct Detect, which does alarm monitoring, but we use it as we would a fire hydrant or fire truck; a fire protection system.

As part of that, we installed monitored smoke alarm systems in all of the 800+ homes and townhouses operated by Waterloo Region’s supportive housing division. We later upgraded the monitoring to a wireless ULC listed system that we operate on one of our old radio channels, so that all of the systems are no longer dependent on a phone line. That program has been highly successful in interdicting fire conditions at the earliest possible moment, but also in dealing with the behavioral problems of tenants removing or tampering with smoke alarms. We know immediately, when a smoke has been taken down.

Because our response arrives before a fire has time to grow, the costs of having a monitored smoke alarm system in each dwelling unit have been more than paid back by the savings accrued by not having the fire damage occur in the first place. For an institutional or commercial property manager, it has been very easy to demonstrate the savings. It always comes down to money.