Smoke Detector - Best Invention of the Past Two Decades?

By: Mygard

Born in 1969, the smoke detector was recently voted the best invention of the past two decades ahead of mobile phones, microwave ovens and must-have gadgets like digital cameras. The potentially life-saving device is hailed for its ability to detect the early signs of fire.

While commendable the smoke detector does not go far enough and could be made even more effective.
What happens if a fire starts when no one is home?

It goes without saying that smoke detectors save lives, it is also without question that every property whether it is a home or workplace, should have one. Smoke detectors are indeed vital in the battle to protect against the risk of fire. That said, my main concern is that 60% of fires occur when the property is empty, meaning that the smoke detector is only effective if people are actually at home or at work. In essence this implies that smoke detectors are only effective 40% of the time, which although offers some peace of mind, does not stop the fire from actually taking hold as there is no one there to hear it and take appropriate action.

We all know that fire kills, we also know that 40% of businesses that are destroyed by fire never reopen. The issue is not always about saving lives but saving someone's home or business too. Fire affects us all in one way or another, which makes prevention everyone's problem. The question begs why aren't we looking at ways of making the smoke detector 100% effective regardless of whether the building is empty of full of people? I believe we have now reached a stage in the development of fire prevention and safety where we do have the power and the technology to make a bigger difference.

When a smoke detector alarm sounds from inside a building and you are present you can hear its piercing tones. A passer-by walking past your property while you are out will not hear your smoke alarm through the closed windows and double-glazing and, if a fire ignites while you are out, it is likely to be too late. What is needed is a device that recognises all of your alarm sounds, whether that is your burglar, smoke detector or carbon monoxide alarm. As soon as the alarm is activated it should alert the key holders immediately to enable them to deal with the situation before the fire takes hold.

If smoke detector alarms were monitored like many burglar alarm systems today, it would mean the device is 100% effective rather than 40%. If smoke detectors could save people's homes and businesses as well as their lives they would arguably be the best invention to date, by far.

Home Security
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Home Security
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles