A life saved—thanks to a monitored fire alarm

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12/12/2012

It can be hard for fire installers to convince homeowners they need a monitored fire alarm instead of the inexpensive DIY smoke and fire detectors sold at hardware stores. But those detectors won’t be heard by a person away from home at work or on vacation—or if they’re in situations they never imagined. A Missouri woman got in such a situation recently—and a monitored fire alarm at her home saved her life, according to a story from the West Newsmagazine Network.

According to that publication’s Nov. 29 story, an 82-year-old Cottleville, Mo. woman who uses a wheelchair fell out of the chair while she was cooking and lay helpless on the floor, unable to get back up or reach her phone.

“The stove was on high and eventually burned what was in the pan. Smoke filled the home and activated the monitored alarm system. The alarm company alerted 911, who in turn called the fire department,” the story said.

“Without having the alarm system, we would have likely been dealing with a fatal fire,” said Capt. Scott Bumeter [of the Cottleville Fire Protection District], the story said.

The story added: “Fire departments do not actively promote monitored alarm systems in residential dwellings. However this incident serves as an example of the importance of a secondary means of communication and/or alerting for disabled residents, officials said.”

Maybe it’s time for fire departments to rethink their policy.