Z-Wave Seeks to Save House Fire Losses

Learn how Z-Wave technology is being leveraged to enhance fire/life-safety efforts in the home.

It is no secret that house fires are an all-too-common occurrence on the national landscape, leaving a path of horrific injuries, lost lives and damaged property in their wake. Unfortunately, the statistics reveal just how common they truly are.

According to the most recent full-year statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 365,000 home fires caused 12,875 injuries and 2,380 fatalities in 2012, leading to $5.7 billion in damages. Sadly, that’s not an anomaly, as a new report on home fires shows that U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 366,600 home structure fires from 2007-2011. Worse yet, seven people each day die in reported U.S. home fires; older adults were the age group most likely to perish in a home fire.

There is a sliver of a silver lining in these numbers. The statistics show a continual decrease in home fires virtually every year since 1980; in fact, the numbers have dropped by more than 50% through 2012. What’s more, the drop in deaths from 5,200 in 1980 to 2,380 in 2012 is a welcome decrease of more than half.

Still, despite the decline in the number of fires, the cost in damages, and the human toll that they take, these numbers clearly demonstrate house fires continue to pose a major threat that all homeowners should heed. This is especially so considering that even minor fires can lead to property damage and untold headaches. And while organizations such as the NFPA, FEMA and others are constantly exploring new ways to combat house fires, the most effective way is to prevent a fire from ever happening – or at the very least, contain it before it gets out of control. For that purpose, homeowners can turn to a somewhat unlikely solution: home automation.

Without question, home automation is one of the hottest trends on the consumer technology front. In fact, according to a study conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) titled, “Adoption and Usage of Home Automation Technologies,” more than half of online U.S. consumers (58%) are familiar with home automation. A growing number of online U.S. households indicate they have a home automation system installed in their residence, increasing from just 1% of households in 2012 to an impressive 11% for all home automation systems.

Of course, the traditional areas of home control continue to receive significant media and consumer attention. Energy management, one of the initial drivers of the home automation phenomenon, promises dramatic dollar savings to its users. Physical security – essentially, home access – has increased in popularity with the advent of smart electronic locks. And control of audio-visual equipment provides the “cool” factor that many homeowners are seeking.

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