Fire Market Report: Emphasizing Fire Detection in the Home

Annual report points up the need for installing security and fire systems contractors to be diligent in providing the latest life-safety products to residential customers. Discover how regular maintenance services and education are helping reducefire fatalities.

Each year the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) releases a detailed report on losses caused by fire in the United States, encompassing deaths, property and related injuries. The data is compiled from fire departments that participate in the NFPA’s annual National Fire Experience Survey.

The latest report provides an in-depth view for 2009, during which fire departments responded to an estimated 1,348,500 fires. Of these events about 480,500 were structure fires — the lowest figure since the association started using its current survey methodology in 1977.

Yet the 2009 report delivers a sobering reality: 3,010 civilian fire deaths occurred, marking a 9.3-percent increase compared to the previous year. There were 2,565 residential fire deaths in 2009 — or about 85 percent of all fire deaths — which is a 6.9-percent decrease compared to the previous year.

No doubt increased awareness and advances in electronic detection systems is helping save lives in residences and other structures. To help keep installing security and fire/life-safety contractors abreast of industry trends and technologies, SSI publishes its annual Fire Market Report.

This year we will focus mainly on smoke and heat detection geared for the residential marketplace. Included are helpful explanations for key sections of the fire code, a sensor technology overview, routine maintenance requirements, plus original research statistics and related data.

Stress Use of Smoke Detectors

Thanks to the efforts of local fire authorities and organizations such as Quincy, Mass.-based NFPA, many more homeowners currently use smoke alarms in their residences than at any time since NFPA began collecting statistical data.

Smoke alarms are currently required in each bedroom, in hallways outside of bedrooms, as well as one on each floor. When the home is relatively large, additional fire detection is required. Even more important is the actual technology used when installing smoke detection in a single- or multiple-family dwelling.

In many states the use of 120VAC multiple-station smoke alarms is a code requirement. This assures that homeowners will not interfere with the functionality of smoke alarms. Too often installers are of the belief they have little to gain by trying to sell smoke detectors when the homeowner already has smoke alarms.

[IMAGE]12110[/IMAGE]Yet system-type smoke detectors are a valuable addition to a home security system. It takes skill and determination to convince homeowners to pay extra for automatic smoke detectors when they already have smoke alarms in their homes.

One upsell opportunity is to include a fire detection option in every home security proposal. Include an automatic smoke detector on each floor and one in the bedroom hallway(s). And wherever possible, add rate-of-rise/fixed-temperature heat sensors in key areas such as the kitchen, garage, basement, utility and furnace room(s), and attic areas.

In fact, according to the U. S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), attics pose an enormous problem from a fire protection and detection standpoint.

Consider the following NFIRS statistical data (Attic Fires in Residential Buildings, Volume 11, Issue 6, issued January 2011):

“From 2006 to 2008, an estimated 10,000 residential building fires originating in attics were reported by U.S. fire departments annually. These fires caused an estimated 30 deaths, 125 injuries and $477 million dollars in property damage. Residential building attic fires are 2 percent of all residential building fires reported to the [NFIRS] from 2006 to 2008.”

Rate-of-rise/fixed-temperature heat sensors play a major role in detecting a fire in an attic area as well as other key locations in the home. Where the rate-of-rise portion is able to detect a sudden rise in ambient room temperature, thus tripping the alarm, the fixed-temperature portion is capable of detecting slow-rising temperatures at ceiling height.

Present-day rate-of-rise/fixed-temperature sensors come with a solid-state sensor instead of the bottom plate with temperature-sensitive solder that holds a spring-loaded switch armature in a nonalarm position.

If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

About the Author


Al Colombo is a long-time trade journalist and professional in the security and life-safety markets. His work includes more than 40 years in security and life-safety as an installer, salesman, service tech, trade journalist, project manager,and an operations manager. You can contact Colombo through TpromoCom, a consultancy agency based in Canton, Ohio, by emailing allan@Tpromo.Com, call 330-956-9003, visit www.Tpromo.Com.

Security Is Our Business, Too

For professionals who recommend, buy and install all types of electronic security equipment, a free subscription to Security Sales & Integration is like having a consultant on call. You’ll find an ideal balance of technology and business coverage, with installation tips and techniques for products and updates on how to add sales to your bottom line.

A free subscription to the #1 resource for the residential and commercial security industry will prove to be invaluable. Subscribe today!

Subscribe Today!

Get Our Newsletters