Fire Department in Washington, D.C., Developing System to Alert Families to Fires Outside Homes

Linear Heat Detecting System would send electrical signal to home smoke alarm system.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Fairfax County Fire Chief Richard Bowers once arrived on the scene at a structure fire outside of a family’s home. It took the fire department breaking through the door to inform the family, eating at the dinner table, that their house was on fire. 

The department is doing something to counter the growing problem of outside fires not being detected by families inside their homes. The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department is developing the Linear Heat Detecting System, according to a WTOP report.

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“It’s basically a wire that heats up and sends an electronic signal that would be connected to your home smoke alarm system or an independent alarm,” Bowers said.

Fires outside homes can be caused by cigarettes, improperly disposed fireplace ashes or poorly positioned fire pits or grills.

The system is being refined to receive UL safety certification, according to the report.

“It’s about life safety. If you’re notified there’s a fire then you have an opportunity to get out,” Bowers said. “If you don’t know there’s a fire you have less time to get out.”

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