How to Fight Apartment Fires With Technology

Thousands of fires are recorded every year across the country and many have hugely devastating and catastrophic effects.

According to the NFCC, arson accounted for over 50% of all fires attended by Fire & Rescue services between 2017-2018. This amounts to more than 108,000 deliberate fires, and it is the largest single cause of all fires attended. When considering fire protection, it is extremely important to keep this data in mind and consider that arsonists deliberately set fires to buildings, landfills, bins, and parked cars. These are all critical areas on any multifamily property are the most important locations when it comes to fire protection, especially keeping in mind resident safety.

In depth strategies and well thought out plans must be put in place in order to prepare for such an extreme threat to a property. Networked surveillance cameras, fire detection and air quality sensors along with other modern technology can play a vital role in not only fire detection but prevention of catastrophic loss as well.

The most widely used and recognized device for fire prevention is of course the smoke detector. While these devices are extremely effective at warning that a fire threat is underway, they are not the quickest method for warning against a fire as smoke must fully penetrate into the detector, making them too late in providing any warning as by that point the fire will already be quite large. Another shortcoming of smoke detectors is conversely that they are known to frequently send false alarms due to oversensitivity. This causes unnecessary evacuations for residents and wasting the time of countless first responders.

Video surveillance cameras and surveillance solutions are the key to finding the perfect middle ground for fire prevention in the multifamily industry. Implementing video surveillance on a property is the quickest and most effective way to prevent and react to fires and arson. Once seen on video, an arsonist is not only caught on tape committing a crime and eligible for arrest or punishment, but once the action is seen taking place, proper first responders can be notified of the incident and put the fire out within minutes. These minutes are crucial for structures of buildings, smoke inhalation for residents, and overall damage of assets.

The above photo is an example of what damage an arsonist can have on a community. Luckily this community used ControlByNet’s remote guarding video surveillance solution and switched out their old CCTV cameras for networked Axis Cameras previously. What could have resulted in over $100,000 worth of damage only amounted to $3,000 for this property, and most importantly the vandal was caught and arrested by authorities within minutes. The remote guard was alerted of cameras offline, responded with appropriate troubleshooting and immediately notified the property manager and police with pictures of the suspect, making the response by law enforcement that much simpler.

It is increasingly clear that cameras are already making a huge impact when it comes to detecting and managing property fires. Thanks to intelligent solutions provided by network cameras and intelligent sensors working in tandem, fire is a challenge that smart cities and fire departments can now be much better equipped to face.

This post pulls from the article titled “Fighting fire with cameras – an innovative and logical step forward” by Andrea Sorri. To read the original article in its entirety please click here.