Life-Safety Posts

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Resideo and Honeywell Home have just released Firmware Version 03.592.107.0 for the PROA7 and PROA7PLUS panels. This update allows the PROTAKEOVER module to support 5800 Series life-safety sensors like the 5808W3, 5800CO, and more. In addition, it offers some other features and improvements.

There are four (4) different panels in the Resideo and Honeywell Home ProSeries lineup. The Honeywell Home PROA7, and Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS, and the Resideo PROA7C and Resideo PROA7PLUSC. The 03.592.107.0 Firmware Version applies to all of them. The differences between the Resideo versions and the Honeywell Home versions are purely cosmetic. You can find details about that in a previous post.

The biggest news in this firmware release is the addition of life-safety support when using the PROTAKEOVER module. For the Honeywell 5800 Series legacy RF sensors, the use of life-safety sensors such as the 5808W3, 5806W3, 5800CO, and others has actually been ETL tested and passed to the UL Residential Fire standard. When taking over a CO detector, be sure to check the expiration date. CO detectors are usually good anywhere from six (6) to ten (10) years. Life-safety sensors from any of the other manufacturers supported by the PROTAKEOVER, including DSC (433 MHz), Bosch (433 MHz), 2GIG (345 MHz), Qolsys, and Interlogix (319.5 MHz), can be used, but they will not meet the ETL listing requirement.

When life-safety devices are used with the PROTAKEOVER the functionality for Loop 2 becomes automatic. For sensors programmed for Fire, Loop 2 automatically becomes the Maintenance (Clean Me) input. For those programmed as Carbon Monoxide, Loop 2 automatically becomes the End-of-Life input. For this reason, if you use a 5817CB or 5817CBXT, for something such as a wired heat detector input, you MUST strap out the loop 2 input, either with a wire jumper or a resistor, depending on which 5817 you're using, and you cannot use that input for a zone on the system.

Although the addition of life-safety support for legacy RF sensors is the big news in this firmware release, it is by no means the only news. This revision adds the ability to enable or disable on-screen panic alarms. It also adds the ability to program scenes via Total Connect 2.0 that pertain to alarm panel arming and disarming events only. Even if the panel itself doesn't have a PROWIFIZW module installed (Smart Home monitoring plan is still required). Prior to this release, if you had no intention of using Z-Wave devices, but you still wanted to program your system to arm or disarm based on a schedule, you couldn't do so unless you installed a Z-Wave controller in the panel.

Below, we'll list all the added or updated features with an explanation of each:

  • Zone Response Type Enhancement: The Device Type "Other" now offers the option to enable Chime. The PROSIXC2W now supports 24-Hour panic response types including 24-hour Silent, 24-Hour Audible, 24-Hour Medical, & 24-Hour Auxiliary. All Device and Response Types are now available when enrolling wireless zones using the PROTAKEOVER module.
  • LCD Keypad (PROSIXLCDKP) Enhancement: Now, when a Duress Code is entered at the wireless LCD keypad, only the 4-digit code is required. Previously, users would have to enter the 4-digit code + OFF [1].
  • Quiet Time Feature Added: The PROWLTOUCH Keypad now participates in Quiet Time (10:00 pm - 8:00 am). This means that non-emergency Trouble conditions, and Low Battery troubles will not sound the keypad during this time, though they will display. Included in this list are Communicator Trouble, System Low Battery, RF Transmitter Low Battery, RF Jam Trouble, AC Loss, and PROWLTOUCH Supervision Trouble. Sensor Tamper, and RF Supervision will sound. At 8:00 am, if the non-emergency trouble condition still exists, it will sound. This feature is automatic. It cannot be disabled, and the times cannot currently be changed, though that may change in future revisions.
  • Additional PROWLTOUCH Enhancements: While in backlight timeout, if the keypad reconnects to WIFI for any reason, the keypad will not illuminate. Keypad supervision is now defaulted as "Disabled". If a system has PROWLTOUCH keypad supervision enabled, updating to this version will NOT disable it. The Wireless Touchscreen keypad can now only be enrolled when the main panel is not in program mode. This prevents conflicts with the PROSIXLCD which MUST be added through panel programming. An issue has been corrected where, if the keypad locked up, the battery had to be removed and re-installed in order to reset the keypad. The Indoor MotionViewer (PROINDMV) clips can now be played back on the PROWLTOUCH as well as on the main panel.
  • End-user Can Push User Codes to Z-Wave Locks From TC2: Whew, that was a mouthful! Any Total Connect 2.0 Admin user can now create a user code and send it to a Z-Wave lock via either the Mobile App, or the Website. They have the option to both Push the User to the Lock, and allow the Lock Disarm by that User to automatically Disarm the system.

  • Improved TC2 Behavior During a Z-Wave Lock Jam: Previously, when a lock jam condition was displayed, the only option available was to physically go to the lock and toggle the lock position. Total Connect 2.0 now gives you the option to attempt to Lock or Unlock through the app or website.
  • Z-Wave Lock User Code Sync Improvement: In the past, setting the panel user code to match the Yale lock user code would cause issues. This is still not recommended, but the behavior should be improved.
  • Security Scenes Available in TC2 Without PROWIFIZW: There is no longer a hardware requirement that the panel have the Z-Wave Controller installed in order to create TC2 Scenes pertaining to security panel-only scenes. Currently, the security system scheduling is only available for Partition 1, and a plan that includes automation (Smart Home) is still required.
  • Improved Skybell and TC2 Syncing: Some doorbell cameras were having issues syncing with TC2 after the previous firmware update. Those issues should be resolved.
  • Improved PROSIX RF Signal Level Indication: The system now refreshes signal level for PROSIX devices immediately upon entering walk-test mode.
  • Improved TC2 Camera List Sync: In the past, it was sometimes necessary to Sync the panel twice to get an accurate camera list. This has been improved.
  • Partition Master User Enhancements: A Partition Master User can now only see event logs for the partition(s) they are authorized for.
  • Language Corrections: Improvements in translations for both French and Spanish.
  • Cyber Security Updates: Ongoing Cyber Security maintenance, as well as other bug fixes.

This firmware update can currently only be installed via WIFI. Any account communicating via cellular only will need to be connected to a mobile hotspot or other "WIFI" option before it can be updated. The size of this update is approximately 8MB.

This is a huge update with a lot of feature additions and some user-recommended improvements. Leave a comment below and let us know what you think about the ProSeries panel and the 3.5 update. As always, we look forward to hearing from you!

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One of the good things about an alarm system is the fact that there are redundancies built-in. This prevents a single point of failure. To be certain that everything is working as it should, proper testing is required. Life-safety devices should be functionally tested on a regular basis.

There are numerous aspects to an alarm, that's why it's called a system. The senors are its eyes and ears, the keypad and sirens are its mouth, the alarm panel is its brain, and the communicator is how it calls for help. Whether that's by an old-fashioned POTS line, or cellular, or IP. It is recommended that all the basic aspects of the system be tested once a month. That means putting the system on test with the monitoring station, if necessary, then setting off an alarm and making sure that it both shows up locally at the keypad, causes the siren to sound if applicable, and communicates successfully to the monitoring station.

When an alarm system is first installed, it should be tested in such a way that every single facet of the system is verified to be working properly. That means every zone should be tested, and verified to have performed as programmed, including sending a report to the monitoring station, if central station monitoring is in use. It is important to do this properly because it sets a starting point. When you know that everything was working on a particular date, then later tests may be spot tests, without having to test every single zone. If you keep good records, then if a problem does arise, you'll be able to look back and know when was the last time this particular portion of the system was known to be working, and begin troubleshooting from there.

Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are considered life-safety devices. They can be wired to the alarm system, but they are often battery powered and some may be wireless, but still connected to the alarm system. There may be others that are battery powered, stand-alone devices that only sound locally, and are not tied to the alarm system. When moving into a home where an alarm system is already installed, it's very important to determine what life-safety sensors are present, whether they are stand-alone or tied to the system, and if possible, get any testing records, and any information you can on battery maintenance. If there are no life-safety sensors, or if there are none that are tied into the system, make it a priority to change this as soon as you can. Always follow the recommended guidelines when laying out the life-safety portion of your system.

Smoke and CO detectors can be tested in two ways. Each device usually has a push-button on the device itself. Depending on the device, pressing this button will cause the detector to sound locally and test its own battery. With newer devices, testing one smoke or CO detector in this way will cause all of the associated life-safety devices on the system to sound. This is called one-go-all-go by some manufacturers. There is usually an LED that provides feedback with this test, with some detectors actually speaking their status. If this happens to be a life-safety sensor that is tied into an alarm system, then pressing the test button should also cause an alarm condition to show up on the system keypad, and if the system is being monitored by a central station, a signal will be sent. If a low battery condition exists, it should be displayed via LEDs, or spoken, on the detector itself, and will show up on the alarm keypad if the detector is tied to the alarm system.

The above test is fine for the monthly system test, but at least twice per year, life-safety devices should undergo a functional test. A functional test is where you actually cause a smoke or a CO alarm. With smoke detectors, you can sometimes do this by lighting a 3-wick candle then blowing it out right under the smoke detector. Functional testing of a CO detector is more difficult, but still possible. We offer both canned CO for testing, and canned smoke. When testing, it may be helpful to hold a bowl upside-down over the detector to be tested. Make the bowl only as large as is necessary to cover the detector completely. Spray the canned smoke or canned CO into the area covered by the bowl. This should result in an alarm with a minimum of the canned product being wasted. It will also prevent you from possibly breathing it in. It is recommended to perform the functional test during the Spring and Fall, at the same time that the clocks are changed for Daylight Saving's Time. This Fall, that's going to happen on November 7, 2021.

Once you've caused an alarm to occur either with actual smoke, or with canned smoke or canned carbon monoxide, you can perform a disarm at the panel keypad to silence the system. It is possible that the system will begin sounding again if there is still smoke in the sensing chamber of the smoke detector, or canned CO in the sensing chamber of the CO detector. To stop the alarm, you need to clear the chamber. That means removing the bowl or other covering you used during the functional test, and blowing out the chamber. Be careful not to breathe in the canned test product. It is noxious! It may be helpful to have a fan handy, or possibly some canned air but be careful not to damage the sensing chamber. If using canned air, hold it at a distance of eight (8) inches or more from the detector.

Testing CO detectors is particularly important at this time of year. Carbon Monoxide buildup is caused by the inefficient burning of certain types of fuel. Natural gas, oil, kerosene, gasoline, wood, and charcoal are all fuel sources that can cause CO poisoning when not burned efficiently. As we head into the colder months, the use of all of these types of fuel for heating and recreation will be on the rise. If you're interested in how carbon monoxide detectors work, you can learn more here.

Above is a general guideline for how to functionally test smoke detectors and CO detectors. Follow the instructions found with the product literature for proper testing and be sure, if your system is monitored by a central station, that you call and put the system on test with them prior to causing an alarm. There are a number of ways that you can accomplish this. You can call the monitoring station, provide verification of your identity, then ask the operator to put your system on test. If you are an Alarm Grid customer, you can use the myalarms.com feature to put your system on test and take it off. If you are an Alarm.com subscriber, you may be able to put your system on test, or take it off, through the Alarm.com app. Alarm Grid has many guides, both written and video, to various specific smoke detectors and CO detectors. Check out our Youtube channel, or search the site for information on your devices. If we don't have information on a device you need to test, if it's one we sell leave us a comment below and we'll be happy to create content for that specific device.

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Last week, we featured a list of the Top 5 Worst US States for Fire Safety. We received some positive feedback from the post, so we decided to present you with the five safest states in that same category. By doing this, we hope to make everyone to be a little bit more aware of fire safety.

Honeywell 5806w3 wireless smoke detector

Before we present our list, we have a few things that we want you to keep in mind. Living in one of these states does not make you or your family immune to fires. You must have a plan in place for dealing with a fire in the event that one occurs in your household. The best time to take action is before any serious damage or loss of life occurs. A good place to start is by getting a monitored security system with programmed smoke and heat detectors for fire-safety. Make sure that your system and sensors are working correctly, and remember to test them regularly. Always put your system on test mode before testing to prevent any false alarms and potential fines.

Also, work with all members of your household to ensure that everyone follows proper fire safety practices. This includes any children in your household, as well as anyone who is elderly, hard of hearing, or may have trouble moving. Put a proper fire-safety plan into place, and make sure that everyone in your household is aware of that plan and how to follow it. You may even want to hold regular fire drills in your household or enlist help from your local fire department by contacting them on their non-emergency phone number for additional ideas and support. And make sure to check out our post on the top ten (10) causes for house fires so that you can understand how most fires occur and what actions can be taken to prevent them.

If you saw our previous post on the five (5) worst states for fire safety, then you will already understand our methodology. Our list represents the average number of fire-related deaths per million people per year across the years 2013 thru 2017. The statistics we are using were reported by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). This represents the newest NFPA data that we were able to find. We believe that this data presents a pretty accurate picture of current fire safety, even though it is technically a few years old at this point.

The table below shows the five (5) US states that have the lowest average number of fire-related death per million people per year for 2013 thru 2017. Just like last time, we have included earlier groupings of years in the graph. While it is interesting to look at how these statistics have changed over time, please understand that these five states made this lists exclusively because of their 2013 thru 2017 statistics. With that out of the way, let's take a look.

Based on this information, the five best states for fire safety are:

  • 5. Massachusetts
  • 4. Colorado
  • 3. Hawaii
  • 2. California
  • 1. Utah

Before breaking down this list in fine detail, it's very good to see that fire-related casualties do indeed suggest a downward trend over time. Four of these five states have seen their average annual rate of fire-related deaths be reduced by at least half their NFPA-reported statistic since 1981. And when looking at Massachusetts, the figure has been cut down to less than one-third!

Massachusetts was the only state in the Top 5 to not get its average annual fire-related death rate under six (6) deaths per one million people. The state came very close with its rate of 6.1. Still, keeping the average number of fire-related deaths to just 6.1 for every one million legal residents is pretty remarkable. And what's more promising is that the figure has the potential to go further down.

The only state without a clear downward trend on this list is Hawaii. The Aloha State posted the lowest figure in the entire study, with just 2.8 deaths per million people on average from 2008 to 2012, only to see that figure nearly double to 5.3 deaths per million people on average from 2013 to 2017. Still, that 5.3 figure is good enough for third place in the entire country.

Some observers might be surprised to see California anywhere on this list, let alone being landing second place for fire safety. The state has a notorious reputation for its wildfires, and they seem to be an annual occurrence for the region. It's important to consider that this list is strictly measuring loss of human life in determining these rankings. While California certainly has its ongoing issues with wildfires, it's clear that the state has done an excellent job of ensuring the safety of its citizens when dealing with these natural disasters, at least when covering the years 2013 thru 2017.

Congratulations to Utah for having the lowest average rate of fire-related deaths per million people for 2013 thru 2017. The state had just 4.6 fire-related deaths per million people on average for these years. However, Utah has reported lower fire-related deaths in the past, so it's anyone's guess whether the figure will go up or down the next time this information is collected.

Remember, these states made this list not because fires don't occur in their areas, but because its residents know how to take proper action when fires do occur. Knowing what to do in the event of a fire is equally as important as preventing fires in the first place. And never forget that while most of your possessions and your home can be replaced, the lives of those around you cannot.

If you are looking for top-quality residential fire monitoring, then Alarm Grid is happy to help you get started. We encourage you to reach out to us for more information by emailing support@alarmgrid.com, or by calling (888) 818-7728. Keep in mind that our support hours run from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. Our experts can help you determine the perfect system for your household, and we can work with you to choose the best life-safety accessories for your needs. We look forward to working with you and your family to help you remain fire safe.

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At Alarm Grid, one thing we take very seriously is fire safety. Our security systems integrate with smoke and heat detectors that trigger fire alarms when activated. Most residential users can use central station monitoring to receive automatic dispatch in the event of a fire alarm.

Honeywell sixsmoke front wireless smoke slash heat detector for

Although fire safety is important no matter where you live, statistics show that some areas experience higher rates of serious fires than others. We decided to look into this a little bit further to determine the five (5) worst US states for fire safety. Not only are these statistics rather interesting, they can also be quite eye-opening if you live in one of these states.

Our method for determining the worst US states for fire safety was quite simple. We just took a look at the average number of fire-related deaths per million people per year for the years 2013 thru 2017, as reported by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). This is the newest NFPA data we were able to find. Although this data is a few years old, it should still be quite accurate in determining the biggest offenders for fire safety.

In the table below, you will see the five (5) US states that have the highest average number of fire-related deaths per million people per year for 2013 thru 2017. You will also see earlier groupings of years in the graph. We won't focus too much on the earlier years, but it is good to see that fire-related deaths are generally decreasing. All of these states have experienced at least 11 fewer fire-related deaths per million people per year on average when comparing the years 1981 to 1985 with the years 2013 to 2017. That in itself is a good sign that these states are improving their fire safety.

Based on this information, the five worst states for fire safety are:

  • 5. Alabama
  • 4. Alaska
  • 3. Arkansas
  • 2. Mississippi
  • 1. West Virginia

We understand that this is an overly-simple ideology for ranking states based on fire safety, but it is still interesting nonetheless. And just because your state is on this list doesn't mean that you should get discouraged. Whether or not your household or business practices proper fire safety techniques is up to you, not the rest of your state. Therefore, you should do your part to prevent yourself and those around you from becoming another unfortunate statistic in this dataset.

To keep your home or business as safe as possible, you should start by making sure that the building is properly outfitted with smoke detectors. It is recommended that you have at least one smoke detector on each floor. There should also be a smoke detector inside of every sleeping area and inside any large central area. Great locations for smoke detectors include bedrooms, hallways, living rooms, and any big room in a business. You may also use standalone heat detectors in areas that are not suitable for traditional smoke detectors. These include bathrooms, garages, kitchens, and basements. Remember to test your smoke and heat detectors at least once per month and change their batteries regularly. If your smoke and heat detectors are enrolled with a monitored alarm panel, then make sure to place your system on test mode first to avoid false alarms.

We also strongly advise viewing this post we made last year about the top ten (10) causes for house fires. Understand how fires are caused, and take the proper actions to prevent them. Make sure that every member of your household or business is as fire safety conscious as you are. You should hold regularly scheduled fire drills in your home or business. Get everyone involved, and make it a group activity. It is crucial that you have an action plan and that everyone else in your home or business understands and follows that plan. You may even want to reach out to your local fire department on their non-emergency number to see if they can help you maintain fire safety.

Remember, fire-related deaths are something that you and those around you can prevent. But you need to take action beforehand. Once you lose someone to a fire, you can't bring them back. Let's work together to make this decade the safest yet. If you want to learn more about fire-safety or our residential fire monitoring services, then you can always reach out to us by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. Remember that our support hours run from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to helping you remain fire safe!

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Actress Anna Faris, known for her comedic roles, suffered from a not-so-funny incident over the recent Thanksgiving Holiday. The actress and 12 members of her family were the victims of a carbon monoxide (CO) gas incident. The incident occurred in a North Lake Tahoe cabin they were renting.

Qolsys iq carbon

A representative from the North Tahoe Fire Protection District stated that the vacation cabin had carbon monoxide levels as high as 55 parts per million (ppm). Long-term indoor exposure should be no higher than 15 ppm. The structure did not have any carbon monoxide sensors installed to indicate such danger. Nevada state law requires CO alarms in all family dwellings.

Thankfully, Anna Faris and her family are okay following the incident. However, two of her family members visited the local emergency room. Doctors diagnosed them with CO poisoning, and they were perfectly fine after receiving some care. Firefighters from the North Tahoe FD immediately rushed to the cabin and saved Ms. Faris and her accompanying family shortly thereafter.

According to North Lake Tahoe Fire Official Erin Holland, the CO levels indicated inside the building would have caused a "fatality in a short period of time" had the rescue team not intervened. Faris made sure to send her sincere gratitude to the North Tahoe FD following the incident.

Honeywell 5800combo smoke heat and co detector

We have spoken about the dangers of carbon monoxide gas many times on the Alarm Grid blog. The odorless and tasteless gas kills hundreds of people every year in the United States. If it weren't for the quick work of local firefighters, a talented actress and her family may have fallen victim as well. They are lucky to be alive, and the rescue team deserves praise for the fact that any exposure was kept as minimal as possible.

As you know by now, it is crucial to have carbon monoxide sensors installed in your home. Ideally, you should have CO detectors enrolled with your security system. By pairing these devices with a system that has active monitoring service, you and/or a central station can receive alerts regarding any of your CO sensors that activate while you are away.

If your home has hardwired high-voltage CO sensors (as is required in most jurisdictions), you can indirectly integrate these devices with your alarm system using a wireless takeover listening module. We offer variants for 345 MHz, and 433 MHz wireless alarm systems. And if you don't have hardwired CO detectors in your home, then we sell plenty of standalone units that pair directly with alarm panels like any other sensor.

Encore firefighter ff345 circular smoke detector takeover module

When traveling, make sure that all on-site CO sensors and smoke detectors are working properly. If you have any doubts, ask the building operators to perform a test. This is a reasonable request that any property manager should be able to accommodate. Please note that we ARE NOT suggesting that you bring canned CO gas or canned smoke on an airplane for testing purposes. That could get you into a lot of trouble. Make arrangements for on-site testing, without bringing your own supplies.

It may also be a good idea to buy a cheap conventional battery-operated carbon monoxide sensor when you get to your vacation site. It may turn out that the place you visit does not have CO detectors. This was the case with Anna Faris and her family. We do not sell standalone battery-operated CO detectors on our website. But you can get most models between $10 and $20 from most department and hardware stores. Some models will even show you the detected parts per million for CO gas! If you are staying in a larger property, you may want to obtain multiple sensors.

Remember that our goal at Alarm Grid is to keep you and your loved ones safe. If you ever need help choosing a carbon monoxide sensor for your system, or if you would like to learn more about how we can monitor your home, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. You are also invited to call us at (888) 818-7728 during our usual business hours of 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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