2Gig’s FireFighter, Innovation in an Industry Often Plagued with Business as Usual
I am not looking to throw stones at the industry that has given me a long and successful career but I do think the security industry could use a bit of fresh thinking and creativity when it comes to products offered to our client base. I would like to spotlight a product that embodies this concept of fresh thinking and innovation. Meet 2Gig’s FireFighter sensor. What makes this product special in my mind is that it has helped to fill a gap in the life-safety category of the industry through innovation and creative engineering.
Over the course of my many years consulting with clients, builders, and developers, the number of times I would walk into a home or business and notice that the code required life-safety smoke/carbon monoxide detectors were inoperable was countless. In fact, checking this became the first item on my punch list when evaluating client needs and designing a security plan. The reason I paid such close attention to this detail was that at a bare minimum, making sure a client’s existing life-safety equipment was in good order was one simple item I could accomplish to not only help my clients but potentially save lives. Even now, being out of the on-site consulting business and running an e-commerce company, I still can’t help looking up at the ceiling when I walk into a home to see if there is an open battery casing or dangling smoke detector hanging like a pinata with a low volt wire acting as the string. Our current life safety code requirements are outdated and need a remodel but until that happens, 2Gig has a powerful solution for upgrading the outdated code smoke/carbon monoxide systems required in all homes.
The Nortek 2GIG FireFighter
The Firefighter detects alerts from existing code smoke/carbon monoxide detectors relaying the notification to a monitored alarm panel. Please notice the word monitored in the last sentence. The device is only as good as the system communicating with the central station and if there is no monitoring of the alarm system, the desired beneficial life-safety results are lost. The current NFPA72 fire code requires that multiple smoke/carbon monoxide detectors are installed in all new homes built. The code is specific about placement, power requirements, and practices for installation. It is required by this code that this life safety system has two sources of power. Typically, this is achieved through looped system wiring (what we call daisy-chaining within the industry) tying one smoke to the next with a central point of power at the beginning of the looped sequence. The second source of power is the battery contained within each device. This may answer the question of why when you take the battery out of your code smoke the darn thing still beeps at you. I have taken many less than happy client phone calls related to this lack of understanding. What is not required in the NFPA72 code is the monitoring of this system by an outside monitoring central station. The inherent problem I see with this is that it leads to smoke/carbon monoxide detector systems that are unmaintained and often inoperable.
The 2Gig FireFighter achieves a number of needed remedies. The first is highlighting a system that is often neglected putting in back on the list of important systems within the home and or business. The second is that it allows an important life-safety system rarely monitored to be tied into a monitored alarm system with the installation of one simple device. Yes, you heard me correctly, just one FireFighter is needed to monitor the multitude of code required smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. Going back to my prior description of how the code required smoke/carbon monoxide detectors are wired, only one FireFighter is needed due to the looped system configuration. In other words, when one code device is triggered they are all triggered. This is also what complicates getting them to turn off when you burn something in the oven. The Fire-Fighter takes the alert from any one of the devices and transmits that alert wirelessly to the security panel which in turn communicates the alert to the central monitoring station. The central monitoring station can then dispatch the proper authorities or alert the home or business owner that there is a problem with the system.
So why would you want to have this system monitored in the first place if they all go off and make a giant racket? I will be blunt on this point, fires and carbon monoxide disasters occur at the least expected times whether you are in the home or not. Additionally, if carbon monoxide levels become high enough within a home or business whether you hear them or not becomes irrelevant because you will be incapacitated due to carbon monoxide blood levels. Once a high enough blood CO level is reached the only possibility for rescue is if someone pulls you out of the CO saturated environment or changes the environment bringing in clean air and eliminating the CO source. I have been in many homes and businesses after a fire or disaster event and believe me when I say that a one to three-year contract requiring roughly a dollar a day for third-party monitoring is a price worth paying given the potential downside risk.
I would also like to mention that not all homes have code smoke/carbon monoxide systems that are wired in succession. Older homes and homes that have been remodeled may have individual devices acting independently of each other. In this case, I would recommend replacing all of these non-monitored devices with new fire marshal approved smoke and carbon monoxide detection equipment tied to an alarm panel with third party monitoring.
Taking a broader view of a well-designed security system, the FireFighter is really an outstanding product and should be considered when building a comprehensive life-safety and security system. The FireFighter is an excellent device that leverages existing installed life-safety equipment, tying it into a more comprehensive monitored life-safety & security solution.
Below is a list of security sensors and components that, through my experience, I have ranked in order of importance. My hope that this checklist will help in your decision-making process when considering the purchase of a comprehensive life-safety & security system.
Prioritized Home & Business Security Design Checklist
Security Professional Vendor Selection
- Ongoing Customer Service and Support
- Detail Oriented
- Customized Comprehensive Solutions
- Technology and Product
- Efficiency and Ease – (Purchase Process and Installation)
Monitoring and Communication Type
- Detail Oriented
- Customer Service-Centric
- Central Station Communication through Cellular Signal
- Central Station Communication through Wifi
- Central Station Communication through POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service)
Life Safety with Monitoring
- Firefighter by 2Gig
- Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- Rate of Rise Heat Detectors
- Panic Sensors
Intrusion Prevention and Detection – All Encrypted
- Plenty of Yard Signs and Window Alarm Decals
- Door and Window Sensors
- Motion Sensors
- Glass Break Sensors
- Shock Sensors
- Outdoor Rear and Side Entry Cameras
- Outdoor Garage Entry Cameras
- Front Entry Camera
- Doorbell Cameras
- Entry Gate Cameras
- Wide Angle Indoor Cameras
Environmental Risk Detection
- Water Sensors in Potential Problem Locations
- Low Temperature or Freeze Detection Sensors
Alarm Automation Devices
- Door Lock Control (Zwave)
- Stove Top Sensor Alerts 2Gig (Zwave)
- Gun Movement Sensors 2Gig (Zwave
- Garage Door Control (Zwave)
- Thermostat Control (Zwave or Wifi)
- Lighting Control (Zwave)
Please note I have not included special application devices. Example (Water Hazards – Pools, Ponds, Hot Tubs)
For more information on the FireFighter or how to design a comprehensive security system, you can contact me through our website at www.innovatesfl.com or contact me directly through LinkedIn.