Hot Startup for Fire / Intrusion Integration: Encore's FireFighter

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Jun 17, 2014

A startup claims to have orders pouring in for a novel solution to integrate firm alarm monitoring with one's intrusion system. 

The benefit? Fire monitoring for no additional monthly cost and by adding a single sensor to the panel. How does it work, and is it better than the alternatives? We take a look in this note.

Product Overview

Encore's FireFighter is a sensor built to alarm on a very specific condition: the standard 'beeps', or cadence, from UL-listed smoke/fire alarms. The overview video below offers a simple explanation of how the sensor works:

The Value Proposition

Using FireFighter allows a monitored intrusion system (common to many houses) to also monitor for fire without needing wired smoke detectors and even by using existing stand-alone battery powered sensors (also very common). 

Instead of needing special smoke detectors and costly combination fire/burg alarm panels that could add hundreds to an alarm system, adding a FireFighter sensor connects smoke alarms to the central station monitoring company for less than $100.

Key Features

Tone Triggered: The sensor detects the standard 'BEEP--BEEP--BEEP' cadence of a UL approved [link no longer available] smoke or fire detector, and triggers based on two or three sustained alerts. 

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Battery Powered: Even if used with hardwire powered smoke alarms, the FireFighter relies on battery power. However, with standard CR123A Lithium cells, the unit is expected to require new batteries every three to five years. 

Zonable: If the parent alarm panel supports sensor zones, multiple FireFighter sensors can be installed in large buildings or to help the central station determine where in the building an alarm is occurring.

Verified/Non-Verified Option: The unit can be configured to use in either type of system. For Non-Verified systems, an alarm automatically triggers a response through the main panel, while a Verified system waits 20 - 30 seconds for a 'all clear' code to be input. If no code is entered, the alarm is considered 'Verified' and sent to the central station.

Price: Encore's sensor is available through US/Canadian distributors [link no longer available] for ~$65, or direct from the manufacturer once approved as a reseller.

Tech Details

Sensors are compatible with two wireless standard receivers, the 345 MHz type common to Honeywell/Ademco and 2GIG panels, or the 319 MHz type used by Interlogix panels. However, many other alarm panels use the two frequencies, and the company is willing to support other panels if contacted.

While most smoke detectors are not connected to an alarm panel, they are interconnected to alert together by sound.  Most common types of detectors will sound if other sensors in the area alarm. When this is the case, a single FireFighter can be installed near a smoke detector, and the entire building is covered because of the tonal interconnect: 

 

However, for FireFighter to trigger correctly, the companion smokes cannot use anything other than the tone cadence. Smoke detectors that use spoken/verbiage annunciators will not work. This means that Google Nest users will not be able to use the sensor.

Potential Shortcomings

The amount of distance between a FireFighter and a companion smoke detector must be very close, about 6 inches. Because the sensor relies entirely on noise detection, if this distance is greater or if the unit is hung in a noisy industrial environment, the specific alarm pattern may be hard to distinctly make out and cause alarming. 

Also, the sensor will not detect smoke, fire, or heat by itself and it must always be installed with a companion smoke detector unit. If the adjacent unit does not alarm, neither will the FireFighter.

Alternatives?

Monitored smoke detectors are commonly available, generally in two basic types:

  • Wired Monitored Sensors: These detectors are connected to panels/powered by hardwired connections, but are costly to install after a building is already constructed due to costly cable runs in overhead and finished ceilings.
  • Wireless Interconnected/Unmonitored Sensors: In most retrofit cases, and even in new construction, wireless (battery powered) sensors are hung independently throughout a building. This is the most common option, because installation does not require any networking or cable pulls. 

In either case, the cost of the option ranges from ~$100 for a single room to $500 or more for a typical house. In general, FireFighter is more appealing the more smoke detectors are used in a building, potentially offering no savings for a single room apartment to thousands for a large residence.

 

 

Comments (18) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

ZKTeco Body Temperature and Mask Detection Reader Tested on May 26, 2020
While dedicated fever cameras emerged first, now tablet/kiosk fever detectors are ramping up. China's ZKTeco has been aggressively promoting such...
Wyze Smart Door Lock Test on Jan 14, 2020
Wyze's inexpensive cameras have grabbed the attention of many in the consumer market, but can the company's new smart lock get similar...
Seek Scan Thermal Temperature Screening System Tested on May 28, 2020
Now that IPVM has tested Dahua, Hikvision, and Sunell, we are returning to Seek, the first blackbody system we tested and retested it with our...
Use Access Control Logs To Constrain Coronavirus on Apr 09, 2020
Access control users have included capabilities that are not commonly used that can help zero-in and discover potential Coronavirus hotspots in a...
LSP Presents 2nd Generation FP Power Supplies on Apr 29, 2020
Life Safety Power (LSP) presented its FP2 power supply in the April 2020 IPVM New Products show. Inside this report: A 30-minute video from...
K3 Wall Mounted IR Temperature Gun Tested on Jun 12, 2020
Is this the solution to not spending thousands of dollars on fever cameras? Handheld IR guns are far lower cost than fever cameras but requires an...
Kentix SmartXcan Fever Screening Device Tested on Jun 22, 2020
German manufacturer Kentix has declared "FEVER-SCREENING REINVENTED" with its new SmartXcan device. It is a different approach but how well does it...
Embedded Logix Thermal Temperature Detection System Examined on Apr 08, 2020
Embedded Logix has been producing thermal temperature measurement systems for industry and fire detection for over 10 years. Now, they are entering...
ZKTeco Presents SpeedFace Recognition + Body Temperature Detection on Apr 21, 2020
ZKTeco presented its SF1008+ reader with body temperature and face mask detection for responding to coronavirus at the April 2020 IPVM New Products...
Breaking Into A Facility Using Canned Air Tested on Jan 28, 2020
Access control is supposed to make doors more secure, but a $5 can of compressed air may defeat it. With no special training, intruders can...

Most Recent Industry Reports

ZeroEyes Presents Firearm Detection Video Analytics on Jul 09, 2020
ZeroEyes presented its Firearm detection Video Analytics system at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. A 30-minute video from ZeroEyes...
Clinton Public View Monitor (PVM) Mask Detection Tested on Jul 09, 2020
Face mask detection, or more specifically not wearing one, is expanding amidst the pandemic. Clinton Electronics has added this capability to their...
These Florida Real Estate Agents Are Now Selling "SafeCheck USA" Temperature Detectors on Jul 09, 2020
The "Kakon Brothers", William and Nathan, are self-described "south Florida Power Agents specializing in Luxury Real Estate" who "have closed over...
Avigilon ACC Cloud Tested on Jul 08, 2020
Avigilon merged Blue and ACC, adding VSaaS features to its on-premise VMS, offering remote video and health monitoring that was previously limited...
Hikvision's India Dominance Faces Threat on Jul 08, 2020
While Hikvision has become a dominant video surveillance provider in India, recent tension between the governments of India and the PRC is...
The US Fight Over Facial Recognition Explained on Jul 08, 2020
The controversy around facial recognition has grown significantly in 2020, with Congress members and activists speaking out against it while video...
Sperry West / Alibaba Tablet Temperature Measurement Tested on Jul 07, 2020
In April, we ordered a ~$500 temperature tablet from Alibaba. We set it to the side while doing 18 other temperature screening tests but, after...
Facial Recognition: Weak Sales, Anti Regulation, No Favorite, Says Security Integrators on Jul 07, 2020
While facial recognition has gained greater prominence, a new IPVM study of security systems integrators shows weak sales, opposition to...
Video Surveillance 101 Book Released on Jul 07, 2020
IPVM's unique introduction to video surveillance series is now available as a 145-page eBook. Designed for managers, salespeople, and engineers new...
Startup Duranc Presents AI VSaaS on Jul 06, 2020
Duranc presented its system at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. A 30-minute video from Duranc including IPVM Q&A Background on the...