I recently installed a Ring alarm system in my house including motion sensors, smoke alarm listeners, and an outdoor camera. Generally speaking, my wife and I are happy with the Ring system.
However, there is one issue I wish to bring to your attention concerning the smoke alarm monitoring. The current Fire Response protocols are too rigid and do not work for my house: the great room in my house includes the kitchen and the family room with a wood burning stove. Multiple family members use the living space, cook in the kitchen, and use the wood burning stove. There is a correctly positioned smoke alarm with listener in the great room (20 feet from stove, and within 12 inches of peak of angled ceiling). Inevitably, there are occasional false smoke alarms, generally set off by cooking fumes such as when someone burns toast or forgets to use the externally venting hood above the stove.
The current Ring smoke monitoring protocols mean that if a false alarm is triggered when the first contact is not home, the fire department will be dispatched. This is obviously not acceptable when multiple family members use a kitchen, and we have been forced to remove the smoke listener from the great room. This results in an unsafe, unmonitored situation, as I am sure you recognize. Please don’t tell me that no one should be allowed to cook unless the first contact person is home! Please don’t tell me no one should ever burn toast, and never forget to use the vent hood! People are human, and accidents happen. Let me be clear, my wife is furious with the rigidity of the current Fire Response protocols!
We have considered making the house land line the primary contact number. But, Ring wants to speak to the first contact person, not just anyone who answers the phone. Again, too rigid a protocol. Moreover, we want to get rid of the expensive land line and go cellular only.
I don’t like to complain without offering ideas for solutions. Here are some ideas:
It should be possible for any authorized user to disarm the system in case of a false smoke alarm and thereby cancel the request for help. It would be fine if Ring Monitoring called to see if everything was indeed OK, but they would not initiate a call for help by default. I see that Ring has enabled a cancel feature on the Police Response, so why not do so for the Fire Response? A user can be coerced at gunpoint to cancel a police alarm; I cannot imagine anyone being coerced into cancelling a smoke alarm!
Another option would be to have mode settings on the smoke listeners such that certain units could remain inactive when the system is disarmed. The smoke sensor in the great room could be inactive during the day when we are at home and the system is disarmed. It could be activated when we put the system into Home mode and go up to bed. It would, of course, be activated in Away mode. There could also be a schedule function, as on the camera, which would activate the smoke listener at night even if we forget to put the system into Home mode.
I suspect that Ring has taken a CYA approach to smoke monitoring, using a ‘better safe than sorry’ logic. I am trying to point out that this is not, in fact, the safest approach, since it drives unsafe behaviors. I, and (no doubt) other customers will resort to unsafe measures to avoid having the fire department show up in case of false alarms. I imagine that Ring’s current approach will lead to so many false dispatches of fire trucks that fire departments across the country will want to ban Ring systems.
I would appreciate your taking this request very seriously, and putting customization of the Fire Response at the top of your Feature Request list.
Thank You, and Kind Regards