Smoke Monitoring - Serious Safety Issue with Ring Fire Response Protocols

Hello,

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

I agree 100%. I want the option just like with burglary, to call all of the contacts on my list first before dispatching the fire department.

Also, would like the ability to pause the system for a set time, like 1 hour. I used to be able to do that with ADT and always paused it when I was going to cook something smoky.

Thanks @r6kmb, your suggestion to have a pause feature is a good one!

I’d sure appreciate getting a response from Ring to our posts!

If they would just add the ability for the keypad to cancel the fire department dispatch. No one is going to stop and turn the alarm off before they run out the door if there is a fire. My wife is the primary contact and she often travels internationally for work. She may be asleep or over the Atlantic when they call. When we have mentioned it, the only options they gave were to take the batteries out of the smoke alarm when we cook or disable monitoring. Both of these are stupid answers and this problem has been solved by EVERY OTHER alarm company.

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Jut to add a reminder, if the primary contact person doesn’t answer, yes the Professional Monitoring team will call the Fire Department.

If triggered by Fire/Smoke detection, the Professional Monitoring FIRST calls your first Emergency Contact phone, and if this primary contact does not answer THEN they call the Fire Department, in that order. After dispatching the Fire Response Team, then the Professional Monitoring will call your second & third Emergency Contacts. The intent is to get the Fire truck moving fast because since your house maybe burning.

Then the 2nd or 3rd contact person can also let them know it is a false alarm with the correct Verbal Password. If you are not on the contact list or missed these calls, you can also initiate a call directly to Professional Monitoring yourself (833) 209-2159 (for in the U.S.), and Professional Monitoring can again call the Emergency Response Teams IF they already dispatched them. :wink:

@Boone, Thanks for your thorough and informative answer. However, the solution you mention (1) disrespects Ring’s users, (2) is not practical, and (3) leads to unsafe unalarmed situations. BTW, I have managed multi-million dollar projects developing remote monitoring systems for oil wells - I know what I am talking about. (1) Ring’s approach relies on CYA rather than trusting their users to cancel false alarms; I do not understand why. (2) Once fire trucks are on their way, it will be too late in most cases for 2nd and 3rd contact persons to call them back. Also, if 2nd and 3rd contact persons are not at home, they cannot know whether the alarm is real or false. (3) I, and no doubt other users, have been obliged to remove alarms from great rooms where multiple family members use a kitchen and occasionally cause false smoke alarms. Ring seems to think their current protocols will avoid lawsuits, but I am convinced the opposite will be true.

I would like to have the opportunity to speak with someone Ring management about this important concern.

A final point: I purchased my Ring system only after being told by customer support that I would be able to cancel a false and dispatch of fire trucks if I disarmed the system within 30 seconds. I have since learned that I cannot cancel the alarm like that; it seems the person I spoke with was mis-informed? Had I been told that I would not be able to cancel a false alarm, I would not have purchased a Ring system. As far as I am concerned, this amounts to a kind of bait and switch, and I remain a dissatisfied Ring customer.

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Hello @Winnegance ,

I understand your concern. Not everybody likes the way the response is currently set up. But it is great that you posted here in the “Feature Request Board” and this is where the Ring Teams look to see what kind of changes or additional features people are looking for. Hopefully, other people that agree with you will add their vote to this request. :wink:

I totally agree with this reply and the lack of flexibility with modifying the behavior to when the fire/police are called. I also would like to recommend that ring allows modifying the primary contact for a period of time for when the primary contact(s) are out of country and/or not available to act as a reliable contact. Thanks

I agree that it is critical for ring to provide more options to minimize and/or cancel contacting fire/police services in response to a particular alarm activation. Unnecessary calls and responses by police/fire results in the “crying wolf” effect for these public services.