Alarm Stories of AlertCentral
Written by
Robert C. Winter III

by Robert C. Winter, Alert-Tech President

Recently, I responded to a dispatch from Alert Central of the local Fire Department to the home of someone I knew who suffered from dementia. He was found standing  alone and appeared lost in the open door to his house with dark smoke  billowing behind him. I entered as the firemen, brave soldiers of safety, came up to the house. I saw the burner on the stove was red, and a pot containing an extremely hard-boiled egg. His caregiver had stepped out to bring lunch, so the man decided to prepare something for himself. I turned off the stove and used a towel to hold the pot’s handle and quickly moved it to the sink to cool down. The firemen placed a blower fan in the door to ventilate the smoke. What could have happened was averted!

This reminded me of how many holiday fires have destroyed lives, plans, and festivities. Let’s turn back the clock on a few. I was working in AlertCentral when a fire alarm appeared on the monitor. I called the home of the client. The lady explained that she had burned the muffins and there was no need for the fire department. “It’s under control,” she said. At that time, our fire department wanted verification before rolling out the trucks. The woman gave the password and I continued to monitor. Then, the emergency scanner announced a fire dispatch to her home.

The woman later explained her instructions were a “big mistake” because the fire had spread out of control. Over the years the protocols for dispatch on fire emergencies have changed because of such situations, and now we are to dispatch first and ask questions later.

July 4th fireworks lit up the sky behind an apartment complex, when our dispatch of the local Fire Department arrived in time to pull out an intoxicated student to safety after he left a pot on the burner. Thanks to a 24-hr monitored smoke detector we had installed, we received the fire alarm.  He was revived—another life saved—and the damage was reduced, thanks to quick work by our emergency responders!

One time a client in Waycross argued with our AlertCentral dispatcher that there was no smoke or fire detected on site, but our monitor indicated attic heat detectors in alarm.  The client opened the attic door to reveal the inferno up there! It was later determined that a squirrel had started the fire by biting the electrical wiring.

Another client in Lakeland revealed this past week that they are building a new house and want us to install a hard-wired system just like at their other house in which they were saved by our fire dispatch and the damage was minimal, due to the Lakeland Fire Department response.

Another story comes to mind. I will never forget the young lady who showed up in our lobby one morning to pay her bill. “I have to have my monitoring,” she insisted. The lady then shared her story when one night she had returned from a party and was removing her makeup with a product containing alcohol. The aroma candle in her bathroom was too close and set her face ablaze. She ran out into the hall thinking that bees were stinging her until her monitored fire alarm announced, “FIRE, FIRE, LEAVE IMMEDIATELY!” She rolled in the carpet trying to put out the fire. Her parents, who happened to live nearby, responded to  the call from one of our AlertCentral dispatchers and got there first. They rushed in and took her to the hospital while the Fire Department extinguished the remnants of the fire. The young lady had skin grafts and plastic surgery done at the hospital but survived the disaster.

There is no room in this Security Advisor for the many other examples through the years of dispatches that saved lives and property. Our emergency responders are true heroes and without them we and you, esteemed clients, would be on our own!