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It’s not a Cheeseburger – It’s Life Safety! (when DIY becomes dangerous)

The world of DIY (Do it Yourself) is exploding in every industry and facet of life, including home security systems.  We are in the age of information and in ten minutes on Google or YouTube, we can seemingly solve just about anything.  You can troubleshoot a frozen air conditioning unit, refinish kitchen cabinets, even swap out a garbage disposal.  Virtually every task on earth has a how-to video for the Do-it-Yourselfer!  But when is DIY not in your best interest?  When is it not safe?  When is there no substitute for a licensed and trained professional?

We think “Life Safety” is the key deciding factor here.

Here, I’ll explain.  If you screw up your garbage disposal installation, what’s the worst that could happen?  You get wet, right?  Or maybe spew a nasty mess all over your cabinets?  Either way, there’s no real consequence.

What if your air conditioner freezes up in the middle of summer?  You’ll watch a YouTube video, run some very basic troubleshooting and see if that solves the problem before having to pay for a service call.  What’s the worst that could happen?  You waste thirty minutes of your time?

These are examples of when DIY makes sense.  It makes sense because there are no real consequences should you fail.  This should always be the deciding question that is asked every time when deciding on whether you should “Do it Yourself” or not.

What Are the Consequences if Your DIY Home Security System Fails?

Obvious instances where “do it yourself” would NOT be advised are tasks involving:

  • high voltage electricity
  • construction involving licensing
  • writing contracts or legal documents
  • large tree removal
  • self diagnosing or treatment of serious medical issues

The common thread in all of these things are the consequences should you fail at them.  When the consequences are so crucial, the cost vs benefit is just not there.  Especially when it involves “Life Safety”.  If your power goes out are you going to climb the pole out by the street and work on your high lines or transformer?  Of course not!  You could die!  You call the power company.  If you’re experiencing chest pain are you going to Google “heart attack treatments” then shock yourself at home with a defibrillator?  No way!  You’re not qualified for that.  You’ll go to the emergency room.  These are immediate, and in these exact cases, imminent threats to your life safety.  These seem like no brainers right?

What about other life safety concerns though?  No one thinks their house is going to catch fire, right?  Just like no one plans on a heart attack.  The fact of the matter is that home fires are a very real and much more common threat than we think.

“U.S. fire departments respond to an average of one home fire every 86 seconds. Between 2011 and 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 358,500 home structure fires per year.  These fires caused 12,300 civilian injuries, 2,510 civilian deaths and $6.7 Billion in direct damage.”  – NFPA.org

Carbon Monoxide and burglaries/home invasion pose a risk to our life safety as well.  So why would a homeowner with no training or licensing attempt to design or install a system that monitors burglar alarm, smoke detection, carbon monoxide, etc.?  Are you confident that an instruction sheet from SimpliSafe, advice from a kid working at Best Buy or a YouTube video qualifies you to install a smoke detector properly in your home?

  • Do you know the difference between Ionic and Photoelectric Smoke Detectors?
  • Do you know where to place the smoke detectors?
  • How do you protect the attic from fire?
  • Is it ok to put smoke detectors in the garage?
  • How many smoke detectors do you need?
  • Do need need a certain amount of smoke detectors to meet occupancy codes in TN?
  • Are certain smoke detectors illegal to monitor with a central station?
  • How far away does a smoke detector need to be from a vent or air return?
  • Do bedrooms require smoke detectors?
  • Can you put a smoke detector in a bathroom?
  • Are smoke detectors required near stairways?

And the same level of crucial considerations are required for burglar alarm equipment, carbon monoxide detectors and surveillance cameras.

These are just a few of the questions that CSS Alarms and Services assesses with every monitored life safety system that we design and install.  If you answered incorrectly on one or more of these questions, what is the consequence?  If your source for information (Google, YouTube, or your brother-in-law who thinks he knows everything about everything) gets one or more of these questions wrong, what is the consequence?

If the consequence is an out of hand fire, bodily injury, catastrophic damage/loss or death, we challenge you to really look at the cost vs benefit of hiring a licensed and trained professional for your home’s life safety and security.  I tell clients all of the time “It’s not a cheeseburger – it’s life safety.”  Save money elsewhere – where the stakes aren’t so high.  Let the pros take care of life safety concerns and rest assured knowing that they are licensed and well trained, just like you are, in your career.  So cut your own grass, iron your own slacks, pressure wash your driveway, detail your car, make your own coffee, grill your own cheeseburgers, change your own oil, hell paint your whole house if you have the time!

But when it comes to home security systems and alarm monitoring in Nashville, LIFE SAFETY matters (alarm, smoke, carbon monoxide and cameras) call CSS Alarms and Services.  You’ve got too much riding on it.