A smart home can protect you from an unwanted intrusion, but how else can it protect your home? According to the most recent full-year statistics from the National Fire Protection Association, 365,000 home fires caused 12,875 injuries and 2,380 casualties in 2012, leading to $5.7 billion in damages.

How Z-Wave saves the day

While traditional smoke detectors can go a long way toward stopping fires and helping building residents get to safety when a blaze begins, their functionality can be greatly enhanced with Z-Wave. In particular, many Z-Wave-enabled smart smoke alarms include functionality that sends out alerts whenever smoke or excess heat is detected. While a more traditional smoke detector sounds an alarm, that feature is only good if someone is inside to hear it. With Z-Wave on your side, you can know about a fire or smoke hazard while you are away from home, thus allowing you to spring into action to save your residence even while at work or running errands or even on vacation.

The interoperability benefits of Z-Wave are especially key in fighting home fires; multiple components in the home - including a smoke detector, carbon dioxide monitoring and carbon monoxide alarm, for example - can all be included within one smart home network even if each component is made by a different manufacturer, as long as all are Z-Wave certified.

One key benefit of how such a system could work to prevent fires is that each of the three alarms described above could work in tandem to provide homeowners and firefighters a more complete picture of what's happening inside a particular residence. While information collected from one node may not mean much on its own, that data may be more powerful if combined with readings from the other two detectors. Throw a Z-Wave-enabled home security camera into the mix here as well, and the ability to detect a fire before it gets out of hand goes up even higher.

Stopping fires before they start

The benefits Z-Wave provides in regard to fire prevention extends beyond just smoke detectors and alarms, as the home automation standard can also often stop blazes before they even get going. According to statistics cited by ABC affiliate KNXV, some of the leading causes of home fires include cooking and heating equipment, electrical and lighting components and washing machines and dishwashers. Combined, these three sources account for approximately 69 percent of all house fires.

With Z-Wave in place, however, these potential fire starters can become non-issues. If any of these appliances are connected to your smart home network, then the appliance can be turned off remotely the instant it appears as though it may lead to a fire or another complication. This way, minor problems do not escalate into major loss situations.

Fires remain an unfortunate threat to life and property today, but the potential problem they pose can be effectively mitigated with a Z-Wave-enabled smart home.