Making smoke alarms smart enough to detect a fire before it begins

Caring for the lives of your buildings’ occupants is your number one priority. Since you can’t predict when a fire might occur and threaten those lives, preemptive smoke alarms are your best defense against the event of a fire.

If you’ve never expected what it is like to recover from a fire, consider yourself lucky. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), over 100,000 fires broke out in the US, permanently injuring 1,425 civilians, killing 90 others, and causing $7 billion in property damage. Mitigate these risks with a smoke alarm.

Fire alarm systems save thousands of lives every year. This is the number one reason fire alarms should not be neglected; they ensure that customers, employees, and tenants are all tipped off to evacuate and escape from the fire. A combination of smoke and heat detectors, sirens and bells, and strobe lights signals warns the occupants of fire; it gives them enough time to evacuate the premises orderly.

Though sirens and strobe lights do not put off fires, fire alarms can mitigate property loss by alerting the people who can do so. Fire alarm systems automatically warn everyone that a fire has broken out. Thus, bystanders, guests, or employees inside the premises can respond quickly. Trained personnel may exhaust the fire with fire extinguishers, or other occupants can notify emergency responders to send in a team. Fire alarms can also trigger the fire sprinkler system automatically.

Most insurance companies offer discounted rates on business insurance policy premiums if the building is equipped with a code-compliant fire alarm system. Also, noncompliance with the rules and regulations of fire safety can be charged with penalties and fines.

One of the best firms for preemptive smoke alarms is SAAM Inc., a company dedicated to improving the global population’s health and safety by designing and implementing affordable air quality, smoke, fire, and gas monitoring devices. Its next-gen S-Series technology will save lives by preemptively alerting to hazardous conditions and will help enhance indoor air quality by informing occupants of crucial air quality factors. These three-in-one devices eliminate the need for multiple detection devices while providing a more comprehensive and cost-effective solution to in-home health and safety.

In conversation with Rob Qualls, Erik Deutsch, Gregory Stewart, and Phil McCormack— Co-Founders of SAAM Inc.

Why was the company originated, and how far-reaching is it today?

SAAM (Spectral Analytical Air Monitoring) evolved from a company called Sentelligence, which specialized in NDIR diagnostic sensor technology for diesel engines. One of the technologies we developed, the Ambient Air Monitor, was initially designed to determine the quality of Natural Gas in engines. We discovered that this technology could detect chemical changes in the air specific to smoke, fire, and gas. So, with this discovery, we began building the infrastructure, including an engineering team, to adapt the technology to consumer safety.

How is SAAM a life-saving weapon?

The SAAM S-Series detects trace elements of chemical changes in the air indicative of smoke, fire, or gas. Pre-emptively alerting occupants by audible sound and remotely via a smart device allows time to evacuate before a potentially catastrophic event. The SAAM S-Series not only alerts occupants but also recommends a course of action based on the event’s seriousness. In independent comparative lab testing, the SAAM S-Series alerted to smoke, fire, and gas leaks up to 400% faster than the leading smoke detection devices. The SAAM S-Series was also tested at a tier-one fire test facility, a facility that replicates the Underwriters Laboratory Fire Test facility, and the SAAM S-Series met or exceeded expectations.

How has SAAM utilized technology for the best?

Current smoke alarm technology is 50-70 years old. The most prevalent smoke alarm technology in 95% of US homes today is the 70-year-old ionization technology, which is not designed to detect a smoldering fire, which is more prevalent today because of the synthetic materials constructed-in home furnishings and structures. Seventy years ago, our homes and furnishings were made of natural materials, not today; today, most of the materials

are made of synthetics, which, when smoking, emit hydrogen cyanide, a gas that can kill you in seconds. We detect hydrogen cyanide in trace elements before the gas becomes a danger. Thirty years ago, you had an average of 17-minutes to evacuate once an alarm sounds; today, you have less than 3-minutes to evacuate once an alarm sounds and if it sounds. UL (Underwriters Laboratory) will implement the first smoke alarm standards changes in 30 years, rendering current technology in 95% of US homes obsolete. UL has attempted to implement these new standards since 2019 without success because there is no new technology. Now there is with the SAAM S-Series. With our patented technology, we are confident of meeting the new standards.

SAAM also has a highly talented engineering team whose commitment and dedication to excellence in product development have allowed us to take the SAAM

S-Series from a concept to reality in record time. SAAM is very fortunate to have this team of experienced and knowledgeable engineers.

What are the perks of Sensor Fusion?

The SAAM “Sensor Fusion” Patent, issued in May of this year, incorporates technology that allows the S-Series to expand its capabilities beyond smoke, fire, and gas detection and will detect allergens in the air with a pollutant alert. The EPA states that indoor pollutants can be 2-5 times higher than outdoor pollutants; the SAAM S-Series will continuously monitor the air providing real-time data on air quality in the home and alerting with a recommended action for excessive levels of allergens and pollutants in the air.

How does air quality technology, help families?

The SAAM S-Series continuously monitors the air measuring

for trace elements of changes indicative of smoke, fire, and gas leaks. The system also measures the air quality, measuring for allergens such as pollen, dust mites, dander, etc., providing the consumer with a real-time indicator of air quality. The SAAM S-Series also comes in the form of a portable device, the SP4. The SP4 device can travel, sit on a table, and has an intake fan, so it continuously monitors the air providing the same protection as the ceiling-mounted SC4. The SP4 evolved from conversations with parents who lost children while away at college, an exchange student studying abroad, living in facilities with no fire technology protection, or antiquated fire protection. The SP4 is designed to enhance current smoke alarm technology, not replace existing technology. You can take it with you on vacation, on a business trip, or send it away with your children as they attend college or travel abroad.

Brief us about a complicated project that you got through successfully.

A few years ago, SAAM designed a Urea (DEF) Quality Sensor

for diesel engines using NDIR technology. This technology became one of the best-selling Urea Quality Sensors in the world through an exclusive license agreement granted

to Measurement Specialties, a company acquired by TE Connectivity (formerly Tyco Electronics).

Do you have any expansion plans?

SAAM has partnered with a global tier-one company to expand our global footprint. This tier-one is a pioneer in smoke alarm technology and has manufacturing capabilities here in the USA with a global sales and distribution presence.

The leadership team at the forefront of SAAM Inc.

Rob Qualls is the Co-Founder of SAAM Inc. Mr. Qualls has 40 years of experience in marketing, Sales, and General Management in the Global OEM/Aftermarket industry related to advanced technology. Rob has held executive positions with Fortune 500 companies and start-ups, such as Vice President of Marketing for HighwayMaster, Director of Marketing for Pacific-Dunlop/GNB, and Marketing Manager for General Battery.

Erik Deutsch, Ph.D., is the Co-Founder of SAAM Inc. Dr. Deutsch is a senior engineering executive, entrepreneur, and recognized expert in QCL, MEMS, FTIR, and spectroscopy. He brings over 20 years of experience leading the strategic development of diverse new and existing technologies and bringing disruptive handheld and miniature spectroscopy products to market. Dr. Deutsch received his SM and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT,focusing on MEMS and Optics.

Gregory Stewart is the Co-Founder of SAAM Inc. Mr. Stewart has extensive experience in global operations, managing large P&L businesses at Fortune 500 companies. Inclusive of that experience is 12 years of running Asia Pacific companies while residing as an Expat in China and Singapore. Before that, he was a graduate of GE’s Technical Leadership Program. Additionally, Greg has a strong background in managing LCC sourcing organizations while residing in Asia.

Phil McCormack is the Co-Founder of SAAM Inc. Mr. McCormack is a seasoned executive with extensive experience in finance, M&A, and executive management. Phil is currently a Board Director with four companies, including an ASX-listed company. His previous experience includes National Australia Bank, Accenture, and Fujitsu, where he was the International Head of M&A. Phil has been involved in over 100 M&A buy and sell transactions across the globe, including Europe, China, USA, Latin America, and Australia.

Joe Huehnerhoffis the Chief Technology Officer of SAAM Inc. Mr. Huehnerhoff has an extensive background in systems engineering of complex spectroscopic and imaging solutions. Joe brings his experience in product development, specifically optical, mechanical, and electrical integration of systems for hyperspectral reflectance Raman imaging and spectroscopy systems. Mr. Huehnerhoff was a Physics Research Fellow

at Harvard University.

Sibu Janardhanan is the Chief Operations Officer of SAAM Inc. With over 20 years of experience, Mr. Janardhanan has an extensive background in commercial leadership, finance, operations, strategic planning, and executive management with companies such as GE, Rexel, and ENGIE SA. Sibu was formerly Senior Vice President of EVBox, a global leader in electric vehicle charging stations. BeforeEVBox, Mr. Janardhanan served as Vice President of Energy Solutions with Gexpro managing a $225M P&L.

Jay Booth is the Director of Software and AI at SAAM Inc. Mr. Booth is an experienced and versatile software engineer with over 15 years of experience working on embedded systems, UI/UX Software, and Cloud IoT interfaces with a focus on software and algorithms for spectroscopic and handheld instruments. Previous experience includes working at Polychromix, Thermo-Fisher Scientific, Rigaku, and Hindsight Imaging. Jason received his BA in Computer Software Engineering from Boston University.

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