LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) -- With the number of fires in vacant homes on the rise, local hardware hackers believe they've come up with a new alarm system known as CASPER that could help you out of the line of fire.
For his entire life George Palmer has called 41st Street home.
“There’s a lot of good folks here,” Palmer said.
However, since he was a kid Palmer has been forced to look at these vacant homes next door.
“It just brings an unwanted crowd,” Palmer said. “I don’t know if they’re going to be playing with fire. Some people do things that aren’t the best decisions. If that house burns down my house is going to be in danger.”
With nearly 8,000 vacant homes in Louisville city leaders are searching for a solution to improve safety and hardware hacker Nathan Armentrout believes he has found the answer.
“The big idea was if we went into the smoke detector and changed how it worked then we would change the reliability of it. So that’s a non-starter,” said Armentrout. “We had to create a device that’s completely separate.”
Just like in your home if a fire is detected the fire alarm will go off.
That fire alarm then sends a signal to this solar powered cellular device which notifies the developers, the city and neighbors potentially savings lives and your property.
“Fire grows exponentially,” Maj. Brian Meurer of Louisville Metro Fire Department said. “Seconds really do matter. The longer that a vacant home is burning, the harder it is to put out.”
Since the CASPER device typically gives a response within 60 seconds it allows people like Palmer to sleep a little easier at night.
“It brightens my day just to know that we can do something,” Palmer said. “The way that you fix a neighborhood or a community is one household at a time, one neighborhood at a time. We can do it here.”
The CASPER device costs about $150 to $170 upfront, and then $10 a month to operate. For now the city is piloting nine CASPER devices before deciding how to move forward.