An Amazon Echo Show saved this woman's house from burning down

Kayla's house was saved thanks to an alert from her Amazon Echo Show
(Image credit: Amazon)

Earlier this month, Amazon shared a story about a woman by the name of Kayla who used her Amazon Echo Show, Alexa and the Alexa Guard feature to prevent her home from burning down. 

According to her own account of the incident, the woman was out running errands when she got a notification from Alexa about an incident in the house. The alert said that her Amazon Echo device heard the sound of a fire alarm – which was obviously a worrying sign.

Kayla used the drop in feature on her Amazon Echo Show and saw that the room was completely engulfed in smoke. Once she realized what was happening, she quickly called the fire department to respond to the incident and ultimately saved her home from burning down.

“I had no intention of being home for at least two to three more hours,” Kayla told Amazon in a recent recounting of the story. “If it wasn’t for Alexa, we would have never known of the fire until returning home much later … One could only imagine what a few more hours could have done.” 

Amazon Echo Show 8 (2021)

(Image credit: Amazon)

Analysis: Can Alexa replace a security system? 

It makes sense Amazon wants to highlight Kayla’s story – it’s a real-world use-case of the safety features Amazon has been implementing over the last few years.

Alexa Guard is the newest of these features to be implemented, but it holds the most potential as a replacement for more expensive home security systems. Its ability to determine which noises are potentially dangerous (see: fire alarms, broken windows, etc…) give it a distinct advantage over other systems that solely rely on movement to trigger. 

So can Alexa replace traditional security systems? Well, maybe not entirely – but it's on the right track. 

The advantage that traditional security systems have is human moderation. If you shell out for services like ADT and an alarm goes off, you'll get a phone call. If the situation is deemed dangerous, the company can dispatch emergency services – saving you the time and worry of explaining the situation yourself. Adversely, Alexa Guard requires at least some intervention from you, the user. 

The advantage Amazon has, though, is that it's significantly cheaper. The basic version of Alexa Guard is free with every Echo device and will automatically notify you if your device hears something suspicious. There's also Alexa Guard Plus that's a paid service that gives you access to 24/7 help line that can be accessed by saying "Alexa, call for help" that's only around $5 per month.

Ultimately Alexa hasn't proven to be as capable as its human security counterparts – but, as you can see from Kayla's story, it can still save the day when it's needed. 

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.