Best practices for Emergency

Looking to see what others are doing for emergency smart home responses.

For instance, Smart Home Monitor can react to smoke/CO detection with simple responses (unlock doors, sound sirens, turn on lights, send text message, push notification) but it needs a specific list of devices and actions, but no complex logic such as setting modes, running routines or scenes.

I also have:

  • An “Emergency” mode that gets enabled by routines on smoke/CO detectors.
  • Routines that trigger off the change to emergency mode to
    – turn on all interior and exterior lights.
    – turn off heating/air conditioning
    – turn off ceiling fans
  • Any leak sensor trigger sends push notifications

When running emergency tests where the hub is disconnected from the internet, it seems that the only thing that doesn’t run local is cloud based devices (DTH/C2C, to be expected), push notifications/SMS and scenes. I didn’t realize scenes currently require the cloud even if all devices in the scene are local.

What rules/logic have you created to help protect your family or property?

1 Like

I don’t use smartthings for anything related to emergencies. I follow UL best practices for anything that might affect health, life and death situations, or major property loss. Meaning it has to have a battery back up and it has to have its own cellular communications. And it can’t require the cloud at all.

BTW, smartthings agrees on this: the terms of service that everyone agrees to when they first set up an account tell you not to use smartthings for these same conditions.

So industry standard best practices would be to use another system for these kind of use cases, and use SmartThings for convenience use cases. But obviously that’s up to you.

As long as you’re aware that the app won’t work at all without the cloud, and that includes all notifications, it’s your decision. :thinking:


There is a how to article in the forum on planning for power outages. Some of it is out of date because more stuff now runs locally, but it might give you some more things to think about.

How to: Planning for Outages

For example, if you are using the system to control lights, do you have a manual alternative so that if the system is down, you can still turn lights on and off? Or even just if a different individual device or motion sensor stops working?

At our house because voice is so important to me (I’m quadriparetic) we have a pathway from my bedroom to the front door of lights that can be voice controlled locally from Alexa. No cloud required. These are all Zigbee switches connected directly to an echo.

One of the best places to use either zwave direct association or Zigbee binding, for example, is when you have stairs with a light switch at both the top and the bottom, and you want the accessory switch to control the master, even if the cloud is unavailable, or if the hub itself dies. (Lutron can also do this) True, you still need power for those, but at least you don’t need the cloud.

Another good use for these kinds of options is having the ability to turn a siren off if the app isn’t working.

1 Like

My use of SmartThings is in addition to UL listed emergency systems already in place. Separate smokes/CO with battery backup, fire ladders for window access, battery backup on critical systems separate from any smart home equipment.

The smart home features are more to provide additional assistance. In a fire, turning all the lights on can’t hurt, so why not add the logic.


Can you change the security mode without the Internet? You didn’t used to be able to, but they may have changed that. So from armed to disarmed or vice a versa.

Don’t know. I don’t have my security system integrated. Its separate.

Edit: If you add “change security mode to unarmed” in a routine, it becomes non-local. So I would guess this is still a cloud only function.


Yeah, that’s always been a fun one. Not. :rage:

You (or a family member), arrive home, but the security system doesn’t automatically disarm because the Internet is out, but everything else is fine. The siren that you so cleverly hid in the attic so burglars couldn’t get to it is going off, and you have no way to stop it.

So planning for emergencies means having a way to turn the siren off if the app isn’t working and you can’t disarm STHM. :thinking:

omg! I have had several times where LOTS of sirens went off and they werent easily accessible to turn off. by the time i got them all off i had one hell of a splitting headache!!! NOW i have a kill button!!! LOL


So even after the transition, will scenes still require the cloud, or will that get changed to local?