If you’ve got an Amazon Echo, it can now double as a secondary alert system for fires and break-ins.

Amazon is introducing a new feature in the U.S. called Alexa Guard, which will notify you with audio and video clips whenever it detects your smoke alarm or the sound of broken glass.

Image: AP Images


To enable the feature, you have to go to the settings menu in the Alexa app and select Guard. After that’s done, you’ll still have to say “Alexa, I’m leaving,” every time you leave the house, in order to trigger the device’s Away mode.

Once enabled, your Echo device will listen for smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and breaking glass. If those noises are detected, it’ll send an alert to your smartphone and you can choose to either listen to a 10-second audio clip, or if your Echo has a camera, peek in on what’s happening. If you have Ring or ADT Pulse security systems, you can also hook up your Echo to these services to forward any smart alerts.

It’s important to note that this is not a security system. Even if Alexa detects a fire or robber in your home, Amazon’s FAQ explicitly states it is “not a replacement for an alarm system or life safety device and cannot contact emergency services, such as the police or fire department, on your behalf.” And seeing as all Echo devices don’t have batteries and rely on the cloud, the feature won’t work if your internet is down or the power goes out.