Alarm Systems

Why install an alarm system?

The idea of an alarm system is to stop a potential burglary or threat from occurring at your property. A property with an alarm system is less likely to be broken into than a property without an alarm system. The objectives of a burglar are to break in as quickly and as quietly as possible, take whatever valuables the burglar can find, and get out without attracting any attention. A triggered alarm system will bring unwanted attention to a burglar.

How does an alarm system protect your property?

Alarm Systems

A typical alarm system is comprised of motion detectors, smoke detectors, and door/window contacts. When you leave your property, you turn on (arm) your alarm system. While you were out, a burglar tries to break in by forcing a door open. As soon as the burglar opens it, the door contact will activate immediately. An alarm will sound because the outside (perimeter) door and window contacts are considered to be (perimeter protection) the first line of defence. All the outside (perimeter) doors and windows are programmed to activate immediately. If a burglar tries to break in by smashing the glass on the door, the motion detector will activate immediately and an alarm will sound as soon as the burglar enters. It is always a good idea to have interior protection as well as perimeter protection. Not all perimeter doors are activated immediately. The front door or the enter/exit door, for example, is on a time delay to give you time to come in or leave and to turn off/on the alarm system. Smoke detectors are also hooked up to the alarm system. They are activated 24/7, regardless if the alarm system is turned on (armed) or turned off (disarmed).

How to use an alarm system?

There are usually 2 ways (AWAY AND STAY) to turn on (arm) your alarm system. During AWAY mode, the system is fully turned on. The doors, windows, and motion detectors are activated. This mode is usually activated when everyone has gone out. AWAY mode is achieved by entering your code at the touchpad (keypad) and pressing the AWAY button. You will hear a beeping sound from the keypad. This sound indicates the exit time has started and you should be leaving from the (entry/exit) front door. The keypad will stop beeping when the exit time has expired. When you come back property and enter the (entry/exit) front door, the keypad will start beeping again. This sound indicates the entry time has started. You should go to the keypad and turn off (disarm) the alarm system. You need to enter the proper code to disarm the alarm system within the designated time. If you do not disarm the alarm system in time, the siren will sound. If the alarm system is monitored, it will send an alarm signal to the monitoring station. The monitoring station will call and verify the occupants before the alarm is cancelled and the police are not dispatched.You can also arm your alarm system to STAY mode. The system is partially turned on. Doors and windows are activated, but not the motion detectors. This mode is usually activated when someone is still at property sleeping and you are going to work early. After entering your code at the touchpad (keypad) and pressing the STAY button (property/Level 2), you will hear beeping sounds from keypad. This indicates the alarm system is turning on to STAY mode. Some alarm systems automatically decide which mode to be in after you enter your code at the keypad. If you leave from the (entry/exit) front door during the exit delay time, the alarm system will automatically arm to AWAY mode. But if you do not open any entry/exit door during the exit time, the alarm system will automatically arm to STAY mode. At this mode, all the motions are not turned on (bypassed), but the doors and windows are turned on (armed). If someone tries to break in, by forcing open a door or window, the alarm system will sound. You are able to move around inside (perimeter protection) without tripping the alarm system. If you need to open a window to get some fresh air, you can either bypass or turn off that window, or install one extra magnet to have a small opening in that window (see Alarm sensors for detail).

Different Types of Alarm Systems

Local Alarm System

The alarm system only sounds locally at the premise. Response is reliant on someone like a neighbour to contact the police or the property owner. Local alarm systems are suitable for people that are usually at property. Except for the cost of the original alarm system, this type of alarm system is the least expensive.

Monitored Alarm System

The alarm system sounds at the premise and a signal is sent to an alarm monitoring station. The monitoring station will call and verify the occupants before the alarm is cancelled. If no one answers at the premise, the monitoring station will dispatch the police and contact the key holders to meet up with the police to let them in. Monitored alarm systems are suitable for people that are not usually at property (people that are at work, are at school or travel a lot). This system is the most expensive because of the high monthly monitoring fee and the original cost of the alarm system.

Self Monitored Alarm System

The alarm system sounds at the premise and a signal is sent to the property owner. The property owner responds to the alarm signal. There are 2 types of self monitored alarm systems. One type is the alarm system calls the property owner’s cell phone number. The second type is the alarm system sends alarm signals to the monitoring station. The monitoring station then sends detailed text messages to the property owner’s cell phone or email. The property owner knows exactly which alarm zone (door, window, or sensor) was tripped. The property owner will then decide to respond accordingly to the detailed text messages.

The advantages of the second type are:

  1. You can program the panel to send (opening/closing) arming/disarming signals, so you know when your kids leave property and when they come back.
  2. You are able to access your alarm status or history 24/7.
  3. When an alarm occurs, you can decide what measures will be taken. This system would be the most economical because of the minimal monthly monitoring fee and the original cost of the alarm system.

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