It has often been said that an Englishmans home is his castle, and to that end there is nothing more important to the majority of homeowners than the security of that ‘castle’. These days, there are numerous options available when it comes to and home security alarm companies, but where do you start. Here are some tips to help you on your way in selecting one with confidence.
Home security systems are not solely hardware, although that is important of course. A key component of the overall package is the company and people that support the system.
Most home security burglar alarm companies are professionals who only employ dedicated, trained personnel. However, it is not always easy to know whether you are dealing with an experienced individual or a newcomer. Do a little homework and try to find out about hiring practices.
Some are low paid and becoming a guard can sometimes be accomplished with very little training. Be cautious about those wanna-be police officers. Individuals who repeatedly fail the entrance requirements are sometimes resentful and bitter. Weed out companies that hire them.
This is one time it doesn’t pay to give the benefit of the doubt. Be courteous, but rigorous when asking questions of any prospective alarm system provider. Check with the local police department and the Better Business Bureau and other local organizations.
You’ll also want to find out about their procedures when the alarm is triggered. Everyone hopes it’s a false alarm. Ask how they distinguish those accidental alarms from the real thing. Find out about response times, password procedures and so forth.
Find out about any charges associated with false alarms. Most companies will allow one or two accidents per month, then charge a fee thereafter. This is reasonable, but check the policy. Discuss some scenarios.
Only after you’re confident you’ve selected a company with good personnel and practices, should you investigate hardware.
Alarm systems come in a variety of technologies. For decades, and still today, many window systems consisted of a tape or wire system through which passes an electric current. They typically include magnetic contacts around the door and window frames. When the window is lifted or the door opened, the current is interrupted and the alarm tripped.
Such systems aren’t bad, but a good glass cutter can make them useless. If the intruder doesn’t interrupt the current by opening a door or tearing the tape or wire, no alarm is sounded. Some systems make this difficult by activating if a screen or frame is removed. Ask your company for details.
Newer systems offer several alternative supplemental methods. Infrared or motion detectors, floor pressure and window vibration sensors are some of the devices employed. Some include glass breakage sensors that can detect when the glass is cut or broken.
Ask about the details of how these systems operate from your prospective security company. Many are good at distinguishing false alarms from the real thing, but you want to be sure.
Closed-circuit TV systems are usually available, but at a significantly higher cost. Much of the cost is not the extra hardware but the people behind them. If the owner takes on all monitoring function, the cost is less. If the signal is transmitted to an outside location, the costs are much higher, naturally.
Many systems operate through the phone lines, since they retain electrical power during most outages. Check to find out whether they’re redundantly supported with cellular or radio systems.
Ask about annual or more frequent system testing and maintenance. You want to be sure your system continues to operate over the life of your occupancy. After all, there are lives occupying the home.