Alarm FAQ’s

Q : Why should I buy an alarm system?

A : Alarm systems are an effective tool when used in conjunction with other crime prevention measures. They are a visual as well as an actual deterrent. Independent studies indicate that premises with an alarm system are many times less likely to be burglarized than premises without an alarm system.

Q : Can I still have pets in the house and use my alarm system?

A : Yes, but with certain restrictions! Animals and motion sensors and/or under carpet mats do not mix.

Most people that have pets must take extra care when “arming” their alarm systems!

You must make sure that all pets are relegated to a portion of the premises that has no burglary protection.

Or, you could have the motion sensors and/or under carpet mats “by-passed” out of the alarm system in the areas where the pets roam freely before it is “armed.” Or, your security dealer can design a “Pet Alley” into your system, which provides certain “clearance levels” in which the pet can move about within the motion device’s protection area.

Q : Can my alarm system be configured to let the central monitoring station know if the system is “On” or “Off”?

A : That type of functionality - “Opening” and “Closing” notification - needs to be specifically programmed by your security specialist at the control panel for the alarm system to operate in this manner. If this feature can be enabled, the Central Monitoring Station will then be alerted every time your alarm system is turned “on” or “off.” This feature is often enabled for commercial properties.

If you want to have this extra security, it should be brought to the attention of your alarm dealer. He or she will review the capabilities of your control panel and see if your alarm system can be programmed accordingly.

Q : Can the central monitoring station shut off my alarm system from their location?

A : No! Generally, the Central Monitoring Station has no control over your alarm system. It can be “armed” and “disarmed” only from your premises by an authorized user.

Q : Can the central monitoring station tell if my alarm system is "Armed" (ON) or "Disarmed" (OFF)?

A : Not usually! The Central Monitoring Station normally cannot tell if your alarm system is “armed” or “disarmed.” It is only alerted, if any alarm activation has occurred. If you fail to turn your system on before leaving the property, and an intrusion occurs, the Central Monitoring Station will not be aware of this emergency situation.

Therefore, it is very important you make sure when leaving the premises, that your alarm system is “armed” and that all necessary security precautions have been observed ahead of time.

Q : Can the central monitoring station tell if my alarm system is non-operational?

A : No! If for any reason, your alarm control panel ceases to function, or if your telephone lines fail, the Central Monitoring Station will not be aware of it - nor will it be able to receive your emergency alarm transmissions.

That’s why it is an excellent idea to do the following:

  • Have all increments of your alarm system tested professionally at least once a year.
  • You should test the functionality of your alarm system yourself at frequent intervals during the year - always remembering to call the Central Monitoring Station beforehand!
  • Always test your alarm system after any major electrical storm or significant power outage.
  • Optimally, have your alarm system send an automatic daily Scheduled Test code to the Central Monitoring Station. This can be arranged through the alarm dealer. Then, the monitoring facility will be alerted on a scheduled basis, if the alarm system or the telephone lines are non-operational.

Q : How does the central monitoring station know where the alarm is coming from?

A : The Central Monitoring Station has state-of-the-art alarm receiving equipment and automated alarm monitoring computers, which gather, organize and process a vast array of information. These high-tech devices acknowledge and identify all the alarm codes they receive as soon as the signals come into the control room. Within seconds the automated alarm monitoring computers interpret these codes and can instantly translate this data into:

  • The time and date the alarm is received.
  • The account number of the client.
  • The name and telephone number of the client.
  • The location of the property.
  • The type of alarm code.
  • The names & telephone numbers of the emergency responding agencies.
  • The names and telephone numbers of the key holders, directions to the premises, special comments, special procedures and other such dat

Q : What does the central monitoring station do after it receives an alarm code?

A : As soon as the Central Monitoring Station receives your emergency alarm signal, the following should happen:

  • Your property is called - if applicable!
  • Please answer your phone and stay as calm as possible.
  • Please be ready with your passcode, abort code, or password.
  • If there is no answer, or if an incorrect identification code is given, the security dispatcher immediately dispatches the appropriate emergency responding agencies - following all specific, pre-defined instructions.
  • If there is an emergency at your premises, be assured that help will be dispatched immediately.

Q : What happens after the emergency responding agency has been contacted?

A : All personnel at the Central Monitoring Station will continue to work diligently until the alarm condition is brought to a satisfactory conclusion - thus preserving the well being of the customer and safeguarding the integrity of the property. After dispatching the emergency responding agency, the security dispatcher will:

  • Contact the key holders to respond to the property and to let the emergency responding agents into the building.
  • Advise the emergency authorities, if no key holders are available to respond.
  • Tend to all follow-up Procedures – such as contacting any other designated person(s).

Q : What happens if my "Silent Duress" or "Hold-up" alarm is tripped by mistake?

A : If a "silent duress" or "hold-up" alarm is tripped by mistake, the procedures listed below are used - unless the client informs the Central Monitoring Station in writing that other procedures are to be followed.

  • The Central Monitoring Station will call the police immediately.
  • If the activation is accidental, it is imperative that you contact the Central Monitoring Station at once.
  • Identify yourself by giving your name and customer identification or abort code. This will halt any further action taken by the Central Monitoring Station.
  • Reset the alarm system.
  • Please do not leave the property without first speaking to the Central Monitoring Station.
  • If the Central Monitoring Station operator is instructed to call you first, please answer the phone immediately! The security dispatcher will identify him or herself and ask you for your customer identification.
  • If the telephone is not answered promptly, or if the proper customer identification is not given, the authorities will respond to the premises.

Q : What procedure of customer identification does the central monitoring station use for the purposes of security?

A : Before your alarm system is connected to the Central Monitoring Station, you will be given a customer identification code number or you may chose a code word. This serves several security functions:

  • Your customer identification code is used to identify you to the Central Monitoring Station at the time of an alarm activation and also is used to abort any emergency dispatches.
  • Your customer identification code indicates to the Central Monitoring Station personnel that you are not under duress of any kind. The customer identification code should be supplied to the security dispatcher only in the event of a false alarm. Do not give the abort code to the security dispatcher, if you are in any jeopardy!
  • Your customer identification code is used to identify those persons designated and authorized by you to be at the property. This will confirm to the Central Monitoring Station that the person they are speaking with at your property is supposed to be there.
  • Your customer identification code is used to identify any person who calls the Central Monitoring Station and attempts to change any customer information, receive any customer Information, or place any account on “Test/By-pass”.

Q : Will my alarm system be directly connected to the police department or the fire department?

A : No! Most municipal emergency departments have disbanded their monitoring capabilities. The day-to-day handling of false alarms, service related issues, customer questions and similar topics related to monitoring were requiring more time than over-extended departments could afford to provide. Consequently, a professional Central Monitoring Station, whose sole function is to handle all of your alarm-related needs, will monitor your alarm system.