Three Important Features An Alarm System Should Have

Summer has finally arrived here in the Pacific Northwest and promises to deliver some very hot days. This is a time when we can’t seem to open enough doors and windows for any cooling breeze. Keep in mind that criminals know this and see our properties as easier targets.  It is also a time when those of us that have alarm systems tend to use them less or even forget to use them.

In fact security experts I speak with are quite consistent when it comes to the following statements:

  • People will only install a residential alarm system after something bad has happened to them or a neighbor.
  • Within about six months of installation complacency begins to set in and people eventually stop using the system altogether.
  • Many system owners say they don’t even remember the code by which to arm and disarm their systems.

This might be a good time to evaluate your current system and usage patterns.

Here are some important features that Jim Payne, Vice President of Verisafe, a security system provider here in the Pacific Northwest, described to me in a recent meeting:

  • Daily Contact Check– Make sure that your system reports in to your monitoring center at least once a day, whether it’s used or not.  This assures that the communication link between your home and monitoring center is still intact.  Also, be sure to contact your alarm provider if you change phone providers as this could affect the ability for your system to work effectively.
  • Usage Monitoring -Make sure that your system actually reports to your monitoring center when you leave the home and turn the system on.  This allows a professional monitoring center to assure that the system is being used and alert you if there appears to be a problem.
  • Triple Path Communication ”“ Most systems rely strictly on your home telephone line to communicate with the monitoring center. If your line gets cut or is down for any reason the system cannot communicate.  A switch to voice over IP  (VoIP) phone service could also have a dramatic effect.  “Triple path communication” allows a system to operate without a phone line.  It can be set to communicate through the internet, GMS cellular network or send SMS text messages if signal is very weak.  If one path is down the alternative paths can be used.

In closing, ask yourself how you would go about breaking into your own home? This will help you better understand the mindset of a criminal and the weaknesses they are looking to exploit. Don’t make assumptions either. Burglars will go to great lengths to find their way in like using ladders to access second story patios, or taking the remote from a vehicle parked outside and using it access the home via the garage.

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