What is a Monitored Alarm System?
15 January 2018

What is a Monitored Alarm System?


Discover the benefits of having your Intruder Alarm system monitored, and learn about how it works.

When shopping around for an alarm system for your home or business, there are many different products and features to weigh up. So, like the process of choosing any other professional service, it is very important to do some research before deciding on where to go for advice.
 

I'm looking for advice on Security Alarm systems - who can help me?


First of all, it is highly recommended to seek the advice of an accredited security system installer, who will be able to help you choose an alarm system that will best suit your individual needs. As well as receiving a professional installation from qualified engineers, your system purchase should come with the recommendation of a Service Contract with annual maintenance, and the option of whether you want the system to be monitored.

NSI Gold


Whilst looking for a local or national company to contact, a good thing to look out for is whether or not they are National Security Inspectorate (NSI) accredited, and ideally recognised to Gold standard. They should offer you a free, no-obligation quote and the opportunity to arrange a security survey visit from an experienced security advisor. 'DIY' security products are available off the shelf, however you should note that these products require self-installation and typically do not meet the standards required by insurance companies.


Helping specify the right system for you


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During your survey visit, your advisor will assess your property, its layout and potential risk. You will also have the opportunity to discuss the options available and any specific security concerns you may have. In order to help choose the most suitable combination of products and services, you may be asked some of the following questions, which are all key to identifying the best system for your needs:

• Do you want your alarm to be monitored?
• Do you want your alarm system installation to be wired or wireless?
• How do you want to use the alarm?
• Do you want to set the alarm at night?
• Do you want to use key fobs/tags?
• Do you have any pets?

Your advisor will take your answers to the questions above into consideration, and come back to you with a quote for the recommended system, installation and ongoing maintenance.


So, what exactly is a monitored alarm system?


Having your alarm monitored means the status of your system is monitored 24/7 by a professional and approved Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). Monitored alarms are designed to ensure you are alerted to the first sign of an intrusion or fire.


What are the benefits of a monitored alarm system?


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Choosing to have your alarm system monitored is the most effective way of reducing the risk to your property.

Monitoring ensures that your property is linked to the outside world. Without this link, the property is effectively ‘on its own’ and relying solely on the alarm's external sounders to alert a neighbour or someone passing. Having a secure connection to an Alarm Receiving Centre means there will be someone watching over it for you at all times. Once your property is linked, it will ensure activations are responded to by you, your appointed Keyholders, or even better a professional Keyholding and Alarm Response company.

• Peace of mind - Having someone to keep an eye on your property, even when you're not there.
24-hour response - ARCs are continually staffed 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
• Immediate notification - Learn about an activation within seconds. There's no quicker way to become aware of a potential intrusion or fire.

The cost of a monitoring service can vary depending on the Grade of your system and the communications device chosen, however the cost usually works out at the equivalent of just a few pounds per day. Your advisor will be able to explain the costs involved and the most suitable solution for your budget.


How does a monitored alarm system work?


If the alarm is triggered, it will send a signal to the ARC. This is done via a communications device connected to the alarm's control panel. The communications device will send the signal using a connected phone line, IP network or mobile device. There are different options depending on the level of response you require and your preference.

If the alarm system is triggered/activated...
The ARC will receive immediate notification allowing them to initiate the appropriate response. This will include:

• Contacting you
• Contacting your nominated keyholders (people chosen by you to deal with alarm activations)
• Contacting the Police (if you have purchased a Police response package)

Monitoring daily alarm activity...
The ARC keep a record of all alarm activity including when the system is set or unset. This includes monitoring:

• When the system is set
• When the system is unset
• Tamper alerts
• Communication faults e.g. a phone line fail/cut

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Does responding to an alarm put me in danger?


The task of responding to an alarm activation does present a level of risk to anyone attending the property. When you arrive at the property, firstly undertake a visual risk assessment (have windows been forced; is there a suspicious car/person nearby; are there lights on in the building that should not be?). If you are satisfied that the property is safe to enter, go into the building, straight to the alarm keypad and enter your code. The alarm keypad will give you some indication as to which detector(s) caused the alarm (refer to the alarm system user guide for this process).

Whilst it may seem like the property is empty, there is still the potential that an intruder could be encountered. Remain vigilant and call the Police immediately if you feel unsafe or you notice anything suspicious.

We do recommend employing the services of a Keyholding and Alarm Response company to attend alarm activations on your behalf. These are professional people who are trained on attending properties in the event of an alarm being triggered. This also removes the risk to you and anyone you have entrusted as a keyholder, such as family members or friends.


Do I need Police response?


Police response offers a quick method of informing the Police in the event of a confirmed intruder alarm activation. A confirmed activation means that two individual devices on your system (e.g. two movement detectors) have been triggered in quick succession (usually a 30 minute window), indicating an intruder may be present. This sequential process is in place to reduce the amount of false alarms caused by single devices continually triggering the alarm, often due to human error or a fault. Any signals of this kind received by the Alarm Receiving Centre are known as unconfirmed activations and are no longer accepted by the Police to warrant a response.

Your need for a Police response to your monitored alarm system depends on your level of risk, the specification of your system and individual circumstances. An advisor is well-placed to advise you on the benefits and requirements of a Police response.

You can have Police response to both the Intruder Alarm activation, but also the Panic Alarm. Some domestic customers have Keyholder response to their Intruder Alarm but have Police response to Panic Alarms - perhaps the best of both worlds. The costs for Police response are negligible.

Police response includes the allocation of a Unique Reference Number (URN), which is used by the force to identify your property in the event of a call.


Monitored Alarm Systems from Allcooper


If you would like to arrange a free of charge survey visit and quote for a monitored alarm system, Allcooper can provide this service for you. We have over 30 years' experience of installing and maintaining security alarms for homes and businesses of all sizes.

Contact us today by calling 01452 372626 (option. 3) or click here to send us your enquiry by email.

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