10:57PM | 11/13/07
Member Since: 01/18/06
21 lifetime posts
Bringing up the subject of alarm monitoring quite often generates repugnant responses like, "Why should I pay monthly monitoring fees when the burglar is gone before the police arrive" or "I'm going to stick with my local alarm (not monitored) because I have great neighbors who will respond if needed".

Amazingly there might be some truth to these statements if you're unaware of the types of monitoring available or if you live in a neighborhood of proactive people who make it their mission to investigate every audible alarm that rings through the day or night.

But if you live in an average neighborhood, the truth of the matter is most people have " It's just another false alarm" attitude about screeching home alarm systems. So if you're teetering on whether or not to pay for alarm monitoring lets have a look at the facts.

In a standard alarm monitoring contract, the monitoring station is alerted via the telephone when your alarm is activated. After receiving the distress call, the station will first phone your home and then a list of contacts supplied by you the homeowner.

The reason for phoning your home first, is in hopes you may have inadvertently set the system off my mistake. If this is the case, once the monitoring company contacts you, you will have to give a confidential code word or password to the dispatcher. Obviously if a burglar set off your alarm, he or she will not answer the phone and certainly will not know your password. Once the monitoring station has determined it's a break and enter, the police are dispatched and a contact is informed.

So what about police response times? What if it takes an hour or longer for the police to arrive at your home? We must consider our police officers are dispatched on a priority basis.Obviously if there are more serious policing issues to address on the day or night of your home break-in, it might take a while for the police to attend.

In recognizing that fact, there is an option for you as a home-owner to get quick response to your home violation. Did you know there are Guard Response Services available through many alarm companies? Once your alarm is triggered, the monitoring centre will immediately dispatch a qualified security officer to investigate.

These qualified security officers are trained to make a proper assessment of the situation, notify police if necessary, and prepare a written report for the home-owner. This service not only provides quick response to your home in the event of a break-in, it also reduces the risk of exposing your contact people to potentially dangerous situations.

But keep in mind most home monitoring contracts require the homeowner to maintain and repair their burglar alarm system as to prevent false alarms. Contracts may also state that the customer will be charged for any extra time over and above the allotted for an exterior and/or interior check, remaining on the site awaiting police arrival or remaining on the site to secure the premise from damage.These types of extra fees are usually determined on an hourly basis.

So before you make a decision on whether or not to monitor your home alarm system make sure you discuss all the options with your alarm representative.

Frank Fourchalk

Security Consultant/Columnist


02:23AM | 04/25/12
Member Since: 04/19/12
4 lifetime posts
I definitely think an alarm service is worth it for peace of mind and knowing that there is some security for your family. It's hard to determine the best system though.
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