WHAT SHOULD AN ALARM SYSTEM DO FOR ME?
An alarm system is installed to deter and detect intruders. A basic security system will consist of both perimeter and space protection to secure your premises. The first stage secures vulnerable perimeter access points such as doors and windows; the second stage consists of space detection such as interior motion detectors which monitor movement inside the premises. The level of security you purchase is determined by the number of protective devices and the sophistication of the system you will have installed.
WHAT SHOULD A QUALIFIED COMPANY DO FOR ME?
A qualified company should perform a site inspection and discuss your individual security needs. Each person and premise is unique and the system should be tailored to fit your needs, lifestyle and price range. The company should provide you with professional security system design and a quotation, that was created specifically for your premises.
When comparing companies, be sure to make a true comparison by thoroughly reviewing the number and types of products to be installed. If there is a discrepancy, be sure you understand the impact if will have on the overall level of security you are purchasing.
WHAT IS AN ALARM MONITORING STATION?
Alarm systems can be installed to emit a local alarm using a bell or siren, and they may be connected via a common carrier network (i.e. telephone lines) to a monitoring station which dispatches the appropriate authority (police, fire, medical) when the system transmits a signal. In addition to the police dispatch, a monitored system may also emit a local siren when activated. A local only system does not in itself dispatch police.
In order to receive police response, you must either rely on a neighbour calling the police (in the case of a local system) or you must have the system monitored (24 hours) by a monitoring station. For this service, a nominal monthly fee is paid and can be arranged by your alarm company. Alarm systems cannot be connected directly to any police station.
While a number of alarm companies use third party, out of town, monitoring companies to monitor their accounts, it is by far preferable to use an alarm company that has its own staff to monitor all the systems. These companies are more flexible in customizing your special monitoring requirements.
WHAT SHOULD I ASK MY ALARM COMPANY?
The following questions may be helpful to you as a guideline in your search for a security system. Be an intelligent consumer and continue to ask questions until you understand what you are purchasing and the level of security it will provide. Reputable companies will answer positively to most, if not all, of these questions.
- Is your company a member of the Canadian Alarm & Security Association (CANASA)?
- Will you provide me with a written quotation?
- Will you provide me with a monitoring agreement once the system is installed?
- Is there a written warranty on the equipment and labour?
- Will the system be monitored, what is the cost and who will be doing it?
- May I see proof that your company carries errors and omissions insurance?
- How long have you been in the security alarm business?
- Do you adhere to a false dispatch reduction program?
- Do you offer any protection for pre-paid monitoring?
- Will I own my system or will I only be leasing it?
WHO IS THE CANADIAN ALARM & SECURITY ASSOCIATION (CANASA)?
CANASA is a non-profit Canadian association representing the electronic security industry. Their mission is to;
Maintain an active and effective national association comprised of responsible members whose representatives will work in a co-operative manner furthering the professional aims, objectives, ethics and business standards of the association.
For further information, click on the CANASA Website link on our Home Page or call 1-800-538-9919
WHAT ARE FALSE DISPATCHES?
A FALSE DISPATCH occurs when an alarm system is set off, the police are called and there is no intruder or emergency situation. User error is the number one cause of false dispatches (76% of all false dispatches are caused by users), and CANASA is committed to the education of the public and the industry, in order to reduce these false dispatches.
WHAT EXACTLY IS THE PROBLEM?
False dispatches result in a tremendous cost to society and threaten the safety of police officers and the community they protect. When the police respond to alarms, they must be alert. The higher the false dispatch rate, the more apt they are to let their guard down, resulting in a potentially life threatening situation (i.e. the boy who cried wolf). A reduction in false dispatches will result in a more attentive and co-operative police force.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
Resolving false dispatches is everyones responsibility. There are some simple measures that can be taken to reach ZERO FALSE DISPATCHES.
The following tips are simple steps that can dramatically affect the number of false dispatches you may experience during the life of you system.
- When leaving your premises, ensure that all doors and windows are locked
- If you have pets, be sure they are in an area not covered by standard motion detectors, or ensure that you have the new pet immune motion detectors
- Correct all drafts that may move plants and curtains, both of which may cause an alarm
- Insist that the keypad is easily accessible from the exit points, and that the arming delay is set for a reasonable period
- Replace the main battery every 5 years
- Test your system once a month
- Insist that your system has a cancel signal that an authorized person can use to tell the monitoring station not to send the police
- Insist on a service call as soon as possible after any unexplained alarms
- Have your alarm tested and inspected annually by your alarm company
- Call your alarm company before and after any renovations to your premises
- Ensure that you fully understand the operation of your system
- If you have any questions regarding your system, call the alarm company to have them answered before problems occur
- Ensure that all those people on your ?call list? understand the operation of your system
EDUCATION IS THE KEY TO PREVENTING FALSE DISPATCHES