Deter Burglars from Breaking in to Your Home
Home alarms are just one link in the home security system chain and are generally a very good investment. This is especially true if you have valuable items in your home, which most of us do today, in one form or another. Burglar alarms should also be installed if you live in an isolated area or an area with a history of break-ins. Home alarms are designed to provide a warning at the earliest possible moment of entry, or attempted entry by a criminal into the protected premises, or in some cases the protected boundaries. Although home alarms do not, by themselves prevent entry, they do act as very good deterrents, with many alarm systems now available that are well within the price range of most homeowners.
The majority of houses that are broken into do not have home alarms fitted; the police will back up these findings. Government statistics also show that around 60% of burglaries carried out on homes fitted with burglar alarms are unsuccessful.
Home alarms also offer tremendous peace of mind, both when you or your family are in the building and also when you are away from it, especially for long periods of time such as holidays. False alarms caused by faulty equipment are now almost a thing of the past due to the rapid advances in electronic technology.
The old idea, that having a home alarm fitted showed the criminal that you had something worth stealing, no longer holds true, as today nearly everyone has something worth stealing.
Home alarms come in two standard forms – wired and wireless, with some systems using a combination of both. Wireless alarms are becoming more and more popular throughout the world, due to their ease of installation and flexibility.
In considering any home alarm system, you must first define precisely what is required of it. The design of your home security system will be a balance between your needs and your budget and one that should not pose so many restrictions on your day to day lives that it becomes inconvenient to use and is no longer operated.
DON’T wait until after the event, buying prevention is often less expensive and costly than buying a cure. Heirlooms, treasures and many other items with treasured sentimental value, along with people are irreplaceable.
Home alarms (in the UK), should comply with BS4737 when professionally fitted or BS6707 for DIY installed systems.
Buying a Home Alarm
Buying security equipment is like buying most other products today, a little knowledge and understanding of the products involved and their applications can often save you a lot of time and money and in some cases considerable heartache.
The main aim of some salesmen (most are honest),is to sell you one of their home alarm systems, irrespective of whether it is the right alarm system to fulfil your needs. In fact some may also have a hidden agenda to sell you a more expensive alarm than you need, due to the amount of extra commission he/she will earn on that particular system. You can however protect yourself from these types of companies and salesmen by understanding a little about home alarm systems and their workings before they arrive and by then asking the right questions.
The first choice you have to make is whether you want a hardwired or a wireless system, and whether you want the alarm monitored through a central station, where after verifying an activation they will alert the police to respond. Since October 2001 any newly installed monitored alarm must also use ‘confirmation’ technology to receive a police response. Staff at the alarm monitoring station must be able to verify a genuine alarm by: CCTV (to see an intruder), audio (to hear an intruder), or by sequential confirmation (detecting an intruder triggering a number of detectors as he moves around your home).
If you don’t want your home alarm monitored through a central station your choice is totally flexible and you can even install a system yourself. Most central monitoring stations normally require a system to be installed by a NACOSS registered security company (otherwise the Police are unlikely to respond), and in the case of a wireless system it must be Class 6 – fully supervised. Some installation companies do not install wireless systems, or if they do many of them will only install lower, Class 3 & 4 systems.
The second choice relates to the system itself and how it operates in relation to your lifestyle. A skilled surveyor will ask you how you, your family and any pets use your home, or are prepared to use it. He/she should also check for any vulnerable points on the premises that need additional protection and then advise you accordingly. Then after carrying out the survey he/she should thoroughly explain the working of the system proposed, which should allow you the flexibility and security that you require, with regard to: zoning, panic buttons, fire protection, outbuilding protection, dialler and communicator outputs, sirens/strobes and easily changed keypad codes for arming/disarming. The system should also be able to cater for any future expansion that you may require – house extensions, outbuilding protection etc. Alarm system installations, both wireless and hardwired are priced in a number of ways, with the costs made up as follows:
- Equipment costs
- Installation costs
- Monitoring fees (if applicable)
- Maintenance fees (sometimes built-in, sometimes extra)
- Finance costs (interest and arrangement fees)
Many professionally installed systems are sold with contracts, which will include central station monitoring, general maintenance and servicing twice a year (mandatory on NACOSS systems). Servicing, apart from the occasional battery changes is minimal on most good quality modern alarm systems. The terms and conditions of these contracts can vary greatly and should be studied carefully.
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