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All About Alarms

Many alarm companies will want to try and sell you a monitored system. But what does that mean? What is alarm monitoring? This article will tell you.

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In today’s article, we’re going to be talking about alarm monitoring. What is it and do you need it? Back in the bad old days, before alarm monitoring was a thing, you’d buy an alarm system, you’d put it up, if the alarm system went off, the bell or siren would ring outside and hopefully one of your neighbours would call the police. Unfortunately it got to the stage where people were just ignoring alarms going off.

A lot of these were false alarms and people stopped bothering, really. And so there became a need for something more than that. There became a need for alarms to signal out to someone else that actually cared about whether the alarm went off and thus the alarm monitoring station was born. So basically what happened was, when the alarm goes off, it would send a signal to the alarm monitoring centre or alarm reception centre and they would receive that alarm and they then phoned the police. What happened then was the police would go around and find more often than not that it was a false alarm.

And the police said, this is wasting our time and resources, we’re not going to do this anymore. So the alarm monitoring centres then said, okay, fine, no problem, we will just phone the homeowner. So what would happen when an alarm goes off is the signal comes through at the alarm reception centre and they will wait five minutes or thereabouts for you as the homeowner, to phone them and say, don’t worry, it’s a false alarm, I’ve set the alarm off by mistake, don’t call me. And if they didn’t receive that call, they’d phone you.

So that’s basically what an alarm monitoring service is these days. There are some circumstances where it is still possible to contact the police. You have to use an NSI approved installer and your monitoring centre also has to be NSI approved and you have to go through various paperwork to do it. So it is still possible. But most monitoring contracts just phone you.

Is this worthwhile? That’s something really only you can decide. Most alarm systems these days, including ours, have an app on a smartphone and the system will contact you, it will put an alert on your phone and then you get to know. And that happens pretty much instantaneously. There’s no five minute wait for you to tell the app that there’s a problem. So a lot of alarm systems you would describe now as self monitoring.

So do you need an alarm system to be monitored? That’s something only you can decide. Obviously, there’s a monthly cost for the monitoring service. Is it worth that money for you? For a lot of people, it provides that extra peace of mind.

Your insurance company may say that you have to have an NSI or an SSAIB approved alarm, in which case you have to have it monitored. That’s part of the NSI and SSAIB approval service. So in some instances, you’ve got to have it. Some people want it because they think it gives them more peace of mind and that’s fair enough. Other people, it’s fine for you to self monitor your alarm and have the app on your phone do the monitoring for you.

If you’ve got any more questions about it, get in touch.

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