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In today’s blog, 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, and you’d put it up. If the alarm went off, the bell or siren would ring outside and hopefully one of your neighbors would call the police.

It got to the stage where people were just ignoring alarms going off. A lot of them were false alarms, and people stopped bothering about them. So there became a need for something more, 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 went off, the system would send a signal to the alarm monitoring centre or alarm reception centre. When the monitoring centre received that alarm, they then phoned the police. who would go round and find more often than not that it was a false alarm.

So the police said, this is wasting our time and resources. We’re not going to do this anymore.

So the alarm monitoring centers then said, okay, fine, no problem. We will just phone the homeowner. So what would happen when an alarm goes off? The signal comes through at the alarm reception center 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 is a basic version of what an alarm monitoring service is.

These days, there are some circumstances where it is still possible for the alarm centre 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 do various paperwork to set it up. So it is still possible, but most monitoring contracts are simply where they just phone you.

Is this worthwhile? Well, 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 via that app. It will put an alert on your phone. That happens pretty much instantaneously, there’s no five minute wait for you to tell the app that there’s no problem.

So most alarm systems, these days, you could describe 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 that money for you?

For a lot of people, it provides an extra peace of mind as well. 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. Other people want it for that extra peace of mind, and that’s fair enough.

Other people are happy to self monitor their alarm with the app on their phone.

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

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