The threat of damage and crime is a very real concern for both home and business owners. Protecting against either is a matter of importance, and making use of the highest quality equipment and systems on offer is a huge part of this process. As well as investing in a suitable, quality CCTV system, it is also vital that home and business owners invest in the most suitable and quality alarm systems.
Fire and theft are two of the most prevalent safety fears that alarm systems can protect homes and businesses against. Your premises, fixed assets and confidential information represent large capital investments, and damage to them or loss - regardless of insurance and replacement - can cause major disruption to business activities.
Although the possibility of crime or damage can not ever be completely removed, it is possible to greatly alleviate it through the installation of a home or business alarm system. Indeed, intruder alarms and fire alarms can go a long way to providing peace of mind, as well as compliance with insurance policy.
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If you are interested in finding out more about either intruder alarms or fire alarms, simply continue reading this page, or else visit the appropriate pages linked to in the sections below. For people who are ready to purchase alarm systems or CCTV systems, however, you should complete the quick and easy form above.
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What is an Alarm System?
An alarm system, as the name suggests, is a technical system that alerts the appropriate parties in the event of an emergency. Alarm systems, although relatively new in their modern form, are used universally by businesses looking to protect their physical and soft assets, as well as by homeowners looking to protect their personal property.
There are three main types of alarm system on offer: intruder (or burglar) alarm systems, fire alarm systems and combined security and fire alarm systems. Typically a system will divide the covered premises into a series of ‘zones’, each of which has its own monitoring devices. The number of zones required will be a factor in the price of the system.
Systems are available in wired or wireless versions and with various monitoring options for alerting the business owner when trouble occurs.
Why do I need an Alarm System?
Having an alarm system is important for a number of reasons. Safety is the foremost concern, and is the one that prompts most business or home owners to look into getting a system installed. However, there are other concerns that may lead to this process.
Already mentioned briefly, insurance concerns can be reason enough for businesses and homeowners to install an alarm system. For businesses in particular, having a good quality system is a good way to both reduce insurance costs and provide evidence in the event of an insurance claim. The same is true for homeowners, although as homes tend to be of less value than business premises, the need is reduced.
In short, alarm systems are an essential tool for businesses and homeowners looking to provide a safe and secure environment.
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Intruder Alarm System Features
The cost of break-ins and theft go far beyond the replacement price of damaged and stolen items. Not forgetting that some things can’t be replaced, there’s also the time taken out of your business to rectify damages and the inconvenience caused to customers.
A burglar alarm system not only acts as a deterrent to potential thieves but can also alert the key-holder and police when the alarm is triggered.
Features of an intruder alarm system include:
- A control panel for setting up the system including adding timers
- A keypad for arming and disarming the system
- Movement detectors covering each ‘zone’ within the premises to detect person-sized moving objects
- Door contacts to trigger the alarm when doors and windows are opened
- Glass break detectors to trigger the alarm when windows are broken
- Vibration detectors can detect an attempted break-in
- Attack buttons to alert the police of a robbery during business hours
- Sounders to alert neighbours with noises and lights as well as disturb and deter thieves
- A backup battery to provide full functioning in the event of power failure.
The number of zones within your property which require sensors and detectors will be determined by the alarm system provider when quoting for the system. The sensors might connect to the system via wires or wireless technology. Extra keypads to cover multiple entrances/exits can be incorporated.
A monitored intruder alarm system will be connected via a phone line to a monitoring service who will ensure that the alarm is genuine before contacting the keyholders and the police.
Fire Alarm System Features
Fire is not only a threat to your property and business continuity but also to the lives of your staff and others in the vicinity. A fire and smoke alarm system will monitor environmental changes and manual activation points to detect the presence of fire and then alert staff so that the building can be evacuated and emergency services notified.
Features of a fire alarm system include:
- Smoke detectors and heat detectors are rarely triggered falsely but won’t catch a fire until a fairly advanced stage
- Carbon monoxide detectors can identify the presence of fire at an early stage but can lead to more false alarms
- Flame detectors use cameras or light beams to detect the presence of any naked flame through its characteristic movement patterns
- Manual activation points such as break-glass points
- Control panel for adjusting settings or cancelling the alarm
- Sounders and strobe lights to alert building occupants, possibly including recorded messages with evacuation instructions
- Backup battery in case of power failure
An addressable fire alarm system has each component, be it an activator or notifier, on a separate loop so that the condition of each device can be monitored and the source of fire or failure known from a central location.
A monitored fire alarm system will automatically notify an alarm monitoring service of a detected fire, who will in turn notify the fire service. Some alarm systems can be programmed so that notification of a third party only happens when two or more detectors are activated.
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Combined Fire and Intruder Alarm Systems
A combined system has the advantage of only needing one monitoring and maintenance service in order to reduce administrative costs and the incidence of false alarms. Combined systems can also be tailored to a company’s specific needs and perhaps incorporate other security measure such as:
- Access control systems for restricting use of doors and security gates to card holding personnel only. This is useful in shared buildings where the difficulty of identifying building occupants makes opportunistic thefts possible.
- Video entry systems for loading points or entrances with restricted views.
- CCTV systems to monitor premises round the clock for crimes, break-ins, unauthorised employee behaviour etc. These can be monitored constantly by in-house security or a third party or used for later reference only.
Choosing an Alarm System Provider
There are several factors to consider, beside cost, when selecting an alarm system and a company to install, monitor and maintain it. After all, there’s no point scrimping on an alarm system that offers insufficient security and leaves you uncovered by your insurance.
These factors include:
- Certification: Your insurance policy might demand that your alarm system is approved by either the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) or the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) so make sure to check that this is the case.
- Standards: Similarly, the European standards your alarm should comply with are EN 50131 & PD 6662 Grade 2 or 3.
- Monitoring: Does the alarm system supplier offer monitoring and what is the additional cost?
- Maintenance: Is regular maintenance included and is there a charge for this?
- Emergencies: Does the supplier offer 24 hour call out and are there guaranteed response times? Think about what happens if your alarm develops a fault in the middle of the night.
Whatever your requirements from an alarm system, be sure to gather several quotes from different suppliers to ensure you’re getting the right system at the right price. Having several firms survey the premises in order to calculate quotes can be time consuming but considering what’s at stake, getting that decision right is of vital importance.
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Having the right alarm systems for your home or business is vital. In terms of both safety and security, it is important that you are able to use a system that suits you, and it is important that you are able to do so without complications or issues.
The best way to find a alarm system to suit you is to compare suppliers using Approved Index’s quote comparison service. To find the best price and quotes today, simply complete the form at the top of this page. AI’s service is completely free, and it can save your business or home both time and money.
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