Tips for Security Systems

We have provided a series of checklists for you to quickly and easily assess your home or business security system. Please use the following checklists to ensure the proper use and response to your home or business security system.

 Do You Own An Alarm?

  1. Are you and others who use the system fully educated on its proper operation?
  2. Does everyone with a key to your home know how to operate your security system?
  3. Do you take care to eliminate possible causes of false alarms?
  4. Have you rehearsed alarm cancellation procedures with all who use your system to cancel accidental alarm activations?
  5. Do you communicate with your security company regularly, advising of schedule changes, problem areas or maintenance needs?
  6. Do you notify your local Alarm Coordinator when phone numbers or situations change?
  7. Do you have your security system instruction book and alarm company names and telephone numbers readily available in order to call and cancel accidental alarm activations?

Purchasing an Alarm System?

It is important for consumers to do their homework before purchasing an alarm system. Review the following checklist to ensure you make the right purchase choice:

  1. Have you talked to more than two different alarm companies?
  2. Will they provide references?
  3. Are the installation company and the monitoring station U.L.C. listed?
  4. Do you know how and where the alarm system is monitored?
  5. Have criminal background checks been completed on the installers and sales personnel?
  6. Do you know the duration of the contract and under what conditions the agreement can be cancelled?
  7. Does the service contract allow for emergency repair service within a specific time?
  8. Is the installation company offering a warranty on the system?
  9. Is there an operating manual offered with the alarm system?
  10. Is there a five to ten day resting period available during which you can practice using the system without police being dispatched? Statistics show there is a higher rate of false alarms during the first few days of installation.
  11. What are the verification options and the dispatch cancellation procedures?
  12. Will the alarm system be able to identify which zone or area the signal is coming from?  This allows service to target the problem area to be addressed.
  13. Do you know how the system works?
  14. How many window and door contacts and motion sensors are being recommended? Are motion sensors dual technology i.e. motion/infrared, and how does the backup battery work?
  15. Does the alarm system have an audible device? Audible devices are not only a deterrent but, also notifies you of an alarm situation.
  16. Is the system equipped with double action panic buttons (not just one) to minimize an accidental trip?
  17. Have they explained what happens if the telephone line is cut and offered alternative backup not dependent on the telephone line?
  18. Have they advised you of the Waterloo Regional Police False Alarm Policy?

Installing and Activating Your Alarm System?

  1. Check with your local jurisdiction to see if you are required to register your alarm system.
  2. When purchasing an alarm system you must remember that you are a vital part of the alarm function. You must completely understand how the system works, what it does and does not do, and what you must do to keep it in proper operating condition.
  3. Ensure all users of your system are provided adequate and thorough instruction on using and testing the system. Ask your alarm company to provide you with written instructions as well as a physical demonstration.
  4. Ensure outside audible alarms are set to sound for no more than 15 minutes before resetting.

Do you Own A Business?

  1. One person should be assigned to investigate all alarm activity.
  2. Record your normal business hours and working hours of your cleaners with your alarm/monitoring company.
  3. Make sure your company can be identified from the front and the rear.
  4. Be sure all employees, cleaning staff, etc. are thoroughly trained before attempting to use the alarm system including knowing how to cancel accidental activations. No ID code will result in a police dispatch.
  5. Forced air should be properly set during non-business hours. Large movements of air can cause false alarms
  6. Make sure there are no items “in view” of a motion sensor that can move i.e. seasonal decorations and balloons, plants, paper from a fax machine and curtains. All your company’s inventory should be securely stored.
  7. Ensure contacts on overhead doors are placed so that a gust of wind or shaking of the door will not activate the alarm system.
  8. Discuss with your alarm provider whether specially designed motion sensors are required to prevent the detection of rodents, birds or cats.
  9. If wireless hold-up protection is required, use dual-action devices only.

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