When we conduct private client residential, family office or commercial security assessments, there are always two constants: (1) we discuss the importance of alarm systems, and (2) our clients complain about alarm systems. They say:

  • It doesn’t work right!
  • Too confusing to operate!
  • Too many false alarms!
  • The interface is cumbersome!
  • We just don’t trust it!

And we don’t blame them. Improperly installed or poorly designed alarm systems can range from a nuisance with several false alarms to dangerous when it does not sufficiently protect a property and its inhabitants and assets.

Love at First Sight is Common – but a Long-Term Relationship with Your Alarm Requires Work

Unfortunately, navigating the marketplace for a better alarm system can be equally frustrating, so our clients often pay for a service they are not comfortable with or do not trust. While we do not provide alarm system services, we’ve evaluated enough of them for our private clients to know that these alarm system problems probably sound familiar to almost anyone with a system in place. We suggest the following steps to mitigate the issues, protect yourself and fall back in love with your system, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Five Steps to a Happier Alarm System Relationship

  1. Request additional training from the alarm service provider to ensure the person operating the system feels knowledgeable in the system and, subsequently, feels comfortable arming and disarming it. It will also allow this person to know when the system may be malfunctioning.
  2. Contract with the alarm service provider for annual maintenance to ensure sensors are operating as designed, including those for doors, windows, motion and broken glass. Specialty sensors such as panic fobs, fire and smoke should also be tested.
  3. Ensure the system is upgraded to the latest platform and software release. Often, the new interfaces are very user-friendly and intuitive for ease of operation, including remote arming and disarming.
  4. Issue separate codes for authorized users to aid in the identification of individuals who may require additional training. Those who don’t understand the system will not and should not use the system.
  5. Integrate the alarm system with a video capability to not only better your property’s security posture but also encourage using the security systems consistently. With this integration, when an alarm occurs, the video system pans or zooms to that specific location and captures the event as it unfolds. This added feature will make the alarm system a more valuable security system and people will be more inclined to use it.

In other words, don’t break up with your alarm, especially when it can usher in fire and law enforcement resources when you need them most. Just like any other healthy, rewarding relationship, sometimes you just need to go the extra mile to keep things running smoothly.

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