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Home Burglaries and Fires: An Alarming Situation

Burglary and fire alarm systems can greatly enhance the security of your home.

by Jeffrey D. Leiser
(c) Paradox Productions, Inc.

Residential security systems are an important part of feeling secure in your house. Surveillance cameras, as well as fire (smoke) and burglar alarms, can save your home from being robbed or destroyed, and could save your family from harm. Even more protection can be had from alarm system monitoring, which notifies an outside company when your alarm sounds, which will then call the police or fire department. Compare the various home security companies.

Some alarm companies will peform a home security review among their services. Often a home security company will offer a range of products and services, such as door alarms, wireless systems, and even driveway alarms.

Doesn't it seem that you can't go a week without hearing or reading about somebody's misfortune of being victimized in their own home by an intruder? Whether you're at home or not, if you have what a thief wants and they think they can get away with it, they're going to try to get it.

And what about home fires that destroy property, memories and take lives? This brings a tragic picture to mind of children hurt or worse because no warning was given to authorities or sleeping parents. You may be thinking that these things happen to only a small group of people living in highly populated areas. But, as statistics show, these things can happen anywhere at any time.

What can you do to fight back? Well, you could hire a full time armed guard, or you could erect a fifteen foot high wall around your property and have the interior yard patrolled by large man-eating dogs. Oh yeah, don't forget to install bars on all windows and doors. Of course, there is the simpler, more economic and a less paranoid answer to home security, and that's an alarm system.

There are many good reasons to have a good alarm system. Among the top reasons are to protect your home, your family, and your property. An alarm system is a good tool to help you manage these concerns and provide peace of mind. It will not guarantee that no one will break into your property or steal from you. But you can expect three things from your alarm - to wake you if there is an intrusion, make enough noise to intimidate the intruder away and alert the police for you if you can not. In case of a fire, a properly equipped system can alert you to the danger and even call for help. There are many good ones, even some you can install yourself that are faily simple

Another good reason for have a security system might be a financial benefit in the way of a saving on your homeowner’s insurance. To qualify for a reduced rate, most companies require proof of your security system’s purchase and that your system reports to a central monitoring station. A central monitoring station is a manned, third party business which your programmed alarm system would notify to any break-in, fire, or a panic button situation. It’s job is to verify the emergency by phone. Then, if no one answers the phone, or if someone answers but they don’t know the proper password, the on-duty monitor then calls the proper authority to respond. The fee for this service varies from company to company, depending on the company and the amount of added services.

Installing an alarm system

Are you wondering about the time and money involved in installing an alarm system? Well, the cost can range from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars, depending on who is doing the work and how much work has to be done.

For the purpose of appealing to all you economically minded people out there, I’ll focus on the benefits of the handy-man and the not-so-handy-man alarm systems. Trying out different “Do it yourself? security systems, I found the easiest to install were the wireless alarms (for obvious reasons: no wires). They can be purchased on the web as a basic package of a couple of sensors, a key pad programming control unit (the brains of the system) and a warning siren. Some wireless systems have the ability to dial three phone numbers, which you would program to play a recorded message in your voice. When programming a system, each protected area (such as an entry door or a first floor window) is called a zone. The more zones you have with a wireless system, the more potential break-in points of entry that can be protected.

With a wireless system, just about anybody can install it in a very short period of time, and if you move to a new home, the system can easily be taken with you. Remember though, that since the sensors work on battery power, you must periodically replace them, and getting additional sensors can be expensive.

The wired systems can be more reliable and less expensive sensor wise. The siren that comes with a wire package is more powerful because it is fed directly from an alarm panel. But to install wired security, you'd better have some electrical knowledge and some wiring experience.

Both the wireless and wired security systems have the popular types of sensors. The window magnet senor uses low voltage indicator to trigger an alarm. For an example: when the magnet attached to the window frame is separated from its closely placed sister magnet that’s fixed on the window sash (like a burglar opening up your window) the main panel detects a drop in the voltage and sets off the alarm.

A motion detector is good for covering a large area with many points of entry. It works by using a projected infrared light broken into an invisible web by a reflective lens. It reaches out in an adjustable coverage area detecting heat movement. The downside is that an intruder must be within the protected area in order activate the alarm. Which could mean the bad guy is inside your house. You must be careful as not to aim the sensor towards a heat source or southern exposed window, and pets can set off the alarm, as well as humans.

A glass-breaking detector is placed directly on a window, and detects the sound and vibrations typically produced from a criminal break in. The smoke and or carbon monoxide detector is pretty much self-explanatory. The difference between the one you have hanging in your home and one that is hooked into a security system is your current detector won’t call you to let you or anyone else know that your house is on fire.

Bottom line, all these devices, when properly layered in a reliable security system, can give you a sense of protection. After all, in this world where personal security seems to be an ever growing concern, an alarm system is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

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