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Adding Life Safety to Your Burglar Alarm

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Many people think of security systems as “burglar alarms” rather than a way to add life safety. Indeed, security systems add a great amount of theft deterrence to any home. Alarm systems provide a shrieking siren response to an attempted burglary that often scares thieves away before they do any damage. Furthermore, a monitored security system will also create a police response to an alarm event if needed. Finally, the mere presence of an alarm acts as a deterrent against crime. Seeing an alarm company’s yard sign and window stickers on your property can convince thieves to look elsewhere. However, burglary detection equipment only covers a part of what a home security system can do. In addition to looking after your most valuable possessions, a well-designed alarm should offer security advantages for the people inside your home.

In this post, we share some suggestions for adding life safety to your security system. We will discuss adding burglar equipment where you’d be most vulnerable in the case of a home invasion. We’ll also discuss adding detection for fires and carbon monoxide, which provides both property and personal security. From there, we’ll discuss devices you can add to your system to call for immediate help at any time. Let’s begin with discussing how to secure one of the most important areas of your home.

A bedroom with a crib and babys belongings.

Windows that lead into children’s bedrooms should receive extra attention while designing a security system.

Security Equipment for Bedrooms

We discussed the concept of adding bedroom-specific alarm contacts in our Best Practices to Improve Bedroom Security. We focus on this area quite a bit for a couple reasons. For one, since people sleep in their bedrooms, this is where they would be most vulnerable during a home invasion. We suggest adding window sensors to accessible bedroom windows. We especially recommend this for parents of small children. Doing so ensures that a burglar attempting to directly enter a bedroom will sound your alarm’s siren. This will wake everyone in your household up and will quite possibly scare the thief away before entering your home. If you have a monitored security system, it also puts a police response in action.

We also focus on bedroom security because of the attention burglars place on entering bedrooms. Criminals generally look for both cash and items that they can quickly sell for cash. Of course, most people keep their cash (as well as credit cards, another hot item for thieves) in their bedrooms. Additionally, burglars can often find expensive jewelry and other valuables in bedrooms as well. Therefore, the room where you are most vulnerable during a home invasion is also the room that burglars target the most. This combination of concerns certainly calls for installing extra security in your bedrooms. Now let’s discuss one of the most effective life safety offerings you can ever add on to your security system.

Fire and Carbon Monoxide Detection

We always recommend adding life safety to your alarm in the form of smoke and carbon monoxide (or CO) detection. We can add this detection in a couple different ways. During a new home’s construction, we often install a complete hardwired smoke and CO detection system. We use the codes and regulations outlined in our Residential Smoke Alarm Requirements in Massachusetts to determine which types fire detection devices to install, and where to install them. However, in many cases our customers already have an existing hardwired system of smoke alarms. In this case, we can install one device near any smoke alarm to “listen” for the sound of the alarm. In the case of an interconnected smoke alarm system, the activation of any alarm will sound all of the others. Therefore, this one device can efficiently monitor your entire smoke alarm system.

The Interlogix wireless Firefighter relay

A wireless relay device, such as the “Firefighter” by Interlogix, allows us to monitor an entire smoke alarm system with one easy-to-install device.

Additionally, adding this detection has a benefit that not all of our customers know about. A while back, we created a post examining Smart Security Tips to Save You Money. Installing smoke and carbon monoxide prevention can trigger a significant refund on your homeowner’s insurance. In many cases, the refund pays back the entire cost of the additional equipment very quickly. After a few years, customers often end up making money by adding monitored smoke detection. The combination of additional home security, life safety, and extra money in your pocket make installing this equipment a no-brainer for many customers. Now, let’s look at adding devices that allow you to create an alarm response quickly at any time.

Panic Devices

Panic devices can add life safety to your security system in a few different ways. For one, a panic button can activate your alarm whether it is armed or disarmed. The ability call for help and even create a blaring siren response immediately — regardless of your system’s arming status — adds quite a bit of security. Additionally, these devices can create unique responses based on our customer’s needs. Finally, we offer panic buttons that can activate your alarm remotely as well as on site. In this section, we’ll look at how you can take advantage of all of these features. Let’s start with one of the most basic types of panic devices: permanent panic buttons installed in a home.

Permanently Installed Panic Buttons

We often install panic buttons where customers spend the most amount of time. Doing so greatly increases the chance that customers are close to a panic button when they need it. For example, bedrooms and living rooms make good locations for these devices. Additionally, we try to identify areas most prone to falls or other emergencies. Standing water in bathrooms, for example, can cause falls. This makes bathrooms a good installation location for a panic button. Similarly, installing these devices at the bottom of staircases can add a measure of life safety for residents at risk for falling down the stairs.

Wireless Panic Devices for Specific Emergencies

While older hardwired systems do not offer this option, our wireless alarm customers have a couple different options for adding wireless panic buttons. For example, our 6 Security Measures That Improve Senior Citizen Security in the Home points out the popularity of using monitored medical pendants in homes with elderly residents. These wireless devices allow residents to activate a panic signal from anywhere within or right outside of a house. We can also program a panic pendant or button to create a specific response. We can have the central station call the police department, fire department, ambulance, or the residence itself upon the activation of any panic device. This helps homeowners address any specific life safety threat that they may fear.

A 4-button keychain remote for a wireless security system.

In addition to allowing to you arm and disarm your security system remotely, a wireless keychain remote, such as this one by Interlogix, also acts as a panic button.

Portable Panic Buttons

Wireless panic buttons work in the immediate vicinity of an alarm. However, some customers want the capability to call for help from anywhere on their property, or even beyond. We offer keyfob remotes (pictured) with which you can arm and disarm your security system from your home or yard. Additionally, holding down the “arm” and “disarm” buttons activates your home alarm. As a response, the central station will also call the police department for immediate dispatch.

Our interactive cellular dialers powered by Alarm.com also provide a unique panic device option. Interactive cellular monitoring allows you to control your alarm remotely with your cell phone. This also includes the option to activate a panic response remotely. You have options for both audible and silent alarm responses. Additionally, you can choose between a response from the police department, fire department, or an ambulance. The variety of options contained in this feature make it a great way to efficiently add life safety to your alarm monitoring.

Creating a Complete Life Safety Plan for Your Home

We hope this post has given you some ideas for adding life safety to your home alarm system. We urge our customers to look beyond burglary equipment to personal safety while helping them design their security systems. Perhaps you have a home alarm and now have some ideas for potential equipment additions. Or maybe you do not have a system yet, but want to ensure that when you do install an alarm, you add as much security as possible. Either way, we encourage you to contact us with any questions you may have. We offer free home site surveys to both assess existing systems and to design new alarms. Together, we can help you create a home security system that not only helps ward off burglars, but also offers you and your loved ones as much life safety as possible.

 

Feature Photo Credit: Atlantic Training on Wikimedia Commons used under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.