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How to Use your Burglar Alarm

The week after Christmas, we received an alert from the office of Chicago’s Alderman Michelle Smith about two recent residential burglaries. According to the newsletter, in each of these burglaries, “the offender broke a window at ground level, entered the residence, and removed property.” Additionally, the cases had other similarities. Both incidents happened in the evening hours and the homes were less than a mile away from each other in Lincoln Park, a Chicago neighborhood that is considered relatively safe.

How Can an Alarm System Protect You from a Burglary?

Alarm systems are monitored by a local station 24/7. This means that whether you are at home or not, the alarm will alert you and the local monitoring station when someone or something ‘is in the zone’ and has activated the motion sensors. The monitoring station will then call you to verify a false alarm or to dispatch the authorities immediately if needed. However, since a burglar alarm system can be triggered by different things, it’s important to know how to correctly use all features. This will ensure that you’ll get the fastest and most accurate response and your family or business remains protected.

What Are the Main Components of an Alarm System?

Control panel

The control panel is the primary component of your burglar alarm system. It has a touchscreen or keypad in which you will be entering confidential codes to arm/disarm your alarm.

Motion sensors

As their name indicates, motion sensors detect motion. When these are activated, you’ll get notified right away. One of the advantages is that you can add as many motion sensors to your alarm as you wish. This is practical because if you have a larger home with more doors and windows to protect, it’s only reasonable that you’ll need more sensors.

Central monitoring station

This is usually a local station that is in charge of monitoring your alarm, receiving signals, and calling you to determine a false alarm or real emergency and dispatch the police right away.

Remote access

You can remotely control your alarm with an app in your smartphone. This app is handy when you forget to arm your alarm. It is also useful when you need to give access to a family member or friend while you’re away on vacation. Some apps also allow you to control your home lights or thermostat.

What Additional Systems Can I Connect to My Alarm?

Panic buttons and smoke detectors.

Do You Have to Be Present When Your Alarm System Is Installed?

The person who will be managing the alarm should be present at the time of installation. Installation shouldn’t take long so this will be the best time to discuss questions and make sure you have all you need to operate your system successfully.

Most security companies provide a user manual for their system. Those who don’t, will usually provide basic training the day of installation. Take this opportunity to ask questions and practice to arm/disarm your alarm. Make sure you know your passwords/codes and what steps to take in case of a false alarm.

Installation Day Checklist:

  • Request a user manual for your system or ask about onsite training
  • Practice arming/disarming your alarm
  • Know what to do if you have a false alarm
    Ask additional questions
    Save your password/codes in a safe place
    Have your security company’s phone number handy.

What are the most common mistakes when using a burglar alarm?

According to VinTech Systems’ president Mun Wong, there are two main mistakes she has witnessed throughout the years:

“First, clients forget to arm their system. Second, they don’t use the stay function to protect themselves against home intrusion.” – Mun Wong

Fortunately, these common errors can be easily fixed.

Using a burglar alarm when you leave home.

It’s easy to forget to arm your alarm system when you are leaving your home in a hurry. However, not doing so would be the same as not having a security system at all. Before leaving your home, take a few seconds to arm your alarm system in AWAY mode.

To arm your burglar alarm in AWAY mode, enter:

Your 4-digit code + the number for (AWAY)

If any of the secured doors/windows are not closed, the system will notify you immediately.

Using a burglar alarm while you are at home?

When you are returning home or going to bed, you should set your alarm to STAY mode. That ensures that any motion sensors inside the house are not active but zones around the home are. Many people don’t use this feature. If an intrusion similar to the ones in Lincoln Park occurs, the alarm will sound immediately and the owners will have the opportunity to contact police right away.

To arm your system in STAY mode, enter:

Your 4-digit code + the number for (STAY)

Depending on the model, there should be additional modes available in your instruction manual.

Get the most from your Burglar Alarm

An alarm system can be an excellent tool to protect your family and home. If you have any doubts or concerns, work with your alarm company to help you use your system effectively. Only this way will you benefit the most from using your system.

More from our blog: When does a False Alarm become a problem?

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