Blake Fire and Security Systems

What’s A Monitored Alarm System And Do I Need It?

Date: 1 December 2021

You can have two types of alarm systems - ones that are monitored... and ones that are not. What are the differences and what do they mean to you? Let's have a look...

Unmonitored home alarms (click here to learn about commercial) rely on good Samaritans, like your friends or neighbours, to notice that your burglar alarm is going off and to contact you and/or the authorities. You could say that it requires the right people to be in the right place at the right time, otherwise nobody will respond.

On the other hand, a monitored alarm system is one that is constantly connected to a professional, so that if your home is broken into, the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) can contact the authorities immediately on a direct line.

Or, if it happens to be a false alarm (which is much less likely with regular maintenance) they can call you or another key holder to check in and see if everything is OK. This doesn't require relying on passers-by, who may or may not happen to hear your alarm...

What’s An Alarm Receiving Centre?

It's a building full of people ready and waiting to assess your situation when your alarm goes off.

ARC Monitoring.jpg

Whenever your alarm is activated, the process (explained in this handy graphic) will be handled by an operator at an ARC - meaning your alarm is never ignored.

Imagine you are at work and your unmonitored burglar alarm is going off while you are reading this very blog post.

  • Does the retired lady across the road, who is unpacking her supermarket delivery, know and like you enough to call the Police so the alarm can be investigated?
  • Will the Police respond to her request if your alarm is not on their list to monitor?

Probably not, which means the intruder is free to ransack your home and collect up your valuables until he can't carry any more!

Instead, a monitored alarm system guarantees a response. So the arrival of the Police, you or your key holders will stop him in his tracks and force him to make a hasty exit.

In some cases, the company that installed your alarm can be selected as a key holder, so if you’re away they’ll respond to your alarm.

How Contacting An Alarm Receiving Centre Works

First off, your alarm must have two sensors triggered to activate – this lowers false alarm rates which helps for alarms with Police response. When this happens, your system will contact the ARC. Your alarm box will be connected in one of three ways to the ARC:

  • Phone line
  • Internet Connection
  • SIM Card

Depending on the amount of data you wish to transmit, your installer will choose the correct signaling method for your needs. For example, if you need to transmit a lot of data – say you’re sending CCTV images – they’ll probably opt to send the signal through your broadband.

It's important to get this right or you could end up with an unsuitable connection for your requirements.

Alerting The Police

Sufficiently installed, maintained and monitored alarm systems can demand a Police response. And the three basic requirements for this are fairly straightforward:

  • Installed – Your alarm system MUST be installed by an accredited company (NSI or SSAIB)
  • Maintained – Your system MUST be maintained by an accredited company (NSI or SSAIB)
  • Monitored – Your system MUST be monitored by, you guessed it, an accredited company (NSI or SSAIB)

If you meet the three specifications listed above, and some more you can read about here, then you can opt for one of two choices for Police response.

In the first option, the Police will be alerted immediately and send over their officers to check out what’s caused the alarm.

In the second, the monitoring station will call you, or your keyholder, to confirm whether it’s a real or false activation.

Getting The Right Monitored Alarm

For a monitored burglar alarm system that's right for your home, you need an SSAIB and NSI Gold approved security installer.

Why? Because these accreditations guarantee you a professional service and product for your home.

Want a quick way to discover how safe your home is right now? Take our quick quiz! Just click here or tap the image below to get started...


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This blog post is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. Call Blake's on 01702 447800 to speak to one of our professionals for specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content on our site.

Although we make reasonable efforts to update the information on our site, we make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content on our site is accurate, complete or up to date.
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