Choosing an Alarm

The range and diversity of alarm systems available can make choosing the right system for your need quite complex. The information below is not a definitive guide, but it will help you to understand the basic differences between the main types of system on offer.

Bells only alarms
This is generally the most basic option. If the alarm is triggered, an audible alarm sounds to alert you (or a neighbour) that an intruder has entered (or is trying to enter) the premises. This type of system may be appropriate for most typical dwellings. However, it depends on the location of the property, the lifestyle or nature of the occupier or the content. The system should always be fitted by a certificated installer to therelevant European Standards.
Speechdialler or Auto (GSM) dialler system
This will be a cheaper option than having a fully monitored system. With a Speechdialler, when the alarm is activated, pre-programmed numbers of your choice will be dialled and a pre-recorded message alerts the keyholder or neighbour to the alarm. If the phone line is cut or disabled no signal can be sent.
Under no circumstances should the police telephone number be programmed into the auto dialler.
A GSM alarm unit send you and/or other contacts a text message. It is not dependent on the phone line. It can typically send a text to up to three numbers, there is no third party monitoring and can use any major high-street SIM on a network of your choice (for example O2, Orange, Virgin and so on).
App Connected
If your chosen system has an AppĀ  available, the app will notify you of events happening with the alarm, be it one of the children returning home, a cleaner coming or going or the system being in alarm, notifying you of the type of alarm and the area been activated. The app usually allows convenient setting and unsetting of the system from anywhere in the world.
Monitored systems
The system installed may be the same of similar to a bells only system, except that when the alarm is activated, a signal informs a remote monitoring centre. They may confirm that the alarm is not false and if necessary they inform the police. It is important that the monitoring centre is recognised by the police. A unique reference number (URN), which identified the premises must be obtained by the installer from the police when the system is installed. To get this number, the installer and the monitoring centre must be registered with a certification body (such as SSAIB).

Monitored systems do not guarantee a police response. If it is reasonably certain that someone has entered he premises, it will be flagged as a priority call. However, if a system has three false alarms in a year (four in Scotland) the URN will be revoked by the police. To be reconnected, evidence that the problem has been resolved must be provided to the police within three months.

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