Home & Office ~ Security Systems
The range of security systems available on the market today is huge
and provides extra security to a home, office or commercial building. Although some of these systems can be expensive, in some high-crime areas, it is a requirement by insurance companies that properties are protected by an effective and officially recognised security system. It also means that insurance premiums are reduced for the owner/occupier.
In general the choice of burglar alarms come down to two main types:
- Audio alarms: Which make a very loud and continuous noise when activated
- Monitored systems: When activated, these systems automatically call an alarm centre. The staff will then notify a pre-assigned person that the alarm has been triggered. Sometimes, the police can also be automatically be informed. There will be a monthly or annual fee for this service.
Audio alarms still have a strong deterrent effect on any burglar, who is less likely to break into a house with an alarm, rather than one without. However, with the rise in false alarms which can tend to be ignored, this is less of a deterrent than it used to be.
Remotely-monitored alarms offer that extra level of security because any burglar breaking in will know that their activity will have been noticed and that someone will be arriving to investigate very shortly.
Burglar alarms are usually controlled by a key-system or keypad. Most good alarm systems offer zoned cover, so that when the occupants of a property go to bed, the cround floor remains protected, but the upper floors are excluded, enabling the occupants to move around freely upstairs. Many alarms also have a panic button, allowing a householder to call for immediate assistance even if the alarm system is switched off.
Sophisticated alarm systems need to be installed and maintained by a specialist. Before choosing an individual or company to install an alarm system, home owners should check the company's credentials and ensure the equipment they sell complies with official standards. You should never buy a system from a cold-call or a doorstep representative.
Before fitting a system, the person or company chosen supply and carry out the installation should conduct a full-risk assessment. Some insurers demand a specific type of security system and the installers will have to take these requirements into their recommendation given to the householder.
There are serveral DIY security systems on the market and although they offer a level of security which may be better than nothing at all, the police do not recommend self-installed systems. This is because the occupier/tenant is unlikely to have a proper understanding of the security requirments witin their particular location. They also may not install the equipment properly, thus relying on a false sense of security.
There are three main types:
- Movement sensors: These are often infrared devices which activate the alarm when movement is detected within the zone they cover. There are also ultrasonic and microwave devices available.
- Magnetic sensors: These activate the alarm when a magnetic field between devices is broken by something moving through the field.
- Perimeter sensors: These devices can be left switched on permanently, with the occupiers using the property normally. The alarm is triggered for example, when glass is broken.
Offices, homes, commercial buildings, gardens and parking areas can be
monitored by Closed Circuit Television. Warning signs showing that a system has been installed and is active is often enough to deter opportunist intruders. Burglars don't like to have their faces photographed! CCTV systems can be monitored by the householder or remotely by a security company. With modern technology, all activity around a property over a period of time can be monitored and archived on a computer for future reference.
Secure Entry Systems
Most often used in flats where the residents/tentants have to answer a request to enter by an exterior doorbell button. Any people who are requesting entry are often not visible to the occupant/tenant and are challenged by a voice-only system. Security can therefore be limited. The addition of a video system gives the occupants the opportunity to visualise/verify the caller and his/her credentials before deciding whether to allow access. Office and commercial premises often use secure keypad or
swipe card entry systems too. Householders with large gardens may find that a secure electronic gate system in combination with a remote entry system will give that extra ense of security.
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