Intruder Alarm Buyers Guide & FAQ’s
We have written this intruder alarm buyers guide to help you understand the options available so that you can make the right choice. It’s long because we wanted to provide a really useful and comprehensive guide. If you have a question that’s not covered, we’d love to know so that we can continue to develop our guide! Please use the form on the right of this page and we will do our very best to answer your query. Also, if you don’t want to read it we are happy to discuss your requirements and advise on the best system to suit your needs – please call us on 01663 719520 or fill in the form on the right of this page and we’ll get in touch. Areas covered by ESI.
- Simple Crime prevention advice
- Why should I have a Burglar Alarm?
- Where do I start when choosing a Burglar Alarm?
- What are the Different Types of Burglar Alarm?
- What are the different types of Alarm Remote Monitoring?
- I like the idea of “Police Response”, please tell me more…
- How do I get an URN?
- What should I consider when choosing an installer?
- How do I know I can trust an alarm installer?
- Can I set my Burglar Alarm at Night?
- Will my Pets set off my Alarm?
- Will I get a reduction in my Insurance?
- How much will it Cost?
- Will my alarm go off and annoy my neighbours?
- Do you install Alarms in Business premises and private homes?
- What areas do Electronic Security Installations cover?
- How long does it take to install an alarm?
- How quickly can you come and install my new alarm?
Simple Crime prevention advice
Burglary tends to be an opportunistic crime and there are some simple measures that you can take to reduce the risk of becoming a victim.
- Lock up! It sounds obvious but the Metropolitan Police alone report that 5199 people were burgled in 12 months because they didn’t lock their front door.
- Fit a burglar alarm, and set it when you go out and when you go to bed. Professional Bell Boxes make potential intruders think twice.
- Lock the windows, especially those easily accessible from a flat roof and those out of view.
- Lock the side gate, and Lock away tools and ladders. During operation Gotham in Stockport in October 2010, Greater Manchester Police report that in 1 street alone they found open gates and garage doors, unsecured ladders and bricks in gardens.
- Keep the hedge trimmed and consider Security Lighting – don’t give intruders cover to hide!
- If you go away remember to cancel the milk and the papers. Ask a neighbour if they will remove your post, a stuffed letterbox advertises an empty house, and encourage them to park on your drive whilst you are away. Burglars prefer an empty house; don’t advertise your holidays!
- Don’t leave valuables in plain sight, and be careful not to leave your keys near to the front door.
- Make your house look occupied -Consider installing timers which switch lights on and off automatically.
Inspector Brendan O’Brien, from the Stockport East Neighbourhood Policing Team said “Criminals usually go for easy pickings so it is important to remove those opportunities and greatly reduce your chance of becoming a victim of crime.”
“The nights are getting darker, which is an opportunity for burglars, so we need everybody to remember ALL. Alarm, locks and lights”
Why should I have a Burglar Alarm?
The number burglaries of private homes in the UK has seen a downward trend in recent years – with 59% drop recorded between 1995 and 2007. However the recession has sparked a worry that this trend will reverse. Consequently homeowners are looking to burglar alarms as an effective deterrent.
Intruders tend to look for an easy target. A burglar alarm will make your property less attractive to them.
The Metroplitan Police advise that “Alarm systems are a worthwhile investment in the protection of your home and family. Studies reveal that it is far less likely that you will become the victim of a burglary at home if you have a correctly fitted and well maintained burglar alarm.” www.met.police.uk/crimeprevention/alarms.htm
Where do I start when choosing a Burglar Alarm?
There’s a lot of choice, and the technical jargon can be confusing, but as a starting point the installation should meet with PD6662 incorporating EN50131- 2004.
This type of installation refers to hard-wired systems as opposed to wire-free. Though more expensive than many wire-free or DIY packages on the market, they are far more reliable and conform to the Association of Chief Police Officers Intruder Alarm Policy. Choose a professional installer accredited with SSIAB or NSI and you can be reassured that the work will be carried out to the required standard. At Electronic Security Installations Ltd we are happy to discuss the options and help you chose the right solution for you – please call us on 0800 082 5500 or fill in the form on the right of this page and we will get in touch.
What are the Different Types of Burglar Alarm?
- Bells Only / Audible Alarm. This type of alarm makes a loud noise to deter intruders and allert your neighbours. The police define this type of alarm as a “Type B” alarm. This means that they will not attend unless there is some other indication that a crime is taking place (e.g. if a witness has seen someone breaking-in)
- Speech Dialler. This is a device added to an alarm system that can be programmed to phone you if your alarm goes off. This can be useful as you don’t need to rely on neighbours. It can also be useful for people who want to be alerted if their relative’s alarm is activated. However the police still define this type as “Type B” and therefore they will not attend purely on the evidence of the alarm ringing.
- Remotely Monitored Alarm. This type of alarm is connected to an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) which is a remote central station manned 24 hours a day 365 days a year, via a telephone line or mobile network. The monitored alarm sends signals to the ARC when the alarm is set or unset, if it detects a break-in, when a personal attack button is activated, if smoke is detected or if there is a fault with the system such as a power-cut. The ARC verifies the alarm signals and takes appropriate course of action. This can be alerting the owner, key-holders and Police or Fire Brigade. The police define this type of system as a “Type A” (See Police below).
There are 3 main types of remote monitoring
What are the different types of Alarm Remote Monitoring?
- Digital communicator (Digi). This is the cheapest option and it works by sending a signal down the phone line if the alarm is activated. The disadvantages are that it doesn’t signal if the line is cut or broken, and the monitoring station won’t be aware of the problem either. It can also lead to large phone bills as each time the alarm is set and unset a call is made.
- Redcare Classic. This product communicates with the ARC via a BT land line. It is a cheaper option than Redcare GSM, and the monitoring Station will know if the line is cut within 3minuites. However it doesn’t provide continued monitoring if the phone line is cut because it only uses the landline for communication (“single path”).
- RedCare GSM / RedCARE Secure / DualCom. The most robust form of remote monitoring preferred by businesses and many homes. Both of these products use dual path signalling. Put simply that means that the alarm is monitored via a land line AND a “mobile phone” link. If, for example, the phone line is cut the ARC will receive that signal and will continue to monitor the premises via the alternative path. This is vital for establishing “confirmed activation” for police response when a phone line is cut.
We understand that you will want to weigh up the pros and cons of each option. At Electronic Security Installations Ltd we are happy to discuss your particular requirements and to provide prices for each option – please call us on 0800 082 5500 or fill in the form on the right of this page and we will get in touch.
I like the idea of “Police Response”, please tell me more
None of us want to waste police time and money. The police have nationally adopted the ACPO Unified Police Policy to help them to target “genuine” calls and to reduce attendance at false alarms. This policy defines two types of alarm “Type A” and “Type B” and the relevant police response. The Metropolitan Police summarise as follows:
- Type A – Remote Signalling Alarms, including intruder alarms terminating at approved central monitoring stations. They must be maintained and used in accordance with British Standard 4737/BS EN 50131, or BS 6799 Class VI (wire-free alarms). Such alarms will be registered with the police and identified by a unique reference number (URN) and can include personal attack alarms. The police response to their activation will be based on the assumption that an offence is taking place, but against the background of competing urgent calls and available resources. Such a response will also be conditional upon the number of false activations in any 12 month period, in which case the activation may receive a lower priority police attendance.
- Type B – Audible Only and Hybrid Alarms, including bells-only and automatic dialling alarms, as well as alarms from non-compliant companies and non-compliant central stations. URNs will not be issued for these systems. To obtain police attendance, in addition to their activation Type B alarms will also require some indication that an offence is in progress, e.g. from a witness.
How do I get a URN?
Electronic Security Installations Ltd are fully qualified to install “Type A” monitored alarms. We apply to the police for a URN on your behalf. The police charge an admin fee for issuing a URN.
You will need to ensure that you have two keyholders, trained to operate the alarm, able to attend activation within 20 minutes, contactable by telephone and with their own transport.
What should I consider when choosing an installer?
- There are two independent inspection organisations identified in police policy. These are the SSAIB and NSI. Always chose an installer who is accredited by one of these. That way you can be sure that the installation will be professionally installed and meet all of the latest British and European standards.
- Ask when their latest inspection was and how did it go? At Electronic Security Installations Ltd we are proud to have been awarded the SSAIB Certificate of Excellence. This is in recognition of the high quality of our installations and admin procedures.
- In addition accreditation ensures that ALL staff have been security vetted to BS7858:2006 and the police have confirmed that they are considered suitable for employment in the security installation industry.
- We would always advice that you obtain at least 2 written quotations. You might chose 1 from a national company, and we would recommend choosing a local company for your second quote as in our experience smaller organisations offer good value for money and better levels of customer service. Also many people prefer to entrust their security to a local company. At Electronic Security Installations Ltd we love the fact that we can give a great level of customer service; we are big enough to have the expertise and manpower, and yet small enough to see all of our customers as individuals.
- Ask whether you would be buying or just renting the equipment. If you chose Electronic Security Installations Ltd all equipment is sold to you outright.
- Ask if there is a “tie-in” period. What will subsequent years cost, and what is the minimum contract term. If you choose a remotely monitored system from Electronic Security Installations Ltd the first year costs are shown on the quotation. We hope that you will be delighted with us and will renew with us year after year, but if you change your mind just let us know a few months before the end of the 12 months. Once you get into Year Two we are happy to take the payments by monthly standing order to spread the cost, and if you want to cancel at any time all we ask is for 3 months notice. That’s all, no high pressure sales or complicated conditions, just an email or phone call!
- Ask friends, neighbours and collegues – there is no better recommendation than personal experience! Check out the testimonials on the website too. At Electronic Security Installation 89% of our business last year came from existing clients and recommendations – confirmation that we’re getting it right!
- Does the company offer 24/7 call-out service with emergency attendance within 4 hours? Any company registered with the SSAIB or NSI will. The latest figures for Electronic Security Installations Ltd show that over the last 12 months we have been averaging a response time for emergency call-outs of 60 minutes. We achieve this by concentrating on our local area of Cheshire, High Peak, North Derbyshire and South Manchester.
- Be wary of giving security information out over the phone to cold callers, especially those who claim to be “doing a survey”. Electronic Security Installations Ltd never cold call private homes. Your security arrangements are private and we fully respect that.
How do I know I can trust an alarm installer?
- Choose a company accredited by SSAIB or NSI. A stipulation of these bodies is that ALL staff are vetted to BS7858:2006
- Ask to see photo ID – at Electronic Security Installations we insist our engineers carry this at all times. Claire or Michelle in our office are always happy to phone you just before our engineer arrives so that you know who is knocking on your door.
- At Electronic Security Installations Ltd we take your security and privacy very seriously. Look at our testimonials and you will see that we never disclose our client names or addresses. You won’t find examples of our installations on our website, not because we are not proud of our work, but because client confidentiality is paramount.
Can I set my Burglar Alarm at Night?
Yes! If you choose Electronic Security Installations to install your alarm our engineer will programme different settings to suit you. Typically you will have a “full set” for when you go out, a night set for when you go to bed and maybe a part set for just one area of your premises.
Will my Pets set off my Alarm?
Pet Tolerant motion detectors can be installed to accommodate a limited number and size of house pets. If you ask Electronic Security Installations to quote for your intruder alarm remember to tell us about the 4-legged members of your family and we will design the system accordingly!
Will I get a reduction in my Insurance?
Which? Magazine conducted a survey in 2008 and found that most insurers offer a discount of between 2% and 15% on the cost of home contents insurance for homes with a professionally installed and maintained intruder alarm. You should be aware however that some insurers stipulate that the alarm must be set when the house is unoccupied. Electronic Security Installations Ltd can give you contact details for an insurance company who offers a discount on home insurance – ask when we quote. Many insurers insist on an alarm for business premises. They will often specify a GRADE of alarm – At Electronic Security Installations we are happy to design a system which satisfies your insurer’s requirements and we issue a certificate specifying the Grade to which your system has been installed.
How much will it Cost?
Burglar alarms vary significantly in price. At the bottom end of the market, you’ll find cheap DIY alarms costing under £50. You can also just put up a dummy bell box. These may deter amateur burglars but many criminals can recognize a dummy or DIY system and ignore it. A professionally logo on a bell box will always command more respect from a potential criminal and will therefore act as a stronger deterrent.
At the other end of the scale a sophisticated monitored systems with additional features that are installed by professionals can cost £1000 or even more.
The average cost to have an alarm installed is typically around halfway between the two extremes. You may find that the cost of fitting an alarm system is lower than you originally anticipated. If several houses in a street or Neighbourhood Watch are considering installing alarm systems, contact Electronic Security Installations Ltd as we may be able to offer a discount for multiple installations.
Will my alarm go off and annoy my neighbours?
In our experience the most common cause of alarms going off and causing distress to householders and their neighbours is power cuts, spiders on detectors and insecure doors. This is so easy to avoid! Good housekeeping, checking doors & windows before going out and a regular maintenance of the burglar alarm which ensure all equipment is working to its best ability and the back-up battery is able to power the alarm for a minimum of 8 hours in a power cut.
A professionally installed intruder alarm will have an external sounder that cuts out after 15 minutes. That’s the law!
Do you install Alarms in Business premises and private homes?
Yes! Electronic Security Installations Ltd have happy clients from all sectors; Offices, shops, warehouses, garden centres, Public sector such as schools and hospitals as well as private homes small and large.
What areas do Electronic Security Installations cover?
Our offices are in Whaley Bridge, and from there we cover The North West; High Peak, North Derbyshire, Cheshire, South Lancashire, South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Stockport, Macclesfield, Buxton, The Hope Valley, The Peak District, Cheadle, Hale, Altrincham……
If you’re not sure whether you are in our area please give us a call on 01663 719520 or fill in the form to the right of this page and we’ll be in touch.
How long does it take to install an alarm?
At Electronic Security Installations Ltd we allow time to ensure a neat and professional job. For a standard alarm assume it will take 2 days, longer for a larger or more complex installation.
How quickly can you come and install my new alarm?
At Electronic Security Installations Ltd we usually work on around a 4 week lead time. However, if it’s an emergency we will always do our very best to secure your property as quickly as possible.