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Security Alarm System Definitions

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So you can have a better understanding of what we are talking about when discussing home security systems, we have included a glossary that includes definitions of some of the more common elements that are typically included in the systems that are designed to protect your home. Scroll down or choose definitions from the glossary right below.

 

Alarm Monitoring - When an alarm is triggered by an intruder or fire, a signal is sent to a team of operators who will then get the proper authorities notified immediately. There are several different alarm system monitoring companies that you can choose from. Most of these home security companies have a national scope.
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Alarm System - This is a basic definition that has a broad scope. An alarm system is essentially any mechanism or series of mechanisms that trigger an alert that there is a problem in the house. A home security alarm can be one of the first lines of defense when it comes to invasions or the threat of fire.
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Battery Back-up - A battery back-up is part of the control panel in most home security systems. The battery back-up keeps the home security system operational if there is an electrical failure. Otherwise, there wouldn't be any bells or whistles when something goes wrong.
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Bells/Sirens - Visual and audible bells can alert your family and neighbors that there is a problem in your home. Another sound might be the 'chirp' that is sounded when contacts have been broken.
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Burglar Alarm - A burglar alarm is an electrical system that is primarily used to scare off burglars with a loud noise. If it is a monitored burglar alarm then the local authorities will be notified at the time of the incident. When installed, it might be a good idea to advertise the fact that there is a burglar alarm in the house. If a burglar sees that the home has a home security alarm system installed then they will be less likely to want to deal with that particular home.
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Carbon Monoxide Detector or Monitor - Carbon Monoxide is odorless and colorless. This is why it is sometimes referred to as the "silent killer." A monitored carbon monoxide detector can alert authorities when high levels of this deadly gas have been detected. The device monitors the presence and levels of carbon monoxide gas in a particular area. If carbon monoxide is detected then an alarm is sounded.
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Carbon Monoxide Monitoring - If the Carbon Monoxide Monitor is tripped then a signal will be sent to dispatch and the proper authorities will be alerted so that EMS (Emergency Medical) can respond to your situation. If your carbon monoxide monitor goes off, don't wait for EMS to arrive. Get everyone out of the house as quickly and safely as possible.
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CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) - A video surveillance system that allows you to watch certain areas of your home. CCTV is mostly used for businesses but can also be employed as part of a home security system.
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Central Monitoring Center - This is the dispatch center where distress signals are received. It is operational 24 hours a day. Once the central monitoring center receives a distress signal, they will immediately call the home in order to make sure that it was not a false alarm. Then, if there is an emergency, they will notify the proper authorities right away.
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Chime or Bell Mode - A programmable internal system that lets you know if someone has entered a zone while the system is disarmed. These are used in the disarmed mode for a variety of reasons. One of the best uses for the chime or bell mode is to let you know that someone has opened a door. It's a good way to keep track of teens or to know if a toddler has entered a portion of the house that is not safe, such as a backyard with a swimming pool. However, you should never use your chime or bell mode as your only way to safeguard your children from dangers such as swimming pools. If you have small children and a swimming pool then there are many steps that you should take in order to try to keep them safe.
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Contacts - Contacts are hidden devices that detect the opening of protected windows and doors. When the contact is broken, there is a chime if the home security system is disarmed. If the system is armed, there can also be a chime or bell but with the system armed, a signal will also be sent to the central dispatch center.
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Control Panel - The control panel runs the show. The control panel is the "brains" of the home security system. The alarm company will typically install the control panel inside a closet or some other concealed area of your home. The installer will survey your home in order to find the most appropriate place to install the control panel.
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Digital Video Monitoring System - These are video security systems that can be used with a VCR, DVR, or personal computer. You can use a wireless surveillance camera in order to tape actions that occur in a designated area and have those actions recorded and played back by using a VCR, DVR or PC. Some systems are 'motion sensitive' so that they only start recording if there is something going on. This saves tape on a video cassette and space on a DVR or PC.
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Door and Window Contacts - When a door or window is opened, a contact sensor is triggered, and a signal is sent to dispatch if the system is alarmed. When the system is not turned on, a chime will sound. Your control panel can keep a log of when these contacts were broken so that, if you choose, you can keep track of when your kids leave or come home. This can come in handy if you happen to have teens. Just keep in mind that teenagers can be fairly crafty and they are generally good with modern day electronics. They have been known to reprogram a home security system so that their comings and goings go unnoticed. You might want to take this into consideration when setting your password.
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DVR - A Digital Video Recorder (DVR) is an electronic device that records video and saves it on a computer hard disk. You can use a DVR in conjunction with a video monitoring system so that sequences of time can be recorded and played back at your convenience. Make sure that your DVR hard disk has adequate storage capacity.
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DVR CCTV Recorder - Records action on a surveillance camera on closed circuit television so that it can be seen later. This type of DVR is typically used in malls and other shopping places but can come in handy for home security systems as well.
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Electronic Surveillance System - These systems can protect homes from break-ins, burglary, and assault. They are commonly referred to as home security systems and can include burglar alarms that notify the police, wireless security cameras or CCTV, and a variety of other devices. An electronic surveillance system usually includes wireless security cameras.
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Emergency Phone - Some home security monitoring companies offer phones for emergency assistance and personal alarms. Other products may include the medical emergency pendant or the panic button. These 'emergency phone systems' are meant to speed up the process of alerting the authorities that you are in need of help. For example, if you are in your garden and you start to feel faint and think that you may be having a medical emergency, you can use your mobile device in order to summon help right away. If you have a panic button, you might need to use it in a portion of your property that is not monitored by your home security system. For instance, if you are in the yard and a stranger hops over your fence.
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Emergency Response Locator - This is a sign that you put in your yard in order to help deter burglars and also to help fire, police and medical personnel find your home quicker. These signs should be marked with reflective numbers and should be easy to spot whether it is day or night. It does no good to summon the police or fire departments if they can't find your home!
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Fire Detector and Alarm - Fire alarms detect smoke and/or heat. If it is a monitored system then it can send a signal to a monitoring center. The persons responsible for monitoring the alarms can then notify the fire department or other emergency responder to come to your aid. Fire detectors should be thoroughly tested at least once per year.
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Glass Break Detectors - These are devices that trigger an alarm when the sound or vibration of breaking glass is detected. When the sound is detected an alarm can be sent to a Local Monitoring Station if the sensor is part of a monitored home security system. This is an extra layer of defense that many homeowners choose to pass up. The door and window contacts can only go so far. If a burglar breaks a ground floor window, they can gain entrance without disrupting the contacts.
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Handheld Remote - If you have a hand-help remote control then you can arm or disarm your home security system. Some remotes can also be used in order to open your garage door or turn on the lights in your home. The type of remote control that you choose is completely up to you. You can even choose to not have one at all.
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Heat Detectors - Heat detectors can determine excessive heat in your house or building. This can be a stand alone fire detection system or can work in conjunction with other security systems. Excessive heat can be a precursor to combustion.
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Home Security System - This refers to a complete system that secures a home from various threats including home intrusion. There are basically two different types of home security systems. There are the DIY (do it yourself) systems and then there are the alarm company monitoring systems. Which one you choose is up to you but be sure to do your homework before choosing!
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Interior Sounder/Bell - This is a siren or bell in your home that will notify your family that there is a fire or an intrusion. It can be setup so that there are different sounding signals for each type of event. For instance, a very loud bell might ring throughout the house when the home security system is armed. When the system is not armed, a fairly quiet chime may sound.
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Keypad Panic Buttons - These are used in order to send out a silent alarm alerting the authorities that you are in need of assistance. These are typically used in convenience stores as 'the under the counter button' but they can also be installed as part of a complete home security system.
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Keypads - The keypad allows you to interact with your home security system. It can be placed in a hallway or somewhere in your home that is centrally located and convenient. The keypad is typically located close to the main entrance of your home so that you can turn off your alarm when you first come in the door.
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Light Activation - Some home security systems can turn on lights when an intruder is detected. On some systems, lights can also be turned on with a remote control. If a burglar enters your home and all the lights immediately go on, nine times out of ten they will simply do an 'about face' and march right back out the door.
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Low Temperature Sensors - Alerts a monitoring center when the temperature inside your home drops below a specified level. This can come in handy if you live in an area where the outside temperature frequently dips down below freezing.
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Medical Emergency Pendant - A MEP is a handy device that can be used in order to summon help if you become incapacitated. You wear these on your wrist or around your neck. If you fall, and you can't get up, you can use your medical emergency pendant in order to summon help.
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Motion Detector - When they are turned on, motion detectors can sense intruders within your home. If you have a monitored motion detector, authorities can be summoned when an intruder is detected. Motion detectors can usually be programmed so that they will only go off if a large animal or person sets them off. This helps to cut down on false alarms.
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Paging Features - Some home security systems employee a paging feature that can alert you if there is an intrusion or fire. This can come in handy if you are at work or school. A large portion of burglaries and home invasions take place while the homeowner is at work during the day. You should use caution with these devices. If you receive a page that your alarm has gone off, you shouldn't just rush home and enter your house. There might be a burglar in there!
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Phone Activation - Some security systems can be turned on and off over the phone. This could come in handy if you are away on vacation and you need to let the neighbor enter your home to take care of your animals. It can also come in handy if you arrive at work only to remember that you forgot to activate your home security system!
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Smoke Detectors - Gives early detection of a fire by an audible warning. They typically will detect smoke, other products or combustion. When used in conjunction with a home security monitoring company, emergency services can automatically be alerted that you have a possible fire. If your smoke detector uses a battery, you should have a certain day of the year that you religiously use to change the batteries.
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Two-way Keypad - This is a device that can check the status of your security system from outside your home.
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Home Security Subjects

Choosing an Alarm Company

D.I.Y. Do it Yourself Security System Questions and Answers

Monitoring Company Vs. DIY Home Security System Installation

Alarm System Definitions

Crime Prevention Tips

Various Burglary Statistics

About 'Free' Security Systems

Do I Need a Security System?

Home Security Common Sense

How Home Security Systems Affect your Homeowners Insurance

Information for Renters

Neighborhood Watch Systems

Fire Protection for your Home

More Security Info...

 

 

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