Electronic alarm systems are made up of three component parts designed to detect, determine, and deter criminal activity or other threatening situations. An alarm system can detect an event such as an invasion, fire, gas leak or environmental changes; determine if the event poses a threat; and then send a notification about the event.
The component of alarm systems that detect activity is called a sensor. Here are some common types of sensors that may be used to protect your home.
- Door and Window Contacts – Switches that indicate the opening or closing of a door or window. The switch is mounted to a door or window and is held closed by a magnet attached to the frame. When the door or window moves away from the magnet, the switch opens, and it is sensed by the alarm control panel.
- Motion Sensors – Detect movement or motion in a large room.
- Glass Break Detectors -Designed to constantly listen for the sound of breaking glass. When the glass break detector hears the sound pattern caused by shattering glass, it sends an electronic signal to the alarm control panel.
- Shock Sensors – Detect an intruder that is using force to pound through a wall, roof, or other area of the structure.
- Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors – Detect carbon monoxide; an invisible, odourless, colourless gas. Upon detection of CO, the sensor will send a signal to the control panel, which will then emit an audible alarm. A regular Gas Safety Check should be conducted as well as the alarm installation to make sure all gas outlets are safe and secure.
- Panic Buttons – Send an immediate, discreet call for help upon the press of a button.
- Environmental Sensors – React to the presence of water or sudden increases or decreases in room temperature.
- Smoke Detectors – Designed to detect fire. There are two types of detectors: ionization and photoelectric. The most common smoke detector, ionization, is best used to detect flaming fires without a lot of smoke. Photoelectric detection reacts to smouldering fires that produce large amounts of smoke. Both technologies are required to perform at the same level in a fire and provide the same amount of warning. The most effective smoke detector is one that combines both forms of detection.
- Keypad – Device that is used to arm and disarm an alarm system. Keypads are generally installed near the entrance or exit of home. If a door or window is opened when the system is activated, the keypad will immediately initiate an alarm.
The alarm system control panel is the brain of the system. It carries out the decide function by processing the information it receives from various sensors and responding accordingly. For example, if a door or window is open while the system is disarmed, the control panel ignores the event. But, if a window is opened while the system is armed, it will immediately respond by sending a signal to your alarm monitoring centre and triggering an audible alarm.
Alarm system panels have built in communicators that transmit and receive signals via a phone line. These signals are sent to a central alarm monitoring centre where trained dispatchers monitor alarm system signals. In the event of a triggered alarm, a dispatcher will contact you to verify the emergency and if necessary, contact the police or fire station on your behalf.
An alarm panel responds to a triggered alarm by activating physical alarms such as a siren and/or strobe lights. These devices are used to scare an intruder away from your premises or alert you of a threatening situation such as a fire or the presence of carbon monoxide.
The component parts of an alarm system work together to detect, determine, and deter danger in your home. To ensure your equipment will function properly in the event of an emergency, it is important to conduct regular testing on your systems.
What Is A Security System?
The most basic definition of any security system is found in its name. It is literally a means or method by which something is secured through a system of interworking components and devices.
In this instance, we’re talking about home security systems, which are networks of integrated electronic devices working together with a central control panel to protect against burglars and other potential home intruders.
A typical home security system includes:
- A control panel, which is the primary controller of a home’s security system.
- Door and window sensors
- Motion sensors, both interior and exterior
- Wired or wireless security cameras
- A high-decibel siren or alarm
Types of Alarm Systems
A manual alarm system is a basic ‘push and alert’ system. Once the alarm is activated manually by pressing a fixed or wireless remote button, remote command & control centres receive the alarm activation and dispatch a response team to your home or business immediately.
The basic alarm system has the following features:
- Three panic buttons wired directly to a transmitter that connects to a control centre.
- Remote button
An automatic alarm system is far superior to the basic manual alarm system. It allows for 24-hour coverage, regardless of whether the client is present at home or the office. Once a sensor is triggered, the signal is received at a remote command & control centre and a response team is dispatched immediately.
The automatic alarm system is triggered from a variety of sensors, such as magnetic door contacts, window vibration sensors and infrared motion sensors.
Other features of an automatic alarm system include:
- Control panel
- Exterior siren and strobe light
- Backup battery
- Wall keypad for arming and disarming
- Option of wired or wireless sensors
Panic Alarm Systems
Fixed or wireless panic buttons are normally installed in selected locations of the area to be secured. A local audible siren and a transmission unit will notify the neighbours or people nearby of distress in the area. Subsequently, an electronic radio signal is sent to a Command & Control Centre for prompt action from a selected service provider.
Automatic smoke, heat, gas, or combined sensors are installed in a location that allows for accurate detection and promptly activate an audible alarm. With strategically placed break glass switches that are connected to an alarm, anyone who sees a fire can break the glass, which will instantly activate an alarm.
Automatic systems are connected to sensors that are linked to a control panel that will activate an alarm and automatically initiate countermeasures—such as a sprinkler system—for quick and effective fire control.
Smoke Screen Systems
A smoke screen security system protects against burglary and criminal damage by releasing thick smoke that conceals valuables by blurring the vision of the intruder.
The immediate release of smoke will confuse and shock any intruder or burglar, leaving them no choice but to retreat from the property before they can attempt a theft. Smoke screen security systems are highly effective in stopping a burglary before it occurs.
These systems are beneficial for both residential and commercial properties.
Intruder Alarm Systems
Intruder alarm systems are designed to detect intrusion or unauthorised entry into domestic and commercial properties. This acts as a pre-emptive measure that provides an early warning of a potential threat.
The most basic alarm consists of one or more sensors to detect intruders and an alerting device to signal the intrusion.
Basic features include:
- Main alarm panel to arm (switch ON/OFF or disarm) alarm system.
- Motion sensors to detect unauthorised movement.
- Door contacts to detect opening of secured doors.
- Vibration sensors to secure windows (and in some cases walls) against forced physical entry.
- Siren/flasher unit (sound)