I’m always a little surprised when I speak to security system veterans that have no idea what verification means and how important it is when it comes to safety. Don’t they know that they are sacrificing their safety without it? How about the possibility of added fees or legislation making it harder to have real security?
A lot of it isn’t their fault. It’s our fault as an industry. Verification is one of the most important aspects of electronic security. False alarms are one of the biggest problems in the industry. And police response? That depends on where you live. Some places are faster than others. In either case, a verified alarm is more likely to get you a response when you need it and that’s how you make sure your home security is really going to work when you need it!
Home security companies are so involved with selling and installing systems, too many forget about educated their clients. Training is important for anything new, and when it comes to protecting your home and family it couldn’t be any more important. Before you invest in any type of security system make sure your provider is teaching your family how alarms work in general. It doesn’t matter how elaborate your security equipment is, or how awesome the alarm monitoring is if you aren’t able to get the quickest response possible from the authorities.
Once you know how your security system works keeping you safe then you can learn about the other features that you will use every day. Once your security consultant goes over the basics have them go over the new smart home technology and features using your smartphone app.
Home automation and smart home technology are cool and convenient features, but your security and well-being are more important than anything else.
What is alarm verification?
Alarm verification is when you acknowledge your monitoring station when your alarm is triggered. This lets the central station know if it was an accidental alarm. It can also let them know if you are home or if you are in danger. Ultimately, it can let your alarm monitoring company know if your alarm is a real emergency and many other key pieces of information. It isn't just burglaries either, the picture in the introduction is one of an actual fire. By having a verified alarm, alarm monitoring can save lives!
Since most alarms are false alarms, security systems can be a pain to the local authorities! In fact, over 98% of alarm signals are false. Police officers have to make a judgement call and prioritize each call they get. It can be difficult to have them rush to a scene, sacrificing themselves, and the public, to danger, just to find out that someone accidently triggered their security system. False alarms are the reason verification is so important when it comes to getting the fastest response possible.
Different types of alarm verification
The most common way an alarm is verified is through your phone. This is when the central station calls you to let you know your system was activated by a potential intruder. The problem with this is many of us don't pick up our phones when we aren't familiar with the number.
One way to help this issue is by having your home security company give you the number the central station is calling you from and program the phone number into your phone. If you look at your phone and it says "Alarm!" you are probably going to pick it up.
Another way to help you address a possible break-in is by requesting getting a text message. If you have interactive services you should already be getting notifications for a possible home burglary. If you have basic security for your home your security provider should still have the capability of notifying you with a text message. Most people who don't pick up their phone will still look at their phone when they receive a text.
Since most false alarms are user error and real emergencies are so important you can use different technology for alarm verification as well. The benefit of alarm monitoring is the response. Without a response, your security system is nothing more than a noise maker. Instead of using the same technology that has been around for years you can take advantage of some of the better ways to avoid false alarms and increase your response to an actual emergency.
2 way Audio Verification
One of the most affordable ways to do this is by using 2-way voice technology. This is when your keypad acts as an intercom with your central station. When the alarm is triggered the first thing your monitoring station will do is have a live operator speak through your keypad. If it is a false alarm you will simply give your safety word and they will cancel the alarm and the dispatch.
If it is a real emergency this can be a huge help. If you are home and you respond with a duress password the operator will act as if everything is OK and let police know you are in a bad situation. If you don't have a duress password any other word other than the code word should be used in the same manner. Often times, a 4 digit passcode is also programmed as a duress code. If someone forces you into your home and tells you to shut off your alarm you can act as if you are while putting in the durress code instead. One warning. Duress alarms can not be called off so make sure you don't mix up these codes.
If you aren't home and the live operator is signalled through your keypad they will listen in from the keypad. The audio should be magnified with a 2-way system so they can hear a lot further than a traditional intercom, This audio is recorded and can be used to get a quicker response from the police and can be used in some cases for prosecution.
You never know what is said when someone breaks in. If it is more than 1 person they may speak to each other leaving clues for a later arrest if they aren't caught at the scene. Names can be heard and voices may be familiar. In my opinion, 2-way voice is one of the best upgrades because it is usually more affordable than other features. Some security companies will even include this technology in many of their packages.
If you want to take your safety a step further, visual verification is the way to do it. There are a couple of ways you can add this service to your home security. If you have the budget, you can have video cameras that will notify you with a streaming image. Many security companies offer monitored video cameras as well. This will let a professional view the image and dispatch police. With this type of verification, you can not only avoid most false alarms but you can increase the chance of arrest. When police know there is an active crime they are more likely to get to the crime at the fastest rate possible. When they know it isn't a false alarm and the criminal is on the scene they are likely to catch them.
Another more affordable way to add visual verification is by adding an upgraded motion detector that takes pictures. This piece of equipment is called an image sensor and is one of the groundbreaking pieces of equipment available today! While this isn't streaming video, it is a way to see if a person triggered the alarm or if it was the cat.
Most people will use the image sensor to verify their alarms as well as their loved ones coming home! Once the image sensor is activated the image will be sent to your smartphone so you have a much higher chance of getting help when you need it and avoid false alarms. The image sensor isn't being monitored by your alarm monitoring company but it is still letting you know what's going on. If you aren't home using 2-way technology then you still want to make sure you answer your phone when the central station calls.
Make Sure Your Home Security Works!
Smart home security technology is still making great advancements and verified alarms are one way to make sure your security works. You can use these types of verification on their own, or in combination. As long as your able to respond to the situation that's all that is important.
Avoiding false alarms is also helpful to you. You will avoid costly fines that can add up. Even more important, you can make sure that permit fees and other measures aren't put in place in your area. There are many cities that don't get a response from their local authorities without visual verification. Others have to pay armed guards to notify the police if it is a legitimate emergency. Or even worse, you're put on a "list" for excessive false alarms and your response slows down when there is a real emergency.
Alarm verification is the best way to increase your response time with any home security system. Remember, it doesn't matter how great your equipment or service is if your police response isn't as fast as possible. Make sure you know how to verify your alarm and avoid a possible disaster.
If you want to learn more abut verification you can always call us at 317.559.3500 and we will be glad to answer any of your questions. At All About Security, we specialize in verified security to help get our client's the fastest real response time. You can find us on Facebook and sign up for our blog to get more of these articles and help us make the world a safer and better place.
Until next time...stay safe and informed Indianapolis!