How Alarm Systems Work

How Alarm Systems Work


Hey, DIYers. I’m Jorge from Alarm Grid. Today, I’m going to be going
over how alarm systems work. So alarm systems work by sending
out a signal to a monitoring station, or to the
interactive platform– depending what plan you get– whenever a sensor or
a zone is faulted. The sensor then reports
to the authorities. And then the dispatch,
or the police department, fire department– whatever– proper authorities that
need to be dispatched get sent out, depending on what
kind of monitoring you have. And you also just
need to make sure that the alarm
system you’re using has a way to send
out those signals. Most alarm systems
nowadays use either POTS, but we’re slowly now
moving over to internet and setting their systems only. So for instance, the alarm
system has central hubs. Central hubs is the main
part of the alarm system. So what you’re going
to see, all of these here are wireless systems. These are all the central hubs. And then the one of
the older style systems is one of the wired
systems that has the keypads out in the field,
by the front door, backdoor. But the main hub is
usually in the beige metal cabinet, which is
like this VISTA panel that we have over here. This is the general, or
the typical wired system, all the wires going into it. You can have wireless
devices, you just need a wireless receiver. So what is the purpose
of an alarm system? The purpose of the system is to
notify you or the authorities whenever an alarm goes off. Now there’s different sensors
for different applications. These systems can send
out different signals. So the systems can
send out Berg signals, which will dispatch the
police department if you’re being monitored. You can also have the
fire department dispatch, if you’re being monitored,
and the medical department– the ambulance–
dispatch whenever you guys have a medical
pedant, or anything like that. Now, there’s different
kind of sensors that will notify, or depending
on what the response type is that you set it to, will
notify the authorities or yourself on the type
of alarm that’s going off. So for instance, for Bergs– for Berg signals– we
usually have door, windows, motion sensors, glass break
sensors, and panic buttons. For fire department, we have
smokes, CO detectors, you also have a fire panic. And for medical, you also
have medical pendants. You have a medical panic on
the system, more than likely. There is also key fobs. The key fobs can be set
to set different panics and arm and disarm the system. Now, the different sensors that
you can add to these systems, they can be wired or wireless,
depending on– first of all, if they’re wired,
you need to make sure you have either
a wired system, or your wireless system has
some wire terminals built in. And if you’re going to
do wireless sensors, you need to make sure that your
system has a wireless receiver. Now for the wired
systems, you need to add that as a separate part. For the wireless systems, they
usually have the receivers already built in. A lot of these are
the wireless ones, and then the wired one
was the VISTA panel that I pointed to earlier. Now what happens when a sensor
is faulted or triggered? So whenever a sensor
is faulted, opened– for instance, if you guys
open up a door or a window, the first thing that the sensor
does is it sends out a signal. The system acts as a receiver. And it receives that signal. And then, depending on
what you have it programmed as, it can either
set off an alarm, it can start a delay period. It can set off the
alarm right away. So what I mean by setting
off the alarm right away and doing a delay period is
that if you guys are entering in through the front door and
you guys have a sensor there, you obviously don’t
want the alarm to go off, especially if that’s
the door you guys use to enter the house every single time. Because then, the alarm is going
to go off every single time. You can program sensors to have
a delay period so it gives you a certain time to get to the
alarm system to disarm it. You can also set some sensors
to set off an alarm immediately. So for instance, if you have
a window on the second floor, nobody should be
opening that window up while the system is armed. So you guys can automatically
set it to set the alarm off. Another thing you guys
can do, for instance, if you guys have any panic
buttons or anything like that, those can be programmed to
set the alarm off right away. So there’s different
kinds of programs that you guys can
do on the sensors. Depending on what
your is programmed as is going to basically tell
the system whether it should report out to the central
station right away, or if it should hold onto the
signal for a couple of seconds before notifying the
central station or you, if you have the interactive
service through the app. So now what happens when an
alarm occurs on a system? Well, the first
thing that the system does, if you’re monitored by
a central station, is it’s going to send the
signal directly to the central station
monitoring center, to the dispatch center. And a proper,
well-trained dispatcher should receive that
signal within, I’d say, about 15 to 20 seconds. That’s giving them enough
time to read the signal, let them know what’s going on, what
sensor it is that’s going off– going down the call list,
getting everything ready. They’ll go ahead
and start calling. And they’ll let you know,
hey, your front door alarm seems to be going off. Are you home? You then need to
provide the dispatcher with the proper
false alarm password if it is a false alarm. If it’s not a false alarm,
obviously, you probably want to have them
send the police department over to your house
to make sure what’s going on. Now, if you’re being
self-monitored, what happens if an alarm occurs? Well, if you’re doing
self-monitoring– meaning, you only have an
interactive app– well, the app can be set to
send you email or text message alerts. These email and
text message alerts, depending on how
many you have set up, can go to multiple people–
can go to one person– depends on what
you guys set it as. But most of these
systems, in order to have an interactive
app, do need to have an internet or
a cellular communicator. Now, this goes for both
the self-monitoring and the central
station monitoring. Now in days, more
often what you’ll see, is that these alarm
systems are using cellular and internet
communicators, which means that is what they’re
using to communicate to the central
station or to the app. They’re using a cellular
path, or an internet path. If you guys are doing
the interactive app, phone line will
not work with that. Phone line only works
for traditional style central station monitoring. And we also cover that. But nowadays, we’re
pretty much trying to get our people to go
to internet and cellular, as that’s more reliable
than phone line. So if you guys are
doing self-monitoring, you guys can set up
emails and text messages. And the alarm signal will
not go to a central station if you’re doing
self-monitoring only, because that’s not the way
that the system is programmed. So you guys can
choose and decide what you guys are looking for. Some people find that
central station monitoring is better for them if
they live in the city. Some other people that
live in suburban areas find that the closest police
station is 30, 40 minutes away. So they’d rather just get
self-monitored text messages and take the action into
their own hands– which is not recommended. We always recommend
central station monitoring. But we do offer both
plans, depending on what you guys plan to do. If you guys have
any more questions about the alarm systems– how they work, how
they send out signals– if you guys have questions
about our monitoring plans, feel free to email us at
[email protected] If you found the video helpful,
make sure you Like underneath. Subscribe to the YouTube channel
and enable notifications, so whenever we upload new
videos, you guys get notified. I’m Jorge, and I’ll
see you guys next time.

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