Should You Monitor Your Security System Yourself?

Should You Monitor Your Security System Yourself?


Hello everyone, Mark McLeroy from Patriot
Electronic Security Systems here. Today we have a real hot button issue in the alarm
industry that we’re gonna talk about, and that is should you monitor your security alarm
system yourself. Now a lot of you might not even know what
I mean when I say “monitor your security alarm system yourself”. Well, there’s a very good
reason why you wouldn’t know what I’m talking about. Because the source where most of you
get your information about security systems would rather shoot themselves in the foot
than mention this topic to you. People get the information they know about security systems
from security alarm dealers. Be it talking to a dealer one on one, or viewing a dealer’s
video on YouTube (like you’re doing now) your information about security systems usually
comes from someone in the business. Now here is the part of the video where some
of the security system dealers out there watching this video are going to cringe as I talk because
some of them are under the archaic belief that what I’m about to say is some sort of
trade secret. So dealers brace yourselves, here it goes. Security alarm companies generally
do not make money selling alarm systems. They make their money selling security alarm monitoring.
There! It’s out there. And as for those dealers cringing now, relax. It’s not a secret, and
it hasn’t been since the internet went public over twenty five years ago. So it’s no surprise that when we debate about
the pros and cons of monitoring your own alarms system, alarm dealers vigorously argue against
the concept. Now before I throw my two cents in on the matter let me just explain to you
what security alarm self monitoring is. Self monitoring is when a customer chooses to monitor
their security system themselves instead of having a professional central station monitor
it. The system sends an alarm event to the customer directly usually in the form of an
e-mail or more preferably a text message. Now this argument is only for residential
burglar alarms. No one should seriously consider self monitoring a commercial alarm for their
business. Chances are the fire department and your insurance company aren’t going to
let you get away with it anyway. So, now that we know what self monitoring
is, I’m going to give you the pros and cons of the topic as I see them. First we’ll start
with the pros. The Advantages of monitoring your security
system yourself are: One, It’s cheaper. It saves you money. Anywhere
from Three Hundred and Sixty to as much as Seven Hundred and Twenty dollars a year, depending
on the leveling of monitoring you have. So the savings can be significant. And Two, you may be less likely to have the
police and or fire department dispatched in the event of a false alarm. Which can save
you even more money because many, if not most municipalities, are now fining the homeowners
(or renters) for responding to excessive false alarms. And there a wide range that these
fines fall into. They can be anywhere from Fifty to as high as (believe it or not) Three
Thousand dollars! That’s right, Fairfax County, Virginia, check it out on their website. Now
I don’t know of any municipality here in Westchester county, New York where the fines get that
high, and even in Fairfax, Virginia, the fines only reach that level after your Twenty Fifth
false alarm in a Twelve month period. But the bottom line is the false alarm fines are
a factor. Now before I go into the cons of monitoring
your own security systems let me tell you my stance on the topic now, because the information
to follow I’ll use to support my opinion. I’m a security alarm dealer so naturally I’m
am going to recommend that you don’t self monitor your security alarm. And yes, if you
did, it would certainly cut into my bottom line. Now, with that said let me present to
you the typical arguments that one hears in the industry against self monitoring, and
one argument of mine that I have never heard anyone else mention. When you self monitor your security system
in exchange for saving the cost of monthly monitoring you are accepting responsibility
for receiving and reacting to any event your security systems transmits. Now ask yourself
this, in the course of your day are you available to read each and every text message that you
receive as soon as it comes in? Have you ever missed a text message come in and not notice
it until a half hour or an hour later? Have you ever had to put your phone on silent because
you had a meeting you had to attend? Sure it happens all the time. There are just certain
times we can’t jump on a text as soon as it comes in. And it’s easy to say that your gonna
be more proactive about monitoring your text message, or your e-mail, or your cell phone’s
incoming calls if you start to self monitor your security systems; and you probably will
the first two or three weeks. But then as life goes on and you receive several thousand
text messages from everybody but your security system, after awhile you’re going to return
to a less heighten state of alert to your cell phone. Remember, when your security alarm
goes off, time is of the essence. If you notice the alert an hour after it was transmitted
to you, you might as well not have noticed it at all. The next argument against self monitoring
is what if you are actually part of the emergency. If instead of being away from the house at
the time of a burglary you were actually home (this is usually referred to as a home invasion).
What good is the alarm going off or you getting to a panic button if all the system is going
to do send you a text message. Furthermore, if your security system also has fire, smoke
and carbon monoxide protection, and you are home during one of those emergencies, the
fact that the system sends you a text message may not do you a bit of good if you are already
trapped by flames or incapacitated by smoke or Carbon Monoxide. And finally for the point that I never hear
mentioned, what if you yourself are not home but your pet, or worse yet a family member
is and there is a smoke or Carbon Monoxide event. You have to ask yourself do you want
to except the responsibility of being at the ready, in front of your cell phone, prepared
to respond when that event occurs. Remember, you can’t miss the text, you can’t be distracted,
you need to be able to drop everything at any given moment and deal with the situation.
Do you call home first or do you call the emergency responders? Are you going to be
able to keep a cool head through the entire ordeal? And if something did happed and you
did miss the text and there was a delay in your response, are you going to be able to
come to terms with the consequences? As you can see there’s a lot more to monitoring
a security system than finances. And I have to say, it kinds irks me a little when I see
these internet based do-it-yourself alarm companies out there posting YouTube videos,
marginalizing central station monitoring. Their videos are actually trying to pass it
off as some type of hassle and unnecessary expense. And they’re trying to convince you
that self monitoring is just as reliable and hassle free. Well being a slave to your cell
phone every minute of the day isn’t exactly what I call hassle free. And ask these companies
if self monitoring was just as reliable why can’t you install their system in a commercial
application and get your insurance company and the fire department to approve it? Oh,
and as for you residential customers out there, you know that discount you get on your homeowners
insurance for having a monitored security system installed in your house? You won’t
be getting that either with a self monitored security system. And why not you ask? Because
your insurance company and the fire department know that self monitoring is not as reliable
as central station monitoring. Now I do want to say that there are quite a few internet based do-it-yourself alarm
companies out there that do offer central station monitoring at least as an option,
and my frustrations aren’t directed at them because they do not try to convince people
that central station monitoring is a waste of money. But as far as those other companies
out who there trying to pass off self monitoring as reliable as a central station, if any of
you would like to debate this topic with me on a live stream YouTube event, gentleman,
you know where I am……

3 Replies to “Should You Monitor Your Security System Yourself?”

  1. Agree with what you are saying here, self monitoring can prove a false economy, there seems to be only 2 x alternatives, monitor yourself, or pay a company to do it for you, We at Dadtech have designed and patented a third way, effective external monitoring by outsiders looking on, at the moment all that is available is a loud, annoying alarm sounder, which tells them, the alarm has been activated, that's it! The inprover system will give outsiders / onlookers much more information, external indication of internal activation, ie, actual internal movement using the existing PIR`s, this will distinguish a real alarm, from a false alarm, to an outsider who can inform the police, or take action, search inprover on youtube.

  2. in 2019 you can purchase an IP BAT and hook your existing alarm to your internet and send you notification to an app, problem i'm finding is no alarm company will sell me the board without paying them a monthly fee, what's the point of self monitoring when i have to pay someone a fee? i'm willing to buy the module for $100, i dont need their monthly fee, are they blowing smoke ?

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