How to Protect Yourself
The following list is full of great tips and insider information on Security Systems. There are so many choices out there; which do you choose? As consumers, we are faced with getting a good value for things that are reliable and not getting ripped off. Quite a balancing act. I feel like I need a degree just to make a simple purchase. And there is no place to go that has real information. I need some help making an informed, confident decision that I can feel good about for a long time. Is that too much to ask?
So here is a list of tips, facts, and things to watch for that have helped me.
1. Secure Signals: Not all security systems are created equally. When I researched wireless systems (which is all the DIY systems out there) I discovered that the QOLSYS and the INTERLOGIX equipment are the only ones that have their own frequency. So who cares? I do. By having my own frequency, it means that other electronics can’t accidently or PURPOSELY interrupt my alarm signal. The frequency is 319.5 MH and is exclusive to these systems. Other alarms work on common frequencies, which means their systems can have interference and malfunctions.
2. Crash & Smash Protection: I want a system that will still work, even if a burglar tries to sabotage it. Don’t you? If someone breaks into my house and rips my alarm off the wall or smashes it on the floor, I really need it to work. The cellular communication called ALARM.com is the only one that can do that. If a criminal breaks your alarm, the Alarm.com still notifies police. I saw a photo of an alarm door with a bullet hole in it. The caption read “Alarm.com- Faster than a Speeding Bullet!” The creeps shot the alarm with a 45 and it still worked, called the police and they were arrested on site. Cool! That is what I want my alarm to do.
3. Direct Communication: Some systems offer a built-in speaker so the operator can talk to me if I am having an emergency. That seems like a good feature. The operator can verify I need help, so no false alarms. If I am not home, they can ask for ID and call police if they hear noises, but no one answers. If it’s me and I need help, help is on the way. If it’s not me, police are coming to arrest the bad guys in my house.
4. Reliable Communication: All alarm contracts say that you should test your system each month and you are responsible to make sure it’s communicating. Who does that? I want a system that will test itself and let me know if there is a problem. You should get a text or a call if there is an issue.
5. Easy to Use: I need something easy to use. I can’t be fumbling for the right combination of buttons while my alarm is blaring or my hands are full of grocery bags. I need it easy. But still smart enough to do all the things I want from my alarm. I want it to turn on my lights, save energy by controlling my thermostat and notify me when the kids come home from school.
6. One App: I do want all the bells and whistles. I like a door with a push button lock. I want to save energy with a smart programmable thermostat. I would like a camera so I can check up on things. But what I don’t want is 10 different apps on my phone to make everything work. Give me ONE APP that will do everything. I am not a techy wizard. I just want it all to work and work with one button.
7. 5 Diamond Monitoring: If I am going to pay for my system to be monitored by a company, it needs to be the best and have the best rating. We all look at ratings and reviews now. So there are only a handful of monitoring companies in the country with the highest rating of 5 Diamond. They get the rating for their response time, efficiency, training and competency. The best 5 Diamond Rated companies also have redundant stations. So with hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, fires, floods, etc., my emergency is automatically routed to another company, instantly. The more redundant stations, the better. My company has 5 stations.
8. Universal Connectivity: Ever had an alarm and wanted to switch companies because they weren’t doing a good job? Pretty common, I think. Well a lot of the huge alarm companies have systems made just for them. Guess what? That means if you want a new company, you have to put in new equipment and start all over again with a contract. Some companies are using Chinese Zigby for their “smart home” services. Well, it seems pretty dumb to me. I’m done with all of that. Just let me buy my system and make the companies do good work if they want my business.
9. History of Success: One company I dealt with insisted on putting in their own system, then went out of business. So I had to toss that system and get something else. Make sure you read the reviews and check the history of whom ever you hire. Now a-days, everyone is merging, getting bought out or just going out of business. I need a reliable company with a solid background in security to protect me and my family.
10. No Long Contract: I don’t want to be tied down to a company with no idea if they will take care of me. I don’t want a long contract. It is like they don’t have to perform, just force me to stay with them no matter what. If you have confidence that you will do a good job, then you should have faith that I will be loyal. But don’t force me into an arranged marriage and expect me to be in love with you!
11. A Real Alarm Company: Why in the world would anyone go to their TV company for security? I can’t figure that one out. What do they know about making sure I am safe? How long will it take them to answer my emergency call, when I get put on hold for 30 minutes every time I call about my cable going out. My cable company is just mediocre about cable. Why would I think they would be exceptional with alarms? Find a company that just sells Alarm Systems. You need an expert when it comes to your safety.
So use these tips to find a good company and do a little research. Ask questions. By the way, if someone says “I love my alarm company, I never have false alarms”, BEWARE. They say that is a warning that it’s not actually working! Who knew???