How much warning will your current security system give in the event of an emergency? If you have an older fire alarm system that isn't connected to emergency services, contacting 911 or your local emergency dispatch is completely up to you getting to a phone in time. If you don't have a security and fire system installed, you may be in a great position to install a great system from the ground up. Here are a few ways to modernize your fire safety and security alarm situation, either from a fresh installation or an upgrade.
The best fire and security system is installed after a comprehensive survey. It's easier to perform a survey with no previous systems installed and no infrastructure changes because there will be less incentive to rely on previous surveys.
If you're still paying for a previous system, it's not difficult to change your service responsibility to another provider. It's still a good idea to allow a security team to perform a new survey and site inspection—if not for a second opinion, then just to make sure that the new installation fits your property as closely as possible.
When planning a first-time installation, multiple areas of the home will be considered for sensors. For fire safety, your fire alarm sensors will be placed in common fire risk areas such as the kitchen, garage, bedrooms, and any workspaces where fire or electrical hazards could be a daily risk. The number of sensors can be increased to fit every area with electrical risk, and can be adjusted to be less sensitive to smoke or vapor for smokers and vaporizer users.
All of these sensors—including motion sensors attached to doors and windows—can be connected to an external alert system. These external alerts can contact emergency services such as 911, private security firms such as home security dispatch, and/or send alerts to your email and mobile devices.
In addition to fire safety and motion sensors, you can install a camera system that can record with different settings.
The most cost-effective surveillance system will turn on relevant cameras when motion is detected. This is a tripwire system of sorts, allowing cameras to activate if an intruder comes too close to a sensor.
A more comprehensive option involves cameras that are always on and always recording. Although energy conservation is an issue, most modern camera systems are power-intensive; the bigger cost is making sure that your surveillance system has a big enough video storage to support 24/hour recording. Even when overwriting old video, you have to worry about wear and tear of the storage system.
Contact a fire alarm services and security systems professional to discuss other security options.