When a security alarm is triggered, police response time is influenced by three main factors: security system quality, monitoring center quality and police protocol. Read on for details that can help you get emergency help as quickly as possible.
SECURITY SYSTEMS AND MONITORING CENTERS
What does “response time” mean in the home security industry? It does not refer to police arrival time. Rather, response time describes how quickly a security monitoring center handles potential security breaches: the time taken to receive alerts, process information and contact authorities. The best security companies get the job done in under a minute. With wireless DIY systems, owners can help prevent delay of the first step — receiving alerts — through the smart placement of their base stations. (A common mistake is keeping the base station in a closet, which limits its range.) For the next steps — evaluating alerts and contacting authorities — the best home security companies use efficient technologies and ensure that well-trained operators are readily available.
LAWS, POLICE PROTOCOL AND RESPONSE TIMES
Home security response times may be influenced by local alarm-related laws. For example, Verified Response (VR) laws have been enacted because false alarms are problematic: When police are speedily dispatched to non-emergency situations, community resources are wasted. VR laws prioritize alarms that are accompanied either by eyewitness reports, audio or video of the crime. Therefore home security systems with panic buttons, audio and video monitoring are advantageous. Laws can also require that security companies try to rule out false alarms before dispatching police. Thus security monitoring services that use text messaging can speed up emergency dispatching.
Whatever your budget, you can choose a home security system known for fast response.
Here are features to look for.
You return home, toss your keys on the table, and leisurely turn off your alarm system. A thirty second delay is a long time, especially for intruders who study how to disable alarm systems. So the best home security systems with ultra-fast response times offer Adjustable Delay. This feature allows you to adjust the preset delays to suit your needs.
Smash and bash the control panel — a go-to move for criminals. With Tamper Protection, your control panel and other devices have built-in tamper detection. If they’re rattled, shaken, smashed — or if the wiring is disturbed— the alarm sounds and alerts are sent. This allows the monitoring center to take immediate and direct action to protect you and your home.
Cellular Monitoring is the industry standard for reliable coverage and lighting-fast response times. No landline is required. Instead, your home security system connects to cell towers in the area (just like a cell phone) to deliver around-the-clock protection. The best systems with cellular monitoring send immediate alerts and are processed in a matter of seconds. Rest easy, help is on the way.
Redundant Monitoring is a powerful feature that brings in back-up when needed. Multiple servers, strategically located monitoring centers — and even assigning a landline to backup a cellular connection — are all forms of redundant monitoring. Rapid response requires a secure connection and a reliable monitoring center. That’s why redundancy is key when it comes to home security.
It’s no secret that top home security companies hire the best of the best. In an effort to deliver superior service and fast response times, High Quality Staffing cannot be overlooked. So companies scour the field searching for highly-skilled, reliable, and trustworthy emergency responders. If you’re looking for speedy response, don’t forget to assess the people behind the products and services.
Help is on the line mere moments after the glass shatters. That is, if your home is outfitted with Glass Break Sensors. These helpful home security devices ensure the fastest response times possible. Simply mount the sound-sensitive devices near your windows. They constantly listen for the frequency of breaking glass. When triggered, the alarm sounds and help is summoned before your home is looted.
Get help at the push-of-a-button with Panic Buttons. Panic buttons are ideal for elderly folks who live alone. Mount them in the shower, in the kitchen, near stairs, and other high-risk areas — and help is always close at hand. They also help during instances of home-invasion. A streamlined way to sound the alarm and send alerts, panic buttons are critical for reliable and rapid response.
Get quick-draw home security with Remote Control. This wireless technology puts your home security controls in your pocket or purse. That’s right, many companies offer keychain-sized remote control devices that let you arm and disarm your system, summon help with an emergency alert button, and control other security functions. If you want fast response times, remote control has your back.
The best security systems with fast response times all have something in common. That is, Mobile Access. This enables you to tap into your system on-the-go. Access, monitor, and control features like indoor/outdoor security cameras, smart lights and thermostats, door locks, and the security system itself. Mobile access takes the top features and puts them in your smartphone.
As Managing Editor for SafeHome.org, Rob Gabriele has written and edited over 1,000 articles in home security. His expertise is in smart home automation and home protection with thousands of hours of testing and research under his belt. Formerly a reporter and producer for the USAToday network, Rob has been a writer and editor for over 10 years. He holds a Master’s of Science with an emphasis on writing from the University of Montana, and he currently lives in the Reno/Tahoe area of Nevada.