How Security Systems Work

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How security systems work isn’t rocket science, but providing real security which is effective requires a professional plan. An Alarm System consists of:

  • A control panel (the brains of the system)
  • A digital dialer
  • A battery backup (which keeps it working for a period of time during power outages)
  • A keypad for arming and disarming the system
  • A siren
  • Detection devices

Three types of security systems

  1. Hardwired Security Systems: All detection devices installed at a location are hardwired to the control panel (a wired alarm system). This hardwired system provides signal between the devices and control panel as well as low-voltage to power the devices. A hardwired alarm system is always considered more reliable than wireless alarm systems.
  2. Wireless Security Systems: With wireless alarm systems, each device is powered by batteries and provides the signal to the control panel wirelessly. Wireless alarms are used if we can’t install wires where they are needed, or for very small spaces. While these systems may not offer the same reliability of hardwired systems or the visual aesthetic, hardwired systems just can’t be installed everywhere.
  3. Hybrid Security Systems: Allow hardwired solution where possible and wireless connections where wired solutions are impossible

Your control panel monitors for broken circuits when the alarm system is armed. A door or window opening or someone walking through an area protected by a motion sensor trips the circuit. If a circuit is broken when your system is armed, your alarm panel will trip. This causes your system to activate the siren and your system will notify the monitoring station. You may also receive near-instant notifications to your cell phone by push notification, text or email, depending on the alarm service and communication solution you have chosen.

What is the difference between an Alarm System and a Security System?

Alarms systems are really intrusion systems designed to detect entry to an area which is protected. Security systems are all encompassing and include alarm systems along with any number of additional security components such as

  • Camera systems.
  • Access control systems.
  • smoke detection.
  • fire detection (heat detectors).
  • freeze detection.
  • flood detection.
  • carbon monoxide detection.
  • bars, window films, gates.
  • motion-activated lighting.
  • security decals and signage.
  • and a whole lot more.

What is the purpose of having a monitored alarm system?

Peace-Of-Mind! Whether you are there or away, your security system can provide you with the comfort of knowing that all is well. This can result in better sleep, property awareness and improved safety and security. When an alarm is detected, your siren will sound to alert anyone inside the property, signals will be sent to the monitoring station who will work to contact those responsible for the property and even police or guard service depending upon where you live. Installing a security system can save as much as 20% off your insurance premiums!

How do alarm signals report to the monitoring station?

Your system dials a pre-programmed number for the monitoring station where response-operators have pop-up access to your address and contact information. Depending on the service you selected with your alarm company, this alarm communication to the response centre may be able to communicate via your home telephone line (hardwired landline) or via a dedicated cellular service or in rare cases via Wi-Fi internet access.

What types of devices can be monitored by my Alarm System?

  • Door and window sensors
  • Motion sensors
  • Glass break sensors
  • Smoke detectors
  • Carbon monoxide sensors
  • Medical alert buttons
  • Low and high temperature sensors
  • Water (flood) detectors
  • Panic buttons
  • Wireless remote key-fobs
  • And more

 What if I have pets?

Pets can be tricky depending on the type of pet. Dogs behave like dogs for the most part, but cats can sometimes seem more like monkeys, climbing high on furniture. Motion sensors are an important component in most security systems and have become highly advanced allowing for pet movement while still providing protection. Working together with your Security Advisor, the placement of motion detectors inside a home where pets are present is very important in providing reliable security, free from false alarms.

How do false alarms occur?

  • User error (87% of all false alarms)
  • Extreme weather conditions
  • Poor quality equipment installation

 Can the system be armed when we are inside the home?

Yes, every alarm system features the ability to arm the alarm whether you are there or not. I never go to sleep without having my alarm system armed.

What is the advantage of having a monitored smoke detector?

Every home has smoke detectors but those detectors are meant to keep you safe and alert you of fire when you are home. Once alerted, you can get out of the home safely and call the fire department. Sadly, when you are not home, those smoke detectors do very little to protect your home. Neighbours are unlikely to hear the noise and it isn’t until the fire inside the home builds to the point where windows blow out that the neighbours take notice.

With monitored smoke detectors you have the additional protection because your signals are sent to the monitoring station so they can dispatch the fire department – every second counts in the case of a fire. We find most homeowners want monitored smoke detection in addition to their regular smoke detectors if they travel a lot, are deep sleepers, have mobility issues or have pets. Remember, during a fire, your pets can’t just open the door to exit for safety. With monitored smoke detection as a part of your security system, your smoke detectors are continuously monitored through a 24-hour zone, even when your alarm system is not armed!

Are camera systems considered security systems?

No. Security systems are the primary method to detect problems at a property whether entry detection, movement detection, flood or fire detection and more. Camera systems are wonderful and while they can provide property awareness depending on the system, often it is after the fact. We all see camera footage on the news of someone in a hoodie and hat, wearing a medical mask to disguise who they are – it could be almost anyone and it has already happened.

With a security system, you have signage and sirens, even lighting that can be controlled as part of the system which provide a deterrent because thieves and intruders want to go undetected and therefore uncaught. By utilizing a well-designed security system for internal safety and security, and cameras for property awareness, you gain the best of both worlds offering you peace-of-mind for what is happening inside and outside your property. Having a camera system or video doorbell alone and thinking you have an effective security system is incorrect! Cameras should be considered the next best add-on for your monitored security system.

No-charge, on-site security consultation

Security is one of those things that shouldn’t be done by mail order. Developing a successful plan for security is best created by a licensed security advisor who has been trained to use the latest in security products to develop the appropriate level of security for your home or business. This is all completed as a no-charge, no obligation service from Thorn Security. Connect with us and let’s arrange a time and date to discuss your security needs, or just call us at 250-472-6443 so we can fast-track the appointment.

Talk to a security expert today!


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Thorn Security Ltd

9197 Mainwaring Rd, North Saanich, V8L 1J9.


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(+1) 250-472-6443

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