Your Burglar Alarm Should Not Share

Another key consideration in alarm system design is to ensure that every alarm detection device (your door contacts, window contacts, motion detectors, glassbreaks, smoke detectors, etc.) is assigned to its own zone. Most systems that we look at for prospective clients ‘share’ zones… (so that the front and back door might be zone 1, all upstairs windows are zone 2, etc.)

While this saves a little money up front, and saves the installer a few hours, it poses  several risks and reduces the value that your alarm is capable of offering.

In the case of a Provident installed alarm, determining whether an alarm is an actual burglary is instantly evident as we receive many different signals that literally tell us exactly what is happening at your home. Conversely, in a system that shares zones, we might only recieve a single zone trip, even though five or six different detectors were tripped. With the new 911 policy, this will have a major impact on the speed at which the Police will attend. In addition, for our own dispatches, we priortize alarms based upon the number of zones being received. Basically, the more zones being tripped increases the probability of an alarm being the result of an actual burglary.

Another good reason to ensure that every device is assigned to its own zone is to aid in future service. Should you ever have a problem with a particular zone, the technician will have significantly more work to do when they try to troubleshoot the issue because the zone in question could be any one of a number of devices. This requires each device to be disconnected so that they can be re-connected one at a time in an effort to isolate the problem. Typically, the cost of this work well after the fact is more expensive than simply isolating all devices while everything is working well.

The majority of burglar alarms can be easily upgraded with expansion modules (which typically allow for 8 additional zones per module) so that we can easily ‘split out’ your system so that it can communicate more effectively.

A third benefit is that bypassing zones becomes much simpler when you can isolate each device one at a time. This means that in the summer time when you might want to bypass three windows in your home to allow for airflow, you can bypass only the specific windows you want without running the risk of other devices also being bypassed.

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