Built-in Dialer Delays Have No Place at American Alarm

American Alarm Central StationIn a recent blog post, we alerted readers to a weakness in many “all-in-one” (fire/burglar) home alarm systems.

The problem is that many major distributors and alarm monitoring companies have built-in dialer delays that prevent signals from being sent to the central station for up to four minutes after the alarm is tripped in the home.

Why? Because their systems are prone to false alarms and their distant monitoring centers can’t handle the volume. They delay transmission of an alarm signal to give the homeowner a chance to respond and correct the false alarm. This is not true security.

If there is a fire or someone is breaking into your home, seconds count when it comes to both the safety of your family and the protection of your belongings.

After that blog post, we received some great feedback from people who were unsure if American Alarm incorporated a dialer delay into its burglar alarm systems.

The fact is, we do not and will not use equipment with built-in dialer delays. The reason we posted this information was to inform our customers as well as others reading our blog that there are some companies that do this.

Our commitment to our customers has always been to provide the fastest possible response to alarm signals. We have the lowest documented response to priority signals, which is currently at 24 seconds or less. This is key in the event of a fire or intrusion at your home or business.

Please keep the questions and comments coming!

Is a Dialer Delay in your Home Security System Putting You at Risk?

There is a weakness in many “all-in-one” (fire/burglar) home alarm systems. Some major distributors and alarm monitoring companies have built in dialer delays that prevent signals from being sent to the central station for up to four minutes after the alarm is tripped in the home. Four minutes may not sound like a lot of time, but in four minutes you can drive four miles, you can listen to a song, heat up your lunch, or dance the Four Minute Waltz. Read more

Top Three Home Security Tips for Recent Movers

home-security-tips-recent-moversMoving into a new home is a busy time for families and individuals who are suddenly faced with what seems like endless list of chores they need to accomplish in order to bring the house up to spec. One of the most important considerations when tackling the work that goes into transforming a house into a home is to make sure that your property is safe and secure for everyone who lives inside. Below are three home security tips for recent movers.

1) Check Locks and Latches

It seems like a relative no-brainer, but it’s easy enough to forget to re-key all of the locks in your new home as soon as possible. Most people will have the front doors done immediately, but it’s crucial to make sure that any side doors, back doors, and gates are also taken care of at the same time. This is especially important given that these entryways are often shielded from view, making them ideal access points for would-be burglars. A check of your house’s window latches and locks is also in order, as these can wear out with time and are frequently a low maintenance priority for sellers. Read more

Home Security Options: Text Message Alerts When Child Arrives Home

home security and latchkey kidsBusy schedules often mean that family members are not always able to arrive home from work or school at the same time. The “latch-key kid” phenomenon is hardly a new one – children and teenagers have been beating their parents back to the house after getting off the school bus for decades – but advances in home security systems mean increased peace of mind for moms and dads concerned about the safety of their offspring.

Some modern home alarm systems are capable of providing parents with remote alerts each time people come in the door – whether they’re welcome guests or unexpected intruders. This type of alert can be adapted so children can virtually “check-in” as soon as they arrive at their homes. By assigning individual access codes whenever the alarm system is deactivated, parents can receive text messages indicating the time of entry as well as the identity of the person who entered the house. Read more

Need Grows for Robust Business Security Systems In Healthcare

Business-Security-HealthcareIf you are a healthcare provider, or do business with healthcare providers, you are probably familiar with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPPA, which was designed to ensure the security of patients’ private health information. With the rise of the implementation of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and other healthcare information technology (HIT) by physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare providers, privacy and compliance concerns are greater now than ever. As reported in Businessweek, healthcare providers, insurance companies and related business partners reported 373 business security system breaches affecting almost 18 million patients between September 2009 to October of this year, according to Department of Health and Human Services.

Various technologies are used by providers of HIT and EHRs to ensure that a patient’s data remains secure. But even the best encryption protocols can’t always prevent a security breach because of something like the theft of laptop, or an “inside job” by an unscrupulous employee. That’s why healthcare providers are encouraged to consider taking serious physical security measures, such as access monitoring, burglar alarms, and video surveillance – as part of their overall security systems.

Of course, it’s not only patient information that makes healthcare providers criminal targets. Medical facilities are known to have high value assets on their premises, such as medical equipment, not to mention drugs. It’s also not uncommon for healthcare workers in emergency rooms, mental health clinics, and certain other kinds of facilities to be subject to violent outbursts or attacks by violent or emotionally disturbed patients.

According to crime researchers, hospital emergency rooms traditionally have been the most likely areas to have security risks. However, the increased problems of drug dependence, mental health issues, and homelessness, combined with other social problems caused by the economic downturn of the past several years have contributed to increased security threats for all areas of health care facilities.

Fortunately there are business security system companies that specialize in the unique compliance and security needs of healthcare and medical facilities. These companies understand the challenges of both data and physical security faced by the healthcare industry, and they know how to help medical facilities integrate safety and security measures into their day-to-day operations. They do this not only with the latest in state-of-the-art security systems and access control measures, but also by training all personnel how to minimize risk, and help create a secure and compliant environment for workers and patients.

The Travel Channel Consulted American Alarm for Tonight’s Show

Travel-channel Great Brinks RobberyTravel Channel’s show “Hidden City” came to American Alarm, experts in business security systems, to learn about modern bank security for a show that focuses, in part, on “The Great Brinks Robbery” of 1950. Hosted by best-selling crime novelist Marcus Sakey, the episode also delves into the stories and the legends of the Boston Strangler and Whitey Bulger.

At American Alarm’s Command Center, President Wells Sampson briefs Sakey on the latest technologies that modern robbers are up against, such as biometric fingerprint readers; perimeter sensors on doors and windows; interior motion sensors; vault and safe systems; panic buttons at key locations; video surveillance systems, and live police feeds.

With American Alarm’s use of such cutting edge security technology, it would be very difficult for the Brinks robbers to repeat their infamous heist today. As Sampson says, “We’re a security company and we’re looking to catch bad guys.”

Safety And Security Systems For Aging Parents, Not As Challenging As You may Think

aging-parents-home-securityThis year we’ve seen the first wave of what has been dubbed the “Silver Tsunami” as the first of 78 million “Baby Boomers” reached retirement age. The number of people over 65 in America will more than double over the next few decades, making up 20% of the total US population by 2050. According to the NPR News Series Aging at Home, a vast majority of those seniors will chose to remain in their own homes when they retire.

Current life expectancy in the US is 77.9 years. With people living longer on average, aging at home can present several challenges that can be worrisome to children whose elderly parents opt out of long-term care facilities. Are they taking all their medications properly? Are they safe and secure from accidents and crime? What if they need help in an emergency? A wealth of home security products has been developed that is answering those questions, allowing seniors to age at home, and bringing peace of mind to their families. Laurie Orlov, founder of Florida-based Aging in Place Technology Watch has said that, “Livability can be extended through the incorporation of telecare and other assistive technologies that are geared toward keeping seniors safe and easing the burden on their caregivers.” Read more

Home Security Systems Make a Difference As Crime Rates Rise

crimes rates home security systemSevere rains, flooding, tornadoes, high winds, heavy wet snow—New England has had its share of extreme weather lately—extreme weather that damaged or destroyed thousands of homes.

But as the economy continues to struggle, keep in mind that a growing source of home damage and loss is burglary. Yes, more American homes are being burglarized, the Associated Press reports – all in pursuit of gold, whose price peaked this summer at around $1,900 an ounce. Although this type of crime is non-confrontational (because typically no one is home) most burglars remove valuables and damage your home. Read more

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning is a Serious Risk—Is Your Family Protected?

carbon monoxide poisoningAutumn in New England comes with many pleasant sights but this year it brings a snowy Nor’easter that knocked out power to more than 3 million homes and businesses across the Northeast on Saturday.  When the cold arrives each year and especially during power outages, there also comes a hidden danger. Often called the silent killer, as described in our recent news alert, carbon monoxide, or “CO” is a colorless, odorless gas that can be fatal in high concentrations. CO is produced by the burning of oil, natural gas, propane, wood, coal, kerosene and wood pellets—so as we enter the home heating season, it’s something we all need to be aware of. Read more