Alarm Monitoring

Alarm Monitoring

The extent and variety of signaling received from alarm systems today is vast.   Each alarm system can be individually programmed to convey the appropriate levels of signaling required to cater for each customer’s specific requirements.

Most alarms communicate using the onboard dialler from the alarm panel and transmit in Contact ID or SIA. Most alarm panels have onboard analogue diallers which traditionally were connected to analogue lines - today this has changed.

People today have Fibre, VDSL, VOIGT, Wireless, Traditional Analogue with or without ADSL, Naked Broadband and many have No Phone line at all

So we now use a variety of communication paths including rewiring to Routers, adding Cellular Diallers using GPRS or GSM and IP Diallers.

The large majority of alarm systems are monitored for the prime protection of property and personal wellbeing.  This includes signals associated with burglary, fire, medical, panic, duress, open/close, 24 hour test.

Signals fall into three broad categories:

Emergency Signals are high priority signals and require rapid response.   Signals that fall into this category include: Burglary, Fire, Medical, Panic, Duress, Tamper, Freezer Temperature High.

Non-Emergency Signals are medium priority signals and are second in priority to emergency signals and include: Opening, Closing, Close not Received, Unset out of Hours, Test Not Received, Restore, Zone Bypass.

System Maintenance Signals are medium priority signals and are second in priority to emergency signals and include: A/C Power Fail, Low Battery, Fuse Failure, Phone Line Fault.

Each incoming signal is automatically prioritized by the alarm monitoring service using their Monitoring Software according to the type of signal received. The Monitoring Software will automatically log open/close and non-emergency signals to each individual accounts file history, whilst alerting monitoring staff to those signals that require action.

Types of Alarm Monitoring Signals

The following signal definitions cover the more regularly received signals that a Central Monitoring Station receives on a day to day basis.

Alarm Activation

This signal is the most widely received emergency signal.  Such a signal Indicates a breach of security has occurred within the parameters of a client’s premise.  The individual zone will often accompany signals received on sensor identification indicating the area of the premise, which has been illegally entered.

Action Taken: Phone the premises and contacts and if requested on their Contract send the security response company listed on the contract. (This incurs a call out charge of between $50 and $100 depending on the response company)

Smoke / Fire Alarm

This signal requires an emergency response.  Indicates specially developed sensors designed to activate and report immediately have detected a degree of heat or smoke.

Signals, again, will often be accompanied by the individual zone or sensor, which has activated, pinpointing the area within the building most at risk.

Action Taken: Phone the premises and contacts and if no reply will send the Fire Brigade. (this incurs no charge for real fires or the first two false activations, after that a call out charge of approx $500 per appliance attending is charged, for example a rest home Fire Alarm may have 8 appliances attend in which case the cost is 8 x $500)

Medical Alarm

Medical Alarm monitoring is a specially designed service for the elderly, people with medical conditions or living alone.  Specially designed units with wristwatch or necklace transmitters enable an emergency medical signal to be conveyed by a simple push of a button on the necklace or wristwatch transmitter. A medical alarm signal indicates the customer is in need of urgent personal assistance.

Action Taken: Phone the premises and contacts and if no reply or requested send the Ambulance. (This incurs a call out charge of between $50 and $100)

Panic Alarm

This signal indicates a customer is in need of personal assistance because of a threat to their personal well-being.  A customer purposely pressing a handily located panic button or portable transmitter while in difficult circumstances normally conveys this signal.

Action Taken: Phone the premises and contacts and if no reply send the Police.

Tamper Alarm

A Tamper alarm signal indicates that one of the key components of the alarm system, i.e. the main control panel external siren, keypad or sensors, has and/or is being interfered with by unauthorized persons. All key components have inbuilt protection, to protect against vandalism and unauthorized interference, to ensure that the alarm system is maintained in a fully operative state at all times.

Action Taken: Phone the premises and contacts and if requested on their Contract send the security response company listed on the contract. (This incurs a call out charge of between $50 and $100 depending on the response company)

Open / Close

A majority of connected alarm systems communicate an “open” and “close” signal on, each occasion a customer “sets or “unsets their alarm system.  These signals are automatically logged to a customer’s account history and do not require controller intervention.  By receiving open/close signals we are able to view the status of an account at any time.  For some commercial customers, at extra cost, the opening and closing times are monitored in accordance with a reprogrammed time schedule loaded into The Monitoring Software.

Daily Test OR Periodic Test

Most alarm systems we monitor are programmed to send a daily test signal over each twenty-four hour time period, as a check that the digital communicator and customer’s telephone line are functioning correctly.  These signals are automatically logged to a customer’s account history and do not require operator intervention.

Test Not Received

Each alarm system is programmed to send a test signal over each twenty four hour time period, as a check that the digital communicator and the customer’s telephone line is functioning correctly.  The Monitoring Software has been programmed to look for a test signal from each alarm system and failing to receive a test signal over a twenty four hour period will result in a test not received signal.  This is a signal generated by The Monitoring Software itself.

Action Taken: The client will receive a text message notifying them of this and should contact their service company if they receive more than one of these on successive days. Missed daily test signals are usually caused through localised phone faults 

Closed Not Received

For commercial customers paying for set / unset monitoring the opening and closing times of each customer is monitored in accordance with a programmed time schedule loaded into the Monitoring Software.  If, at any time, a customer does not set their alarm in accordance with the programmed closing time, a “Closed Not Received” signal is received.  This can occur for two reasons, either the customer has forgotten to set their alarm, or they are still on site. Customers paying for this service will receive a phone call to notify them of this.

Action Taken: Phone the premises and contacts

Unset Out of Hours

For commercial customers, who want to also be monitored for early opening in accordance with a programmed time schedule loaded into the Monitoring Software if, at any time a customer or individual unsets that alarm system outside of the programmed hours an “Unset Out of Hours” signal is received.  The monitoring station establish who has unset the security alarm system to ensure they are authorized to be on site outside of the customer’s normal operating hours. They will be asked for a password.

Action Taken: Phone the premises and contacts and if requested send the security response company listed on the contract. (This incurs a call out charge)

Bypass, Isolate, Sensor Trouble

This signal indicates that a detector, zone, or sensor has been bypassed when the alarm system has been set.  A bypassed, isolated or trouble renders that particular zone inoperative and it is no longer in a position to be able to provide security for the area it has been set up to protect. The customer can choose to bypass, isolate a zone intentionally for any number of reasons.  This particularly applies to residential alarms that my wish to partially arm their system at night to protect the vulnerable areas they are not moving about in. For commercial customers, bypassing or isolating of a zone is often made in error, and without having instructions, action is required.

Action Taken: Domestic Clients none, commercial clients phone the premises and contacts and if requested on their Contract send the security response company listed on the contract. (This incurs a call out charge)

Zone Reporting

Almost without exception current day alarm systems are capable of providing, not only emergency signal identification, but also the individual zone or sensor which has been affected.

The benefits of zone identification are enormous and particularly so with larger sites such as schools and large commercial buildings.  To know exactly the zone or detectors which have been breached means that response can be achieved with minimal delay, limiting damage and the extent of any unlawful entry.

The Monitoring Software enables us to pre programme an English text alongside each zone within a customer’s account file, e.g. an alarm system installed in a family home might be configured as follows:

A factory area might be configured as follows:

Zone reporting provides extremely useful information for emergency response Organisations such as Security response companies, Fire Brigade, Police, and Ambulance etc.

User Identification

The large majority of current day alarm systems will not only report each time an alarm system is open (unset) or closed (set) but will also identify the person setting or unsetting the system.

The benefits of user identification are particularly important to larger Organisations and also for customers who wish to maintain strict security measures to ensure risk is kept to a minimum.  To know who has set or unset the alarm system can provide a valuable log of information should, at any time, a difficulty arise.

Alarm Monitoring companies can pre programme individual names alongside each user number within a customer’s account files:

User identification is determined by each person within an Organisation having an individual keypad code.  This code is programmed into the main control panel for each person and has a two-fold function. It will identify the person setting or unsetting the alarm system, and in the case of unsetting the alarm system will only unset the areas permissible by the person.  Again, this is a programmed alarm system function.

Partitioned Systems

To assist with providing a greater measure of security for larger Organisation, e.g. schools, the more sophisticated alarm systems can be partitioned into areas.

Many larger customers have a requirement to be able to protect each individual area of their property as if each area contained a separate alarm system, e.g. each area having its own account number and its own separate identifiable zones (detectors), separate opening and closing times depending on the activity being carried out in each area, and separate access provided to authorised users.

Concept 3000 and 4000 alarm systems are examples of alarm systems that communicate in Contact ID language and are able to be partitioned to provide customers with the above properties. To understand what we mean by a partitioned system, it is best understood by considering an example.

ABC School consists of three separate classroom blocks, gymnasium, library, administration block and two meeting rooms. Each area can be allocated a separate account number.