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Home Alarm Systems – Why Self-Monitoring is a Bad Idea

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October 18, 2010
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Home Alarm Systems – Why Self-Monitoring is a Bad Idea

Occasionally I see an article on alarm system self-monitoring: we even get the odd request here at FrontPoint from someone wanting to save money by removing our monitoring center from the home security equation. Much as I may admire an attempt to economize, this is one area where it just doesn’t make sense. The best peace of mind you can buy is the knowledge that a professional UL-listed (Underwriters Laboratories) monitoring center is providing you with 24x7 protection, based on compliance with the following standards:

  • Building construction material and design, including limited access
  • Record retention and reporting capability
  • Monitoring equipment type and redundancy
  • Telephone and broadband service and redundancy
  • Electrical service and backup power, with redundancy
  • Personnel training and minimum staffing requirements

Anyone wanting to assume the responsibility for self-monitoring is well advised to consider the following points:

  • Alarm systems are specifically designed to communicate with the monitoring center; they do this quite reliably, with the safest method by cellular radio.
  • If everything worked perfectly and you received the call on your cell phone, or an email alert notification of a burglar alarm at your home, what do you do then? Would you call a family member or neighbor and ask them to check the premises risking a possible confrontation? Do you call the police? Will the police even respond quickly (or at all) to that type of call? In many jurisdictions they will not dispatch based on your call.
  • We all miss calls on our cell phones because we’re in a meeting, restaurant, hospital, doctors office, plane, church, etc. or on the road in a "dead-spot."
  • One out of every 20 emails or so takes hours (sometimes days) to arrive. Can you always check email upon receipt of new messages?

The very reason for having a monitored system is that when you have an alarm event at your home, you want help to be sent as soon as possible. Any other solution begs the final question: while it may be great to save money, what is your personal security or that of your family members worth to you?

FrontPoint is the nationwide leader for interactive, wireless home security, so to some our equipment seems to suggest a self-monitored solution. But make no mistake: despite the trend away from vulnerable landlines to safer, cellular monitoring, and the introduction of next-gen remote control and notification features, the best alarm system is still the one that reports alarm situations to a central monitoring station. We do the rest.

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Comments
Alan
October 26, 2010 at 4:39 AM
100% in agreement. I attribute about HALF the value of my monitored Frontpoint service for fire alone: Better, safer, and faster fire protection when home AND away! A lot of people may overlook or not fully appreciate the fire aspect.
Alan
October 26, 2010 at 4:39 AM
100% in agreement. I attribute about HALF the value of my monitored Frontpoint service for fire alone: Better, safer, and faster fire protection when home AND away! A lot of people may overlook or not fully appreciate the fire aspect.
Suburban Chicago Publication Recommends Self-Installed Home Alarm System and Interactive Monitoring | Home Security Blog
April 22, 2011 at 3:05 PM
[...] that self-monitoring alone is either safe or reliable. In fact, my prior post explains the perils of self-monitoring. The main point of an alarm system is to notify and dispatch the authorities when they are needed [...]
Suburban Chicago Publication Recommends Self-Installed Home Alarm System and Interactive Monitoring | Home Security Blog
April 22, 2011 at 3:05 PM
[...] that self-monitoring alone is either safe or reliable. In fact, my prior post explains the perils of self-monitoring. The main point of an alarm system is to notify and dispatch the authorities when they are needed [...]
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