CHM Security/Manufacturing, Inc.
Franklin, Wisconsin  53132  --  414-427-0700  -- Email

Updated 07-20-00

Welcome to a site where you receive free tips on securing your building against burglary by simple, inexpensive, do it yourself means or learn the basics of the alarm industry so you're prepared to talk with an alarm representative while evaluating an electronic alarm system.  You will also find descriptions of several proprietary devices, which have been designed by CHM and are built in our own facilities.  If you want additional information, you can contact us at 414-427-0700 or E-mail at

We have attempted to make the reading of this material fast and informative.  You'll find several summary paragraphs at the beginning of this document, which are intended to provide an overview and/or review of the Complete Text.  They also act as an index for more detailed information of  items you may not be familiar with.   If  you desire more insight about any of the underlined words, simply click and you will be taken to an appropriate section.  When you’re finished reading the detail, click  your "BACK" key and return to the original location in the summery.

Our recommendation will be to read the complete text because there just may be something new to benefit from.  We know it could take about an hour to read all the pages but also know it could save the reader hundreds of dollars.  We think this can be considered excellent  pay for an hour of effort.  Whatever your choice, thank you for visiting and we sincerely hope you'll be satisfied with what you find.  Your comments and suggestions would be appreciated and may be incorporated into future revisions.  If you  are engaged in the security business and wish to take issue with the content, please feel free to offer your opinion.  You may have a better idea.  Anytime the public can be more accurately informed, the better off we all will be.




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The management of CHM Security has over 30 years experience in the alarm industry and electronic equipment servicing in the Air Force.  We have extensive experience in the installation of large and small alarm systems in homes, business and organizations.  In addition, we install closed circuit television, door access, telephone systems, school intercoms and much more.  Most all of our installed alarm systems are monitored 24 hours a day by IDC.  Our main product line has been a system we have designed, manufactured and marketed for over 8 years.  The information offered in this document is our opinion and is based upon our experience and does suggest several ways to accomplish the goal of protection for your building. You should not rely upon this report as being the only information needed when setting up your security program.

Security Programs can be as simple as additional locks on your doors and as complex as a high security alarm system.  Anything and everything you do will add some degree of protection.  What may turn one burglar away, may not turn the next.  Your program's final description will depend on what your trying to protect and what you can reasonably afford to spend.  Once your program is established, 98% of the overall value of having done so will be peace of mind.  Only on rare occasions is your program called upon to do its intended function.  If you are victimized by an event, what ever losses you do suffer will have been minimized to the best of your ability.

Common Locks must not be relied upon to keep intruders out.  Dead Bolts should be added to make things more difficult.  Windows will be their second choice for entries and normal window locks are generally inadequate. Pinning of windows is very effective along with inside bracing rods in patio doors and window frames. Casement windows are more secure by their construction and operation.   Trimming of shrubs and adding outside lighting to eliminate hiding places will be your next project.  Removing or securing items in your yard which can help the burglar to make an entry easier, is highly advisable.  Making your home look as if it is occupied when your gone will further reduce the possibility of break ins.  Setting up a Neighbor Hood Watch program will help everyone in the area.  When your on vacation,  make things appear in a normal cycle of  activity.  Set up a schedule to test smoke detectors and replace batteries.  In addition to the required smoke detectors, there are now reliable detectors for explosive gasses and carbon monoxide.  The use of signs and stickers on windows, doors and in the yard do deter some individuals. Burglar Bars for the outside doors and windows can be fairly expensive but will keep most intruders out.  Glass Blockwindows serve several purposes one of which is effectively keeping invaders out.   For some people the use of a big dog can take care of many problems.  Sound a bit overwhelming and inconvenient? Consider an automated alarm system.

Alarm Systems are designed for different purposes.  The two main categories of systems are Local and Central Station.  Either of these categories can be a simple precautionary system or  be made very complex for high security requirements.

The "Main Control" is the heart of an alarm system and can be selected to correspond to your specific needs.  You may only need a couple of zones or you may need many.  A lot controls will have partitioning for multiple applications within one building.  Each manufacturer will have unique features but most of them satisfy the standard requirements. Wired varieties have the various out lying devices (door contacts, motion sensors, key pads, sirens) connected to the panel with "hard wire".  (A good example of this type of control can be studied at this additional site.)  These wires are small  and for low voltage so hiding them in the walls, closets, basements and attics is the normally accepted  procedure. Wireless varieties are a radio receiver in the control box and have the outlying sensing devices which transmit a coded radio signal when they are activated.    A third variety is the self-contained system which does what the others do with all their various parts but is a single unit and can be simply installed  by its owner plugging it  into an electrical wall outlet and a phone jack.  By its nature, its coverage is limited to small compact locations requiring no extraordinary protection

Sensing devices are designed to be people sensitive.  To detect motion, there are Contacts, Motion Detectors, Floor Stresssensors, pet resistant detectors and other devices. To detect actions, there are Glass Break sensors, Audio Discriminators, atmospheric pressure sensors and others.   Depending on the requirements, one or more types will be used to cover the area.  There are many variations to the basic designs and numerous specialty sensors which will fulfill virtually any specific demands.

On/Off control devices can be a simple as hidden toggle or push button switch, as comprehensive as the modern LCD Key Pad or technically advanced as wireless, audible voice command or telephone tone control.  Systems will normally have the ability to drive or control a variety of sirens, strobes, lights, bells or whistles.  Most panels will be able to accept other devices for protection against smoke and fire.  Central station systems may need the benefit of a cut phone line monitoring and an alternative communication source.

There are a several entry methods which should not cause to much concern.  Two of them are "Picking the lock and cutting the glass".  Both of these are technically possible but are seen 50 times more frequently on TV then are experienced in the real world.  Unless you're the target of the "Pro", they can be ignored but not forgotten.

Important note about CHM Security



Common door locks keep honest people, honest.  If your door is locked, they stay out.  This type of lock has a simple cammed sliding bolt in the door which easily moves into the door as it is closes against the latch plate on the door frame. When the door is fully closed, the bolt will snap out about one half inch into the hole in the latch plate.  This action will occur even if you have set the lock before closing the door.   For this reason, some older locks make it possible for someone on the outside to insert a narrow device (credit card, screw driver or small knife) into the slot between the door and latch, against the bolt, sliding the it back into the door and permitting an easy entry.  Normally, the doors most susceptible to actual "knifing" type entries, are those found in older apartment buildings and older homes.  Apartment doors are not required to keep out the cold winter nights and therefore not of substantial weather resistant construction.  Many have small door jam strips which are easily pried out to reveal a straight line insertion path to the bolt.  In some cases, economy locks were installed and they are not the anti knifing type which do make for an easy entry.  These are representative of the interior doors you probably have in your own home.

Generally, these types of easy entries are not possible.  First, most modern exterior common locks have an anti knifing mechanism which makes what could have been simple, much more difficult.  If you look at the bolt on your door and see what appears to be a second small bolt which slides with the big one, you have anti knifing locks.  The secret to how it works is in the latch plate.  The hole in the plate will only accept the larger bolt and prevent the smaller one from snapping out of the door when its closed..  While the small bolt is held in the door, the large bolt can not be pushed back into the door and thus the door will not open.  You can test your own locks by pushing the small bolt into the door and then trying to push the big bolt in.  The big bolt should not move into the door until the small bolt is released.  Second, most exterior doors are recessed into a door frame or are up against very substantial door jam strips making the door set in about three eighths of an inch deep making it as weather tight as possible.

Either of these two features preclude an easy straight line insertion path to releasinig the bolt.  An invader would have to go around edges and corners which would require a much stronger tool such as a crow bar.  If some ambitious person were to jam past the edges and corners and go straight for the bolt, you may think they would now be up against an anti knifing bolt and  not be able to go any further.  Not so.  Once the crow bar is wedged into the door, applying a prying action to the bar will spread the door toward the hinges and the door frame will bend away from the door.  It does not take long before the half inch bolt is free of the latch and the door opens.  Remember, burglars are not concerned about any damages.

Dead Bolts

The addition of 1 inch dead bolts locks make the dishonest person think twice about even trying to get past this door.  Dead Bolts are a second locking device on your door.  They can only be locked after the door is fully closed and require a manual action on your part to set the bolt.  Usually, locking is done by turning a lever or key when your inside and using a key only when your outside.  As you turn, a square ended bolt slides out of the door about 1 inch and into the hole of an additional latch plate on the door frame.  Due to the mechanics of the locks construction and the design of the bolt, there is no way for this type of locking system to be "knifed".  Even when a very heavy crow bar is used to spread the door and frame, it is almost impossible to get enough space for the bolt to come free.

Unfortunately, there are several easier ways around dead bolts.  First, the use of a pipe wrench to twist off the outside part of the lock can expose the interior of the lock allowing retraction of the bolt and opening of the door.  There are special dead bolts sets which will minimize this possibility.  You must ask for the type which have a spinning Basel on the outside.  Second, many of these locks are improperly installed and with a strong heavy shoulder or a ramming foot, the latch plate will pull free as the standard 5/8 inch door frame shatters.  To get around this problem, do not use the 1" screws which were supplied by the manufacturer to secure the latch plate.  Replace them by purchasing screws( hardened if available) which are a least 2 1/2 inches, preferably 3 and longer if desired.  These screws will hold the latch plate to the visible door frame and reach  all the way through to the buried 2 x 4 studs which are inside the walls and around the door opening.  The burglar would almost have to push in the entire wall before the latch would let go.  If your  lucky, the burglar will injure their shoulder or foot when they encounter this almost impenetrable resistance.  On second thought, maybe you shouldn't do this because they will probably sue you for injuries and win.

Now the latch has been secured and there is no way past it, right?  Not Exactly.  The next thing which could break would be the wood of the door around the dead bolt lock or the door itself might break in two.  To make this less likely to happen, the installation of steel clad doors will be very effective.  If you currently have a good solid hard wood door, you probably have enough strength at this time.

The foregoing will still not stop the most determined burglar.  But, it sure will make their job a lot more difficult and hopefully any intruder will look at what you have and know there are easier places to get into.  Generally, they will not be carrying large crow bars, heavy hammers and pipe wrenches because this just might look a little suspicious to the neighbors or passing police cars.

By the way, my personal recommendation is, do not purchase what are referred to as double cylinder dead bolts.  These are the type which require keys on either side of the door to set or release the lock.  My opinion is they can be very dangerous should you have to get out of the building during fire or other emergencies and the interior key is not in the lock or somewhere near by.  Plus, even if you do have the key in your hand, how difficult might it be to find the key hole when your very excited and may have limited visibility.  Some may say if you have a window in the door or near by and all you have is a lever type release (single cylinder) on the inside, all the intruder has to do is break the glass, reach in and unlock the door.  True, but I believe the problem of you attempting to unlock the door during emergencies out weighs the possibility of someone breaking the glass.  In addition, if you replace any glass panes near locks with plastic Lexan sheet, they will not be able to break those windows.

You will probably be left alone if you make them require more substantial tools, cause more noise and be there longer trying to get in.  There are other considerations and possibilities when it comes to doors and openings, but what has been discussed are the least costly and generally are very effective.  According to the statistics, about 60% of the burglaries are going to be through the door.  You have now made the most common point of entry difficult and are forcing them to try something else, the windows which make up about 30 % of the entries.

Pinning Windows

The normal window lock on a double hung or slide by window does not offer a lot of protection from someone prying them open with a small or medium sized tool.  Typically, there are only two, 1/2 inch screws holding the locks to the wooden frames and they can pull free.  The least costly way to secure these types of windows is to "Pin" the frames.  This requires someone with a drill and the purchasing of an appropriate pinning device.  The device can be as simple as a spike nail with what looks like two driving heads on it.  The stacked heads will act as a gripping handle when your removing or inserting the pin.  Select the corner of the window where the inner and outer frames overlap.  Make sure the window is fully closed and locked.   Drill a hole slightly larger then your pin, straight toward the outside, through the inner frame and almost through the outer frame.  Be careful not to drill to close to the window's glass or the edges of the frame as to effect the operation of the window.  When the pin is inserted into the hole, it is virtually impossible to pry the window open without completely destroying it.  In other words, making it difficult, noisy and acting as an additional deterrent.

For summer ventilation, you can open the window 5 or 6 inches, reenter the drill bit into the visible hole and drill a second hole in the hidden frame.  Placing the pin in this new combination of holes will allow the two frames to move simultaneously but not allow the opening to get any larger.   The air flows through but the burglar doesn't.

Another method of preventing window opening is cut a 1" x 2" to a length which will fit firmly between the large flat overlapping edges of the two frames and the inner edge of the opposing frame.

Patio door locks are somewhat insecure due to their normal locking system.  In most cases, only one half of your patio door is operational and should ride on a track inside your home while the other half is fixed on the outside.  Installing a stick or rod between the movable half and the opposing frame will make the door very difficult to get past.  Cut a rod out of a 1" x 2" or old broom stick handle, to a length which will lay in the doors sliding track and just fit between the bottom edge of the  moving doors frame and the opposite frame at the end of the track  If the rod is laying on the track between the door and frame, the door can't be opened.  To make it convenient, tie the end of a 3 foot cord to the rod and the other end of the cord to a door handle.  When the rod is to be removed from the track on the floor, use the cord to pull it up.

Some patio doors can be lifted up about 1/2 inch and clear the bottom track they run on.  This will allow complete removal of the door from its frame leaving an opening large enough for a medium sized elephant.  This can be prevented by installing several screws along the top edge of the sliding door which are just below the upper guide rails of the main frame.  This will prevent the moving door from being lifted up and removed.

Casement windows seem to be more secure by their nature.  They most always have two if not three pains of glass and the locks clamp the window to the frame very securely.  It is more difficult to pry these open which means breaking of the glass is the next option.  When you lock these windows, remove the opening cranks from the mechanism and store them somewhere away from outside access.  If the window does get broken, the burglar will not be able to crank the window open and climb in.

There is one very simple way around any of these securing devices.  Break the glass and come in.  Although this is true, you are making the invader make more noise then they might have to and hopefully making others around you to become aware of the problem.  At the very least, the broken glass will normally cause cuts and injuries to the one who climbs through the opening.  Here again, you're trying to cause the intruder to change their mind (what mind?) and go somewhere else.  Not being an easy target is a great way of avoiding half the problems.

Trimming trees and lighting

Having beautiful shrubs and decorations around the building can be very helpful to a burglar.  They can hide behind them and make entries through windows without ever being seen.  It is advisable to remove or trim back any branches, shrubs or other unnecessary obstructions to make the various openings to your home visible to the general public.

Yard lights which come on automatically by timer or motion detector are very effective.  They make the presents of an unwelcome visitor very obvious.  Even if the neighbor doesn't see them, the burglar will be very uneasy because they  think anyone and everyone is watching their every move.  In the case of a light coming on automatically due to a motion detector, their immediate reaction is "someone in the house turned the light on and know I'm out here".  Both of these items will normally require an electrician to make a proper installation.  This would not be the least expensive thing you can do but it would have some side benefits.  After dark, whether its coming home to a well lit area or just sitting out in the yard enjoying a warm summer eve, it will mean less chance of physical attack.

Clean up and pick up

If you do light up your yard, you will display anything which could be used by an intruder to help the break in.  With or with out lighting, either remove or secure equipment which could be used for forced entries.  Things like garden tools, large hammers, ax, stack of old bricks, sections of pipe and ladders.  About 2% of the entries are made through the second story.  This percentage does go up when a ladder is available from in your yard or the neighbors.  If you don't have a place to store the ladder inside, use a chain and lock it to something heavy or to a tree.  There is no sense in making the tools available which will make their job easier.

Making things look normal

When you turn on a porch light in the morning as you leave for work, you are advertising the fact you are "Not returning until after dark".  Someone now knows they have all day to do what they want.  It is better to leave a couple of lights on inside so when it does get dark, the interior lights may imply you're already home.  Playing a radio or T.V. all day long also suggests someone is still inside so don't bother breaking in here.  Pulling all the shades during the day before you leave and not having the shades pulled when your normally home, tells everyone, your gone for the next several hours.  Pulling the shades may cause the house to be cooler when you get home but telling everyone your gone may be worse then the benefit.  As a general rule, the house should appear the same as if you were still home.  Multiple timers on different schedules connected to a couple of lamps will sometimes be helpful in creating the illusion your active in the house when your actually gone.

Neighbor Hood Watch

Establishing a Neighbor Hood Watch program is normally very effective for everyone within the area.  These programs are an effort to get the immediate neighbor hood involved in mutually watching out for inappropriate behavior anywhere around their house and their neighbors.  Being willing to get involved and report such activity has proven to be very effective in drastically reducing crime and juvenile delinquency.

There will normally be only a small group of people who do all the work and spend the time to keep everything together.  If you have the time and inclination, it will benefit you and the rest of the neighbor hood residence.  You can normally get a lot of help from the local police department in how to organize and develop these programs.   They do encourage them and know their value, it makes their job easier and you safer.  Of course, the more persons involved, the better the outcome for all.


Going on a vacation is wonderful.  Coming home to a break in will make all those good times be forgotten in an instant.  To avoid this potential unpleasant event, improve your odds by making arrangement to have the news papers and mail picked up and put out of sight.  Have the snow shoveled or the grass cut while your gone so everything looks normal.  Use the same suggestions as noted above in the preceding paragraphs about multiple timers and interior lights but even more so.  If you have a trusted individual, and they have some time, get them to live in your house while your gone.  House sitters will make things look somewhat normal and maybe prevent trouble.

Schedule  inspections

On a regular schedule, check the operation of your smoke detectors.  They can fail (rarely) or the batteries can loose their power.  It doesn't take a lot of time to do it and the results can avert a tragedy.  Replacement of the battery should be accomplished according to the recommendations of the manufacturer.  In the absence of such formal written instructions, at least replace them every other year on some specific day.  A good way to remember when they are due is to "make things new on New Year's Day".  It's a new year, install new batteries.  If cost is not a factor, do it every year.

Smoke and other portable detectors

Most communities require at least a battery operated smoke detector in your home.  It is best to have one on each level of the house and in any area where the door can be regularly closed creating an isolated room.  In addition, the newer regulations are requiring a smoke detector to be in hallways and no further then 7 feet from any bed room door.  Locating one in or near kitchen areas is not recommended because of the frequent false alarms due to normal cooking activity.  Also, locating one just outside of a bathroom door can cause alarms when the door is opened after a long hot shower.  The steam will envelope the detector and cause it to sound the alarm.

During recent years they have started producing reliable carbon monoxide detectors to warn of leaking furnace exhaust, defective stoves, water heaters and other problems.  They are not needed as frequently as smoke detectors but the results can kill you without any visible, smell, taste or audible clues.  There seems to be a detector for just about any problem which may threaten your safety like natural gas, radon and others.

Stickers and Signs

Stickers on windows and yard signs stating you have an electronic alarm system will in some cases act as a deterrent.  Most of the ones you can get will have generic wording and may not be believed.  An additional problem you may encounter is the sticker has to be prominently displayed and they maybe an eye sore.  The yard signs will be the target of kids as they do attempt stealing them as souvenirs.  When they are put up by alarm companies there maybe more credibility but the majority of the value will be for the alarm company in advertising to the neighbors verses preventing burglaries for you.  Stickers and signs  will make some burglars look twice and make them wonder.

Burglar Bars for doors and windows

Some companies offer burglar barrier bar systems for doors and windows.  These are usually custom built units which fit over your windows or doors.  They are bolted onto the structure with some device which is very difficult or impossible to remove.  All in all, they are very effective.  If a burglar has to work that hard just to get in, they might as well find a job and earn a legitimate income.  From my stand point as an alarm dealer, they are a little costly and they make the structure look very forbidding.  Yes, this is what you want to portray to the burglar but maybe not to friends and neighbors.  There are some very nice looking units with custom decorations or scroll work but they are the most expensive.  Then there is the safety aspect.  You can be trapped inside if there is an emergency such as a fire.  The better units do have a hinge and  locking methods for extra cost which are accessible only from the inside.  But during a stressful situation, it is difficult to insert keys or just remember how to release the mechanism to make a quick escape.  Also, there is a possibility someone who can't open the bars (children, elderly) will just be left to the rescue efforts of others.  People responding to the emergency will have a difficult or impossible task of removing the bars before anyone can be removed.  The long and short of this topic is, they do work very well but you'll have to weight the costs, benefits and risks very carefully to make the proper decision for you situation.

Glass Block

Glass block windows are also very secure.  They let in the light but make it virtually impossible for some random burglar to get through that window.  They will withstand severe beatings with bricks, bars and hammers along with shedding small slivers and chunks of glass in random directions at great speed.  Being near one of these windows while its under attack can be hazardous to your health (maybe the government should require stickers on these windows warning burglars of the potential hazard).  Many times they are installed as bathroom windows for the distortion of any view from the outside and making the Peeping Tom go somewhere else.  Another common place to install them is in basement window frames. There are a small number of entries through basement windows and this does have a tendency to preclude those.

The draw backs are the virtual total loss of ventilation, you can't see what is going on outside, they are not cheep and you can never use this opening for an emergency escape....  Many of them are installed with small (4"x8") operable vent windows somewhere in the block assembly which does give some air flow.  Typically this does not meet even 10% of the normal code requirement for ventilation in a room with a window let alone a full basement.  Besides, there are occasions when you really do want to see who is out there or what is going on with the kids playing in the yard.  Finally, if you are in the basement and want to get out but are prevented from using the stairs, there is no possibility of getting out of these window openings.

Dogs and Pets

When you have a dog, you also have a friend.  For some people, this will be more important then having an electronic alarm system.  The dog will probably cost about the same when you consider the food, ware and tare on your premises and any veterinarian bills for the animals illnesses.  The big "but" will be, there is the companionship between the dog and someone who may not have an abundance of other people in their life.  If your intention is for a friend and a protector, we suggest a big dog.  Most small dogs will be in danger of injury should they try to defend.

For those who are active in social relations you must first consider how ownership of an animal brings on a lot of responsibilities.  First, you must always be available to walk the dog, feed it, clean up after and allow it to interfere with your other plans.  If your not willing to live under these requirements, you probably should not get involved with dogs.  You won't be happy and neither will they.

There is also the potential problem of liability should the dog bit or otherwise injure someone.  Most of the time you will not have to worry about such problems but lawsuits can ruin your otherwise peaceful life and should be considered before you begin an involvement with a dog or any other pet.

If you have now taken care of all the foregoing, you are now perfectly safe, right? ..... Not......    Assuming you do not have an electronic security system, keep these facts in mind.  About 50% of the people who may break into your home will be people you recognize..   Family, friends, neighbor hood kids, paper boy, and so on.  They may know your actual security status and the things you own which can be easily picked up.  They also may know your schedule and be able to take advantage of it.  What you have done to this point is to cut the number of burglaries you could experience by about 50%.  There are good reasons why you could still suffer a burglary.  Sometimes the perpetrator is totally out of control and will do anything to get in against all odds.  This is where a good security system can come into the picture.  A properly installed system will now assist with the next 45% or more of the potential burglaries which may happen.

As an alternative, if you install a security system in place of many of the non alarm suggestions,  the system will compensate for most of what you have omitted and in reality offer greater overall protection.  The total cost would be about the same and the alarm just may give you more peace of mind.

According to the statistics, you have a one in five chance of being broken into.  Even though you follow the above suggestions, install an alarm, there is still a possibility you can be broken into.  The numbers also show the people who properly secure their buildings will suffer about 20% or less the losses over those who ignore the problem.  Having an alarm system does not totally  preclude burglaries.  It does effectively reduce the losses by getting authorities to come and possibly catch the perpetrator.  Instead of having a 1 in 5 chance of being burglarized, you have reduced you chances to about 1 in 50.  If you thought there was a 1 in 5 chance you were going to have a blown out tire if you kept driving on those old tires, wouldn't you buy new tires to reduce the possibility of getting stuck somewhere?

Should you install an electronic alarm system, here are some of the potential benefits you may realize.

What makes up a basic electronic security system.?

How Much does an Alarm System Cost?

Can I rent or buy?  You should have the option of either purchasing or renting from which ever company you select.  If they tell you, "We do not sell you the system, we install for a small down payment and rent it for a monthly fee.", you may end up paying 50%  to 100% more for your security in the long run.  The average person will keep a system operational for over 8 years.  When you add up all the monthlies which will probably include increases over the years, the initial down payment and any other charges which may come along, this will be a lot of money.

If you can purchase at some reasonable cost and enjoy a much lower monthly fee,  your overall 10 year outlay will be a lot less.  Plus, the system is a part of the structure and will have some potential resale value should you move.  Here again, add up all the costs and make a direct comparison to see if you'll be saving one way or the other.

Who should I call?  CHM Security.

There are serveral purposes for which an alarm is intended to be used.  Some are intended to be a deterrent and prevent the entry along with any damage to the structure.  They can be as simple as automatic outdoor lighting, an outdoor photo beam accross a path to pick up someone approaching a building or an audio discriminator which is inside and will detect the sounds of forced entry against the building while the intruder is still on the outside.  Most all of these preentry devices  will sound an audible and/or visible alarm and can cause the invader to change their mind and go somewhere else.  These are most commonly installed as Local Alarms.  Under certain circumstances these systems can be made to call a central station and report the problem.

Most other systems will detect the incursion after the entry is made and therefore normally means at least some damage to the building has already been done.  Although there is damage, they are far more stable because they are not suseptable to outdoor influences such as wild animals, inocent persons, temperature, sun, wind blowing snow, rain, dirt or other debries.  This fact alone means far fewer false alarms and therefore normally means most of them will be connected to a central station in addition to any siren or lights.  They are the most commonly installed as Central Station Alarms.

The purpose of systems can be to prevent damages and losses or can be to capture the purpitrator.  When attempting to capture, the system will normally have central station connections and also set up for "Silent Alarm" operation so as to not alert the invader.  This may sound like a good idea but when its your home, you should always insist on at least one siren.  It will be much better to scare the individual away and not have a face to face confrontation.  The police may still catch the burglar as they're fleeing the area but won't have to cope with a hostige situation when they arrive at your home.  In some seriously troubled areas, the police may set up a system with a direct radio link to their departments for instantanious responce.  If you have such a problem, contact your police department and see if they have this type of equipment available.

Local alarms are one catigory of alarms which do just about everything except call the authorities.  In other words, detect an intruder, sound a siren, maybe turn on lights and reset itself after a period of time.  This category of system may be satisfactory for some applications because it does work about 80% of the time.  But, 20% of the time it does nothing to protect the valuables and may be a waist of your money.

The Central Station systems are a second catigory which do all of the above and more plus they will make a phone call to a location and report to a computer what is happening at your facilities.  Your authorities will be notified as to what the problem may be.  If burglars are dumb enough to stick around after a siren sounds off, the police just may catch them.  The main benefit to this category of system is not being able to catch the invader but to increase your personal safety and keep your losses to a minimum due to the potential arrival of authorities shortly after the intrusion.

Central Stations are locations which are equipped with special equipment for receiving signals from your alarm system.  Most all such locations have computers for assisting in the process of calling the authorities and/or notifying responsible parties.  Central Stations are staffed by a number of people who's sole purpose is to be there 24 hours a day, every day of the year in order to make your system get the help it was programmed to request.

They are governed by their own industry organizations and more importantly by independent groups such as the Underwriters Laboratory (U.L.) listings.  Both insure they are working to standards for efficient and effective dispatching of authorities when required.  The best groups are those which have been fully certified as U.L. approved or by another nationally recognized reputable laboratory.  We have noted in the past, some alarm companies have stated or implied they are U.L. approved because all of the equipment used by them is U.L. listed.   This is not the same.  If they are "U.L. approved", they will have a certificate from Underwriters Laboratory stating the specific alarm company has under gone the certification process and has been awarded this specific approval for monitoring alarm systems.  The certificate does expire unless there are reoccurring inspections and adherence to new directives which may be issued for improved services.  If in fact the company has a current certificate, they will gladly offer you a copy for examination and retention for your records.  Otherwise, they are probably being deceitful and dishonest making them someone to be avoided.

The following is a brief listing of what occurs when an alarm system calls a Central Station and what they do as a normal sequence of events to follow up on an alarm call.  There are many details which can be different due to the individual operations of the numerious central stations, but the general method will remain the same.

This is a lot of activity for one alarm call and can only be accurately handled by the most completely equipped and adequately staffed organizations.  Some alarm companies will suggest their service is better because they are a Local Central Station which would imply they are faster.  What they are not telling you is there small staiton has only one and maybe two operators sitting there and trying to keep up with the required work load along with their personal needs.  They also do not tell you their office is not secure nor are there numerous back up systems to their basic operation and most of the critical information is not recorded for potential follow up.

Upon detailed evaluation, you will discover most of the major well know companies are not local and work through toll free 800 phone services.  The reason they do this is because by centrally consolidating their various stations, they can have much bigger controlling computers, have more back up systems, better security and better staffing.  An abundance of personnel will mean they have a better chance to handle emergencies and any unusual conditions such as a major storm causing excessive calls.  A small "local" station would not have the man power to cope with a sudden influx of alarms and may not get to your call which may need immediate attention.  In short, an 800 phone service will be just as fast as a local phone call and will probably be much better equipped to accurately accommodate your needs.  As a matter of fact, 800 services line integrity is much better then local lines due to the massive alternate routes which are available for long distance calls.

One final thing to be alert to is the fact smaller organizations may plagiarize other national organization's literature and put their own name on it.  We have personally seen this altered literature being used in presentation books and being stated to be their own local facilities.  You can suspect something is fishy if it is the only  piece they offer to support their claims.  Most big organizations have several professionally produced brochures and possibly complete presentation packages consisting of many pages.  The presentation will include numerous photos and point out all their capabilities, back up systems, recording methods and their special abilities which they feel make themselves better.  If you don't like what you see, ask to visit their facilities.  If they refuse, well..............?  If you would like to see what an excellent central station offers as services and documentation please click on IDC.

Precautionary type systems are in either the Local or Central Station catigory and are those which will provide enough protection to detect the average burglar who is normally under 18 years old and may not be very experienced in this activity.  It will not take a lot to get rid of them and make sure any losses  will be minimal.  Precautionary systems are for the normal home where there are no major collections being stored.  Most of these homes will not draw the "Professional Burglar".  Keeping a system small will make it very easy to operate and you should accomplish you goal with the least investment and hassel.

High Security type systems most always are Central Station and have sensors in most rooms, on most doors and windows, cover most all possibilities and are more challenging to operate.  They are the least likely  to have actual entries and/or large losses but are obviously going to be the most expensive and troublesome.  High security systems should be used when there is a good possibility the contents of the building will attract someone who is making burglary a carrier.  The "Pro" can be familiar with many types of systems and can probably get around a lot of them if they are not to comprehensive.  The more complicated and involved the system is, the greater the chance of detection against the know it all criminal.

The heart of any alarm system is the main control. The electronics within this box controls itself , interprets the sensors, makes alarm decisions, makes phone calls to get authorities, times the duration of sirens, controls the on /off functions and provide the power to sensors and/or the battery charger.  The battery is stored inside the box and is rechargeable so you don't have to worry about it.  There are literally hundreds of features the modern day alarm system can provide.  We will only discuss the basic and normal features which are common to most.  The control box is normally located in an out of the way location which will be practical for incorporating all required elements with the least amount of disruption to your facilities.

The vast majority of systems are now microprocessor controlled.  This means the are actually small computers which make high speed decisions about all aspects of the overall system many times per second.  They are fast, accurate and almost never fail to do their job.  Typical of computers, they can do far more then you will ever need but the power is there just in case.  An average control today is much better then the best systems of 8 to 10 years ago and about 1/3 the cost.  A good example of this type of system can be found and studied at this extra site.

Normally, main controls are build to provide a number of zones.  A zone is a part of the system which has its own input connected to a sensing device such as a door contact.  If the contact is activated, the zone recognizes the activity and will tell the control to do something about it.  The next zone may have a motion sensor attached and will tell the control when the motion sensor becomes active.  Something else will be connected to the 3rd and 4th zone and so on until all are used.  Each of these zones can be programmed to do something different and appropreate for the specific situatiion.  This method will monitor, report and keep track of the various sensors connected to the system on an individual basis.  When the system reports an alarm, it will be able to tell you which of the various sensors was the cause.  Most systems now have an internal clock to keep track of times of occurance and/or sequence of events.  Controls may have a initial 4 or 8 or maybe 16 Zones.  If needed, the better systems will be able to expand the number of zones by the addition of an optional plug in board.  Some systems can define over one hundred zones.  Most precautionary type systems can get by on 4 or 8 zones.  The big high security systems probably need 24 or more.

Partitioning of a system is the ability to combine a number of the zones into a group. The control will be able to watch this group independently of the other zones or other partitions.  An example of where this may be desirable is to have the garage turned on while the rest of the building is being actively used.  Or, maybe there is a gun cabinet  which should be on most of the time but has to be turned off on occasion.  Partitions are like individual alarms within the overall system which can be activated without regard to what the others are doing.  This type of division is used mostly in larger businesses and on high security applications.  The average precautionary system will not need this feature which will make it simpler to operate.

About 90% of all new alarm systems are "hard wired".  This is a process of installing a small low voltage wires from where the sensor is to where the control is located.  One end is connected to some sort of  sensing device (i.e. door contact) and the other to the desired zone input.  This is repeated for each sensor location which means there can be numerous wires leading into the control box. There will also be individual wires for the on/off control, siren, telephone and transformer connections. This procedure is known as running "home run wires" meaning each is separate and definable.

It may sound like a messy undertaking but can be done very neatly by a conscentious installer.  In fact, you should expect;

If they do not conform to most of the above list, you can assume the installing company is not very professional.  It may be hard to force them to go back and correct the problem areas if you haven't specified your expectations before they start.  You can reasonably expect the proper results from any reputable organization but it is best to question them during their quotation or estimate visit.

Wires can be troublesome to install properly and there is a certain amount of clean up from the process, but they are extremely reliable.  They don't normally fail unless they were improperly installed or damage was caused later on.  There are ways of insuring the wire has not developed a problem over the years.  This is done by installing an End Of Line Resistor at each sensor.  If the wire becomes accidentally shorted or open and makes this run ineffective, the system is monitoring for faults and will notify you in some way there is a problem.

Wireless systems are sometimes used when it is extremely difficult or impossible to install a wire which will end up being a long term success.   In those cases the installation of sensors which need no direct connection to the control will be used.  Wireless sensors are the required sensing device and a radio transmitter incorporated into a small housing.  This housing is installed in just about any location where a sensor is needed.  When required, it sends out a coded signal to a reciever in the control causing the same things to happen as with a wired control.  The system will know which of the sensors was triggered and will report it accordingly.

One of the biggest advantages of using this technology is the shorter time it takes to install the overall system.  Where a wired installation takes two days, the wireless system may take only one.  There is a lot to be said said about not having to run many wires to difficult locations.  The modern wireless systems will also be able to report any potential problem which may develop within the sensor housing.  It's coding system will report if its battery is low, there is a faulted door or window and generate a "Check In" transmission on a periodic basis.  If any of these signals are received or missing, the main control will respond as needed.  In the case of trouble signals, they will be reported as such and if the check in transmission does not occur on schedule, a report of "Lost Transmitter" will be generated.

Although these systems have improved greatly over the last couple of years, these are some of what we consider as potential concerns.

We have installed a number of these systems and have found them to work very satisfactorily to date.  If you can accept the concept of potential future problems and higher cost, then they are a very good system today.

Self contained systems have the control, sensor, siren and on/off control built into one unit.  Their shape or appearance varies with the manufacturer and is only important to your eye.  They are a complete system which will probably do the job at the lowest cost.  The more comprehensive systems can be installed and moved by their owners from one location to another.  This is ideal for someone who moves from one apartment to another or has a very small home or business.  They require the unit to be somewhere centrally located, convenient to entry and exit, near an ordinary wall electrical outlet and in the case where they are to call a central station, close to the telephone jack.  With those requirements met, the owner can set up their system within a couple of minutes and their system would be operational.

Their disadvantage would be the limited area of coverage and a greater possibility of an attack on the system by the intruder.  These potential problems may be outweighed by the fact, it is more affordable by some who may not be able to purchase a conventional system and therefore would have to go without any form of protection.

All sensors have one thing in common.  They are designed to detect the activities of people.  Unfortunately, there are many things which do mimic peoples actions.  This is why there has been the development of many types of sensing devices.  Some will not pick up an imitation action which another does.

The most common device is generically referred to as a "contact".  It is a switch which is activated by the movement of a door, window or other activity.  They are probably the most stable and reliable of all the devices in use today.  They should be, they're simple and effective.  When looking at the different manufacturers designs, there must be 500 or more sizes, shapes and purposes filled  to meet the needs of your specific requirements.  If it must be done, there is probably a contact to fill the need.

The normal device is the two piece magnetic contact.   One piece is the switch connected to the wire going to the control and mounted on a door frame.  The second piece is a magnet mounted on the moving door next to the switch.  So long as the door is closed, the switch is under the effect of the magnet and is in the non alarm condition.  When the door opens and the magnet moves away, the switch signals the control and the alarm is sounded.  They are designed in all sizes and many colors so they will blend into their surroundings.  They can be surface mounted (in full view) or recesses (hidden in the frame work) and how will be determined by the what type of door they are to be mounted on.

They can also be a one piece device.  These are switches which are activated by a plunger which is compressed by the door when it is closed and released as the door opens.  This type may be called "Roller Ball Switches, Plunger Switches, Door Jam Switches and others".  Again, there is a variety of sizes, shapes, colors and actions which can take care of your requirements.  In almost any case, the installer should be able to select the correct switch to satisfy your desires.  If there is a reason you want a specific result, tell the representative ahead of time so they can be prepared to make the installation or be able to offer you alternatives.

All motion detectors are designed to catch someone moving through some specified area.  There are several current methods being used today which will be discussed in the following paragraphs.  They fall into two classes of operation, active and passive.

Active devices require a transmitting section to generate some pattern and a receiving section which interprets the pattern as being acceptable or abnormal activity.  They report an activation to a control panel upon recognizing the incorrect pattern.  The easiest to understand is the photo beam where on one side of the room is a transmitter of an invisible light beam and on the other side of the room is the receiver which will see the special light.  So long as the room is empty, the receiver sees the transmitter, all is O.K..  If something or someone passes between the two units, the receiver can no longer see the transmitter and therefore alerts the zone of the incursion.  This system is very good for long 500 foot halls or warehouse isles and where dogs may be involved.  The units can be mounted on a wall about 3 or 4 feet high so the dog can walk or run around below the beam without trouble but a person walking through the room will break it.

Another example of  an active sensor is a Micro Wave device which is a single unit with both the generating source and receiving element within a small housing.  These units transmit a very low power radio frequency which is sent out in a pattern to cover an area.  The receiving portion of the unit is feeling the patterns activity and will accept what is normal when there is no motion.  Someone moving in the pattern will cause the pattern  to appear different at the receiver which is then reported to the zone as activity.  This is very similar to radar systems and works best when someone is moving toward or away from the device.

A third type of active sensor is a "Sonic" detector.  These are rarely used today because in years gone by they probably gave "Motion Detection" a bad name.  They work on the principal of sending out a high frequency sound wave from a transducer and listening for an echo return sort of like a bat looking for mosquitos.  When the receiving portion got enough return, it reported a burglar.  This method seemed to be susceptible to false alarms due to its sensitivity to many extraneous factors (Moving Air, Humidity, Temperature).

Passive devices only need to recognize a specific condition caused by someone moving for it to be activated.  The person moving will generate the correct condition to cause the device's response.  An example of this the the most common motion detector used today, the Passive Infra Red (PIR).  This is a unit which requires only one location within a room to be able to see movement in almost any part of an open room.  It is looking for the Infra Red (IR) energy given off by a person as they move through an area.  The warmer an object is, the higher an IR level will be.  A room is normally about 70 degrees and the human body is about 98 degrees.  The PIR can easily recognize the sudden influx of IR energy and will respond by signaling the zone of the incursion.  The PIR works best when someone is moving across its viewing pattern.

PIRs are designed to be very resistant to false alarms.  First, they do not look over an area and see everything as you do.  Their vision is segmented so it can see someone only if they are in a given locations such as what you may see if you were sitting about two feet away from and looking  through a picket fence.  If you don't move your head, you will be able to see someone only if they are not behind a slat.  As they walk past the fence, you will see them and not see them as they go from one slat to the next to the next.  You would be able to count the number of times you saw the full view of the person and so can the PIR.  The installer will program the unit to respond only if it sees the selected number of full views (pulses) which is usually set for 2 or 3.  Pulse counting is what makes the unit appear not to be responding until after you have entered the room and moved some distance across the area.  It is doing its job, it is avoiding false alarms.

Another version of a PIR is the Dual Tech.  This includes the same PIR system noted above and also a Micro Wave detector within the same housing.  Both technologies are working at the same time.  If the PIR thinks it sees something, it will ask the Micro Wave if it also sees something.  The Micro will not see things the PIR might and vice versa.  Unless both are seeing the same moving person, there will be no signal sent to the zone input, hence no false alarm from one or the other having falsely seen something.  These units will normally be 50% to 75% higher in cost and unless the environment is very  unstable, you probably do not need them.  Yes, they are more resistant to false alarms but the normal PIR does not have very many problems in normal surroundings.

A completely different passive system is the floor stress sensor.  It is made up of a control device and a number of sensors connected to it.  The sensors are glued to the bottom of the floor joists in the basement in locations where you would want to know someone is walking on the floor above.  Places such as in front of a patio door, at the foot of the stairs leading to the second floor, in the kitchen, at the front door, in a central hall or anywhere an intruder may logically walk.  These sensors will be able to feel a person walking on the floor in an area which, if it could be seen,  is in the shape of an elipse being about 8 feet long and 4 feet wide and is centerd over the sensor .  The control is adjustable for the weight of your moving target.  This system is ideal for dogs and cats because you can ignore the 40 or 60 pound canine and still pick up the 80 or 90 plus pound person.  The unit is designed to ignore the trotting of the dog if they get in a hurry to cross the area but will not ignore the rapid movement of a person.  The advantages of this system are you will not see anything on your walls, it is pet resistant and it seems to be very reliable.  The disadvantages are it is much more difficult to install and adjust and the cost is higher for the same degree of coverage.

Dogs, cats and other pets are also warm blooded, moving creatures and will be picked up by most motions detectors.  To minimize this type of false alarm, there are a number of PIRs which are specifically designed to be resistant to small critters and still be able to catch the person who has entered.  They do work in most cases but seem to loose a lot of sensitivity to real targets.  A good way to avoid pets is to have very specific areas covered by photo or IR beams mounted above where they will be, floor stress sensors when the animal is not more then 85 pounds, use door contacts only or keep the animal confined to an unprotected area.  Real small critters like mice will not be picked up unless they have somehow been able to get within inches and are directly in front of a transmitter, receiver or PIR.  Bugs and spiders can cause problems if they are aloud to crawl directly on the device's viewing areas or the unit was not properly sealed during installation.  Good reason to remove cob webs which may accumulate over time.

Up to now we have discussed the type of sensors which pick up some sort of motion.  There are several types of devices which will pick up actions.  Their advantage is the fact they are normally being activated by some condition in the early stages of break in.  This means the burglar is probably still on the outside looking in when a siren sounds off.  Many intruders will just leave the area without even entering.

Glass break detectors are tuned to specific sounds which are typical of glass shattering.  The detector will not pick up normal sounds like people tapping or banging against the window.  They are selected for the area they should cover such as a hard show room floor with plate glass windows vs. a carpeted living room with small pains in window frames.  There are a number of other variations which make one better then another for the particular surroundings.  It seems most all of them will cover a limited area if used according to the manufacturers recommendations.  When using them in a home, you may need one in each room to protect the different types of windows within different furnishings.  To do a commercial show room such as an auto dealer, you will still need a number of them because they normally have a range of about 25 feet.

A second type is the Audio Discriminator.  This unit has a microphone which acts as an ear to listen for the sounds of forced
entry.  They are designed to ignore the normal sounds of an empty building such as telephones ringing, furnaces going on and off, someone knocking on a door, the ring of a door bell, you unlocking, opening and coming in the door normally.  A burglar may be using a tool or their foot against a wooded door, a window or maybe a wall. The structure could be glass, brick, metal or wood and the unit will pick up the specific sounds which indicate a forced entry is being attempted.  If a siren is sounded while they are still on the outside and only attempting to get in, they will probably stop trying and run.   Many times the correct sound is recognized and a siren is sounded before there is any real damage to the building which may save the cost of repairs.  These devices are available to any dealer who chooses to use them and are considered an initial or early step in protecting your valuables.  If they do work and scare the burglar away, your way ahead of the game.  They can cover fairly large areas but are somewhat overly sensitive and can be triggered by extraneous sounds.  You would want to use them where you know the ambient sounds to be fairly stable.

What ever your needs are, there is probably a sensor which will monitor the condition and report to a control panel when the situation warrants.  The following is a short list of some different types;

There are several ways of activating and deactivating an alarm system.  The most common method used today is the internally mounted Key Pad.  It requires entering a correct code number which will disarm or turn the system off.  Entering the same number again will arm the system when your ready to leave. In some cases, there is a special key which will arm the system with only one key stroke.  This is for your convenience and simplicity of operation.

The same key pad can become very comprehensive and controlling by; making everybody use their own code number, controlling the times certain codes have access or not, recording all activities by user code for future review of who did what at what time, being able to activate part of the system for evening or the entire system for times when everyone is gone and much more.  They can be either LED (Light Emitting Diode) indicating types which let you know what the status is by having small lights lit or the LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) type which tell you in plain English words which zone may be faulted, what the problem may be or which alarm was activated and much more.  If it sounds like this may become confusing, it can.  Keep in mind, 40% of false alarms are caused by misuse of a key pad.

The simplest method would be a common keyless On/Off switch hidden in some location.  This would make the operation almost impossible to cause false alarms but has the obvious potential problem of some unauthorized person knowing of its existence and making use of it.  Rarely used today are the Key Activated switches which were normally used on the outside, in a sheltered area and are used to disarm the system before any authorized person could enter the protected area.

Which method you choose will depend on;  who or how old are the persons who must operate the system, who is the potential burglar, what are you trying to protect, what type of building is being covered, how many different persons must operate the system and personal preference.  The simpler the better if you have children or elderly being cared for, only a few persons who have to operate the system and if it will provide the protection you need.  The more complex is required if your attempting to protect against ex employees, persons who are no longer authorized inside or the professional burglar who may be after your valuables.

Sirens are to make everyone involved aware there is an active alarm system.  For the burglar, they have to decide if they want to stick around or go somewhere else.  Hopefully they are smart enough to realize someone knows they are there and the police could be arriving sometime soon.  As for the system owners, they are warned of a potentially dangerous situation and can now formulate a plan of defense or offense.  A wiser burglar won't know which plan is to be used and would be prudent to leave the area.

Noise making devices can sound like sirens, bells, whistles or voices which tell everyone in the area what the problem is.  Having any of these devices on the outside may in fact notify neighbors of the problem but will also unnecessarily disturb them when you accidentally cause a false alarm.  You will be the one who causes the false alarm about 95% of the time and when it occurs at 3 AM,  you may hear something else the next morning.

Normally, an interior sounder will do the job.  It will be heard by any burglar who is near the structure or has gained entry. They will know or think the police are on the way or someone in the building knows of their presents and should retreat as soon as possible.  If you are there, you will know the alarm has been activated and thus warned of a potential intruder within the structure.  In addition, the neighbor will probably not hear it when your youngster forgot to turn the system off when having to go to the bathroom or get a drink out of the kitchen at 3 AM.

Most of the current building codes now require smoke detectors to be installed on each level of new construction.  Many of those are interconnected to activate a common siren somewhere in the building. A problem with most of these hard wired systems is they will only operate so long as the normal power is available.  If a storm or something else has caused a power outage, they are not working.  Most of the installed systems are not set up to notify a Central Station if there is a fire when you are gone.  Many of them do have the capability of adding on a module which will trigger your alarm control to report but the cost is extra and is normally not suggested by the electrical contractor who is doing the installation.  You would have to ask and pay for the add on device.

Older or existing buildings are normally required by city ordinances to have at least the portable battery operated smoke detectors on each level of the house and/or in the halls just outside the bed room areas.  Their intended purpose is to warn you of a fire and give you enough time to escape without injury.  They serve almost no purpose if you're not there.  Who on the outside might hear your interior detector and respond by calling the fire department?

The value of either of these methods is obvious even when considering their individual faults.   If an existing fire system can not be fitted with a notification module or the only thing you have are the battery operated detectors, there are a number of professional smoke detectors which can be provided by your alarm dealer.  These detectors can either substitute for the existing devices or be in addition to what are already there.  Their benefits would be the fact they derive their operating power from the alarm control and its battery back up system.  These detectors would be operational even without normal power and they will cause the systems siren to be activated along with reporting a fire to the authorities even when your not there.  If you've been overcome by smoke and can't get out, the arriving fire department will may be able to get everyone out before any fatalities.

A word of caution, simple precautionary smoke detection systems my not be permitted by local ordinance.  The city may require a system meeting all the directives of  NFPA, U.L., A.D.A. and/or local electrical codes or your not aloud to install anything.  In place of what could have been simple, inexpensive and effective, you must install something which may be more comprehensive but will cost two, three or four times more.

It doesn't matter if your central station is local or long distant if your phone line has been cut.  The system  will not be able to communicate without a working phone line unless you have installed one of several types of telephone back up devices.

Before discussing the various methods of back up, lets first determine if it is necessary.  Our experience has shown and my personal survey of area police departments indicate there are less then 2 % of the attempted break ins which have been preceded by cutting of the phone line.  Yes, it can happen but is the added expense cost justifiable.  Normally the facilities which have phone lines cut are those which are high value targets and are attacked by the "Pro".  A second factor is the problem of the phone line normally failing once or twice per year due to storms or telephone company maintenance.  These are situations which you may not even be aware of because they only lasted for a short time and you were not attempting to use the phone. If you had cut line monitoring, these situations may initiate a call to the central station if they are for a long enough period.  A couple of nucence calls each year for something which may be unnecessary in the first place may make this a poor choice.   Nothing is absolute and therefore you may still want phone back up but in all likely hood, you don't need it.

The cheapest way of taking care of most circumstances would be in installation of a very loud external siren which is activated only for a cut phone line.  This would be an example of a local alarm and would probably be satisfactory the majority of the time if your fairly close to neighbors or someone who would respond.  To augment this idea, you could also add a strobe light to make the area even more hostile to a nervous intruder.

The telephone company offers a service to monitor your phone lines and notify your central station of a problem should the line be lost.  It involves installing a module in your location which generates a sub audible signal on the phone lines at all times.  The phone companies equipment will scan the line on a periodic basis and either find the signal or realize it is missing.  When missing, the central station will be notified via other equipment and personnel.  The central station will in turn do what ever they should to address the problem.  You do have to make an investment in the hardware for your facility and pay a monthly fee for the service.  This service is not always available to all areas and  locations.

There have been a number of companies who have adapted Cellular Phones into a system which will provide an alternate path for your alarm control panel to make it's call directly to the Central Station.  If the phone line is cut, and the alarm is activated, it will make its call automatically via the cellular link.  Of course, you must invest in the special cellular phone device and have a separate cellular account for this infrequently used operation.

The newest method also involves cellular phone service but is at a lower cost and offers other capabilities.  The reason the cost is lower is because the technology utilizes the little used addressing part of the cellular phone system to communicate with the controlling agency.  This agency does monitor the system for it's own integrity and also notifies the central station of problems or alarms which may occur during phone line problems.
                                                                                                                                COPYRIGHT (C) 1999


What CHM Security has to offer.  Our goal will be to provide a system using the best hardware, which will be effective for your specific needs, at a reasonable cost and will be simple to operate.  Normally, our recommendations to prospective clients includes telling you why certain nice sounding features may only increases your cost.  A system must protect without being a master over your life style.  If these features are appropriate or you still "just want them", we will do it your way. The choice is yours.

Being a smaller company, we prefer working on a more personal basis and making sure you are fully informed prior to installing a system and totally satisfied with all aspects, afterward.  Annual visits reinforce this relationship by insuring your records are up to date, the system is understood and being used to its fullest potential.  We attempt to respond promptly to any request during the year which may cause concern or be an actual trouble.

Thank you for visiting our web site and hope the information will prove useful.  If at any time you are seriously considering an electronic security system for your home or business, please give us the opportunity to present a no obligation quotation.  We will be competitive.


James M. Meisenheimer, Pres.
Phone 414-427-0700
Franklin, WI  53132

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