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February 2, 2016 11:00 am

What you should know about burglar alarm systems

So you've decided to invest in a burglar alarm system for your home. But where do you go? Who do you talk to? What do you look for? What questions do you ask?

Here is some basic information that will help you make a wise decision about protecting your home, valuables and loved ones. First of all, make sure you deal with an established firm with a proven history of performance. The company should be willing to supply a list of nearby homeowners or commercial installations who are satisfied customers and who may be contacted for references. You also should check the reliability of the firm and its equipment with the Better Business Bureau or your local Chamber of Commerce. 

 It's generally a good idea to obtain two or three bids from different companies to ensure that you get a competitive price and are exposed to all of the various alarm systems on the market. The cost of alarm systems can vary greatly, depending on your budget and the design of your home as well as a number of other factors, such as the distance to the alarm company, local telephone rates and the amount of wiring required. Remember to shop price and quality and thoroughly read your contract before signing it.

The basic perimeter alarm system is a simple closed-circuit loop consisting of contacts or screens on doors and windows. Most are designed to either ring a bell, activate a siren or illuminate the area to scare off an intruder.

Interior alarm systems employ a variety of sensors, such as pressure mats, photo-electric beams, motion detectors and noise detectors. While no alarm system will make your home 100 percent burglar-proof, a good system can deter or detect most intruders and give you an added measure of security when you are away from your home. Once you've selected a company and your system, try to have all members of your family present during the installation so they can all get instructions on how to operate the system. The effectiveness of your system depends on you. Make sure you understand how it works. Then tell your neighbors that you have an alarm system and ask them to call law enforcement if the alarm is activated.

Here are some other tips to look for in a burglar alarm system: The system should include a monitoring device to alert the homeowner to any malfunction. An audible alarm should be loud enough to alert your neighbors and be heard in any area of your home. Also, any external components of the system should be made as inaccessible as possible so that intruders attempting to de-activate the system find it difficult to cut through wires or cables outside the home. And finally, make sure warning decals are displayed letting intruders know that your home is protected by an alarm system.

Volusia County Sheriff's Office

Administrative offices: West Volusia 386-736-5961 Daytona Beach 386-254-4689 New Smyrna Beach 386-423-3352

Non-emergency dispatch numbers: DeLand 386-943-8276 Daytona Beach 386-239-8276 New Smyrna Beach 386-409-8276 Osteen 407-323-0151

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