Burglar or intruder alarms are widely accepted as an effective deterrent against burglars, in fact many UK surveys suggest that homes and premises are less likely to be broken into if they have a visible intruder alarm fitted. To make an informed decision about the correct type of alarm is best for your home or premises, there are a number of important points to consider. There are a number of types of alarms available on the market, each of which have their own advantages and disadvantages.
The most basic alarm system types usually consist of an outside siren and strobe light enclosed in a weatherproof box, operated by an indoor digital control panel and a number of passive infra-red movement detectors, plus sometimes door and window contacts. If you are a competent DIY enthusiast you may be able to fit your own basic alarm system. Alarm systems which are suitable for DIY fitting are available from many hardware stores and DIY superstores in the UK.
DIY fitting is becoming more and more popular due to the availability of wireless systems which are much easier to fit with very little drilling and cable routing required. Simple alarm systems use a bell or siren to attract the attention of neighbours and deter burglars. These simple systems should always be fitted to British Standard specification BS 4737 and are usually all that is necessary to protect a private dwelling, however it does depend on the location of the property, the type of contents and even the occupier - for instance if you are a rock star or millionaire playboy, a basic system may not offer the protection you are looking for!
Depending on your circumstances, you require a fully monitored alarm system with police response. More sophisticated alarm systems feature an auto-dialler system which will, on activation of your alarm, ring pre-programmed numbers to inform keyholders or neighbours (but not the police telephone number). Another type of alarm system is a monitored system which uses a remote signalling device to automatically inform a central monitoring station, so that they may in turn inform the police.
On of the first things to consider is whether you should choose a national brand or a local alarm company. Whatever route you choose, the type of system must always be fitted to British Standard specification BS 4737 and comply with the Association of Chief Police Officers policy. There are many installers in the alarm industry, so just like choosing a contractor to do any other work in your home or business, you should get at least three quotations from reputable installers and do your due diligence to choose a system that suits you and your circumstances.
Many people contact the Police for assistance in choosing an alarm, however the police will not recommend any particular alarm company. It is up to the individual to ensure the installer is a current member of a recognised trade association, such as SSAIB or NSI. Some insurance companies may recommend particular companies and offer a discount on house contents insurance if you choose a particular approved installer. Use the "post your job" button on this page to easily gather written quotes from professional alarm installers in your local area, simply enter your details and let them get in touch with you.
The cost of a burglar alarm will obviously depend on a number of different factors, plus an alarm installation needs careful planning and consideration to get the best value for money. As a rough guide, a basic system installation consisting of an internal siren, decoy bell, control panel and access keypad, will cost around £100. Whereas a wireless door contact installation which includes wireless door contact and updated PIR motion sensor starts from around £200. However, every property is different, as are our individual priorities when it comes to security, so to get an accurate price for an alarm installation you really need to have a survey carried out by a professional.
Beware of alarm companies who cold call, selling door to door or over the telephone using high pressure sales methods. These companies often charge inflated prices and will often not be part of any recognised trade association. If choosing a monitored system, ensure that the monitoring company is recognised by the police and issued with a unique reference number. before signing anything, study the installation contract carefully and determine whether you will own or rent the system once it has been installed.
In addition you should check the contract maintenance agreement and whether it includes and costs. Reputable alarm installation companies will always offer a short training session to show you how the system works, in fact British Standards requires that there is a 'hand over' period in which the alarm company makes the user familiar with the system's operation. Finally a good alarm installation should cause no damage or mess to your, with all wiring concealed.