Burglar Alarm System Guide

General Information

Some systems are designed to ring a bell and/or illuminate the area to scare off an intruder. These local systems send a signal from a sensory devise directly to a light system or to a bell or siren located in your attic or on the outside of your home or business.

When a sensory device detects an intruder, the sounding device is activated and/or the property lights are turned on. It is hoped that the lights or sound will alert the property owner (if at home), a neighbor or a cruising police unit. Since the typical burglar is not a professional, a local system will usually scare him from the premises.

Many companies will install a combination system which includes a local alarm (bell and/or lights) and a central reporting alarm. An advantage of having the central reporting system is that it is being constantly monitored by an alarm company. If the alarm goes off, the alarm company notifies the police department.

It is a good idea to have at least one smoke detector built into your alarm system.

Added protection is provided by a back-up power supply in the event of a power failure and a built-in ability to test the system regularly.

You get what you pay for. In this regard, be sure that the sensor devices (magnetic contacts, motion detectors, pressure mats, screens, etc.) to be in stalled are Underwriters Laboratories (U.L.) approved for burglary protection.

There are usually two costs involved when dealing with an alarm company: an installation charge and a monthly service charge. It is not recommended that you buy or lease a system from a company which does not offer a contract for continuing maintenance and service.

Once the alarm company representative has made an appraisal of your security needs, ask him for a written proposal and a copy of the contract you will have to sign. Take some time, look it over, and think about it. Check the alarm company’s reputation by calling Better Business Bureau, or contacting the Florida Department of Business Professional Regulation or the Alarm Association of Florida. You should also consider two additional estimates from reputable companies and compare costs.

Never sign a contract which does not list all points of protection and does not itemize the equipment to be installed.

There are laws in some areas that prohibit anyone from having a device attached to their telephone that will automatically call the police or fire departments in an emergency situation. A system that calls a security company is legal and they will in turn notify the police.

Remember: A good alarm system is an investment in your security and personal well being. The mere presence of an alarm is often a deterrent. Advertise the fact that your premises are alarmed by using warning decals.

Purchasing Checklist

When shopping for a burglary alarm system, use these guidelines to check out the system you are considering as well as the dealer:

The Business

___ Is it local?

___ Do they have a state license?

___ Do they offer 24 hour service?

___ Will the business work with your insurance company for reduced rates?

___ Is there a warranty?

___ Is there a service contract?

___ If the system is monitored by a central station, is it a person or tape recording?

___ Will the company have someone respond to the location to assist the police?

___ Are there any complaints on file with the Better Business Bureau?


___ Avoid motion detectors if pets roam your house freely.

___ Is it electrically or battery operated?

___ If electrically operated, does it switch automatically to battery power without activating (power failure)?

___ If activated, will it automatically shut itself off, will it reset for another attack?

___ If the control box is exposed, will it activate if tampered with?

___ Are all wires protected from the elements and rodents?

___ If an audible system, is it loud enough for neighbors to hear?

___ Does the system have a time delay to allow time to activate or deactivate without false alarms?

___ Is the system approved by Underwriters Laboratory (U.L.)

Contact Us

Further information on the Alarm Ordinance can be obtained by contacting the False Alarm Officer at 305-948-2952 - Press 2.

Florida Alarm Association can provide information on state laws and other issues on alarms, etc.