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Choosing the Right Monitoring Tips

Read these 4 Choosing the Right Monitoring Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Home Security tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Do you have to have a landline or Internet connection to have a security system monitored?

Cellular Monitoring For Your Alarm System

To have your home security system monitored 24-7 it used to be mandatory that you had a landline telephone connection. That phone line was the only way the company could contact you in case of an emergency. Times have changed though, and cellular phones are all the rage now, a trend that has carried over to home security monitoring too.

With a GE home security system from Protect America, you can get a command station with a built-in GSM cellular device. This is the latest in wireless home security monitoring. It provides a dedicated wireless connection between you and the central monitoring facility.

With this service there is no need to have a landline telephone or broadband Internet connection in your house to have your system monitored. All you have to do on your end is plug the command station into a power outlet and you are ready to roll.

This service does require an area with sufficient cellular phone coverage, so some locations with weak signal reception may not be able to support this package. Check with a representative to see if this monitoring service will work in your area.

   
Who are your emergency contacts?

Choosing Emergency Contact Numbers

Choose your emergency contact numbers wisely. These are the numbers given to the monitoring company to call in the event of an alarm being triggered in your home. They will try to contact someone in the house first, then the proper authorities. After that they will call the numbers you provide in the order you give them.

Having a trusted neighbor or family member who lives nearby is the safest bet. You want it to be someone who can get to your house quickly after being alerted to an incident.

In the case of an accident or medical problem a nearby emergency contact may be able to get there before the authorities. You can usually provide up to three contacts with two numbers for each person. Choose people that are typically easy to get in touch with so they can be reached quickly. Do not use pagers or answering services.

Other important emergency numbers you must provide the security and monitoring company with are for the local police and fire departments. These are the numbers used to send help to your home when an alarm is triggered. You will be asked to include these on most order forms when purchasing a security system. DO NOT put 911 down.

If you use 911 it will simply connect the representative to the emergency dispatch in their area, not yours. Look up the number for the local police and fire dispatchers in your area if you are not sure what they are.

   
Can the command station for the alarm system be used as an intercom with the monitoring facility?

Two-Way Voice Monitoring

Two-Way Voice is another monitoring option offered by Protect America that is slightly different from the standard service. With this option a landline telephone connection is required, however the security company does not call your home phone in the event of an alarm being triggered.

Instead, the signal is transmitted via the telephone line, but the central monitoring facility contacts you through the command station itself. The GE home security station acts as an intercom, connecting you directly with your service company without having to pick up a phone.

This service allows everything from activating and deactivating your alarm to communicating with the security company to be centralized and controlled at the command station. The idea is to streamline communication between the customer and the alarm company to make things as easy and efficient as possible.

Talk with your family and see what option is most convenient, and always make sure the intercom is placed somewhere everyone in the house can access. This service requires an upgraded command station from the standard option.

   
What is a basic monitoring service?

Standard Security Monitoring Service

The Standard Monitoring Service offered by Protect America uses your house's landline telephone connection to communicate with a monitoring facility. When any portion of your wireless security system is breached, a signal is sent to your talking command station.

The command station then relays that signal to the monitoring facility via your telephone connection. A representative from the home security company will call your home to verify that there is an emergency.

If the representative is not told the correct password over the phone for any reason (including if no one answers the phone) local authorities are contacted and sent to your home.

With this home security monitoring option, your talking command station must be plugged into a phone jack in order to communicate with the alarm facility.

The command station also regularly receives signals from the various sensors and security modules in your alarm system. If it detects a problem with any of your security system's components a status light will flash, indicating that there is a problem requiring your attention.

The status light will also notify you if there was a breach/failure while you were away or if a battery needs to be replaced.

   
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Barbara Gibson