Having an alarm system is one of the best decisions you can make for your business, according to centinisecurity.ca. It protects your property, people and operations in many ways. But how do these commercial alarm systems work?

Commercial alarms do not just keep intruders out or alert you to their presence. They perform a wide range of functions beyond systems of the past decades. These functions include:


Intruder Deterrence

Sophisticated alarm systems designed for commercial properties provide services that work before an intruder breaks in. Potential intruders, thieves and vandals know this. Even the sight of commercial alarm signage and control panels can deter most criminals from breaking or entering. In a survey from 2017, arrested burglars were asked what kept them from entering some properties. About half answered that a working alarm system keeps them out before they make an attempt. Another 23 percent professed that just seeing signage, sensors or other alarm system evidence makes them turn away.

Breaking and entering, theft, and vandalism are crimes of opportunity. In most cases, if you do not provide the criminal with the opportunity, they do not have the time or space to commit the crime. Simply having a commercial alarm system is enough to deter most crimes of opportunity.


Sensor Network

Deterring some intruders is enough to make commercial alarm systems worthwhile. Still, it is even better when such a system also detects intruders, their methods of entering the property and other hazards that threaten your business assets. To sense these, your alarm system provides a sensor network covering your whole property. These sensors provide the opportunity for you to stop the intruder or other threat before damage occurs.

A commercial alarm system sensory network includes:

  • Window and door contacts for notification of opening doors or windows
  • Glass break detectors that detect sounds of breaking glass
  • Shock sensors that pick up on vibrations created by intruders damaging walls
  • Motion sensors for intruder movement inside or outside of your buildings
  • Carbon monoxide detectors for detection of this odourless, deadly gas
  • Environmental sensors alerting to changes in temperature related to fire or water
  • Smoke detectors alerting the building owner and fire department in the event of a fire

Close up of a security alarm keypad with person arming the system.

What happens when the alarm senses trouble?

When the alarm picks up activity through its sensors, the signal goes to an alarm control panel. This panel determines the right response to the action, according to preprogrammed rules. The control panel can differentiate between the types of activity registered by the sensors. It then acts appropriately, such as by calling the fire department in cases of extreme heat, smoke or other indicators of fire activity.


Alarm Monitoring Service

Most commercial alarm systems also provide alarm monitoring services from a remote location. The connection to this remote service is through phone lines or the internet. This central monitoring station can include trained dispatchers who contact the right authorities, according to the type of threat. This, in turn, cuts down on emergency response time and provides bad actors less time to inflict damage. Of course, there is generally an additional fee for this enhanced 24/7 monitoring.


Alarms that Enable You to Self-Monitor

If you want to cut out the middleman and handle your emergencies yourself, you can select a commercial self-monitoring alarm system for your business. These systems do not send alerts to a remote monitoring station. Instead, they send alerts straight to you and whomever you designate for immediate response. When something causes a sensor to send an alert, you receive an email, text or telephone call. You then decide on your own how to act on that alert.

It is important to select a self-monitoring alarm if you have the ability to quickly respond to these alerts, 24 hours per day and seven days per week. If you frequently leave your phone out of sight and hearing range or turn your phone off while sleeping, it is probably not a good idea to acquire a self-monitoring system.