How Does an Alarm System Work?

What is an alarm system?

An alarm system is a device that gives notice, often with a siren, of an undesirable event. They are used to warn people of events such as tsunamis, or in places such as factories and mines to warn of unsafe conditions, to alert people of fires or other hazards and to warn of security hazards and intruders. For the purpose of this article we will be discussing alarm systems in the context of security. Security alarm systems are also known as burglar alarms or intruder alarms.
Some security alarm systems are combined with fire alarm systems so they warn of fire hazards as well as intrusions.  Security alarm systems are used in business, residential, military and industrial environments to warn of intrusions in order to protect property and improve personal safety. Car alarms are also a type of intruder alarm. Prisons often utilise similar technology.
In some cases people will try to increase their security by the use of systems that have the exterior components of an alarm system but no functionality. MySec doe not recommend the use of a dummy alarm system.

How does an alarm system work?
Whilst there is a number of different types of alarm system on the market that work in different ways, most of them contain a number of standard components.

Alarm system components

The control panel could be explained as the “brains” of the alarm system.  It is connected to the other components of the alarms system and is used to control them.  Most modern control panels utilise computer technology.
Secondly, sensors detect intruders. They are placed strategically around the area being protected to provide as much coverage as possible. There are a number of different types of sensors available that have different applications. Some sensors detect movement or heat in areas that are assumed to be unoccupied whilst other sensors detect doors and windows being opened or broken or wire being disturbed.
The third component of the alarm system is an alerting device.  As its name suggests, the alerting device lets people know that an intrusion has occurred. Some alerting devices are designed to let intruders know that their presence is detected. These devices are typically sirens and flashing lights. The noise of some sirens is designed to disorientate trespassers and it also serves to alert neighbours, as do exterior lights. The alerting device on some systems is less robust; rather than using sirens and lights it alerts a remote control centre such as an alarms monitoring centre of law enforcement.

Bosch Solutions Series Alarm Panel

The next component of the alarm system is the keypad. This is often part of the control panel but it may be separate. This works as the human interface of the system. People use the keypad to turn the system on or off or to disable a part of the system. The keypad can be used to set a system to arm and disarm itself automatically or for basic communications with remote monitors.  In some modern system the keypad can be partially or fully replaced with other components such as remote control buttons or operated remotely using electronic devices such as smart phones or computers.
Further components of some alarms systems are accessory devices such as cameras, security lights and integrated fire alarms. These accessories can be integrated into an alarm system or they can be installed independently of an alarm system.
The final components of the alarm system, without which it can’t function, are the connections between the components. This can take the form of wired connections where wiring is used to connect components directly to the control panel or it can be wireless connections utilising wi-fi, mobile phone networks and the internet.

What types of alarm system are do you provide?
MySec primarily installs intrusion alarms for commercial, residential and industrial premises. An alarm system that we install can range from a basic system comprising of a few sensors and a control panel up to a comprehensive system using a number of different types of sensors and CCTV with computer exclusively dedicated to controlling the system and back to base monitoring

The brands that we use and recommend are Paradox and Bosch. It is our experience that they are the best quality and have the best after purchase service.

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