All companies have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of their staff and premises – and that’s why business alarm systems are not only important, but essential. They can also save you an awful lot of money in the event of an intrusion!
The type and use of an alarm varies, but what remains the same across the range of commercial security systems is that the function of an alarm is to deter potential intruders and alert staff to possible dangers.
A commercial alarm system has a series of sensors connected to a main control unit. When activated the control unit sends alerts, which can be received as messages, be sound-only or can be monitored by an external centre.
If the worst should happen and your company experiences a break-in, an alarm is often the quickest way to find out.
So how do you choose which type of system is best for your commercial property?
First You Need to Know the Jargon
Here’s a quick guide to some of the abbreviations that are used frequently around commercial intruder alarms:
- Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) – For monitored business alarm systems; the security company’s centre which monitors the alarm and investigates if they are activated.
- National Security Inspectorate (NSI) – The leading organisation in the UK for security and fire protection company certification. They offer two tiers of awards to organisations – Silver and Gold.
- Police Unique Reference Number (URN) – A specific number attached to a property, so that it can be identified by the police. It will be used when an alarm has been triggered and the ARC has informed the police that they need to respond. This is only available to alarms that have been installed by UKAS accredited organisations.
- Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board (SSAIB) – A certifying body for organisations offering security protection, including alarms.
- United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) – The only national body in the UK to assess organisations that offer certification and installation. They are recognised by the government and test to globally recognised levels. The NSI and SSAIB have UKAS accreditation.
What are the different types of commercial intruder alarms?
There are two main types of alarms: wired and wireless.
Wired alarms use cables to connect. They are the older of the technologies and used to be seen as the more reliable choice, although these both wired and wireless systems are considered reliable. This type of system requires less frequent battery changes, but because it’s a wired system, the structure is likely to be visible. A wired system is fixed to the property, so if you plan to keep your business in the same location for a long time, or you own the property, then a wired system could be ideal. You might also benefit from a wired system if your business is situated in an area that would experience too much interference for a wireless system to work properly.
A wireless alarm system uses radio frequency or WiFi to connect the sensors. This offers greater flexibility, and a quicker and easier installation process. Wireless systems require more frequent battery changes in the devices than their wired counterparts, but offer a more sleak look.
Wireless alarms are well suited to growing businesses, as well as businesses that are planning a move. If you would prefer a less visible system, then wireless is the way forward for you.
How will my alarm system signal?
There are two main ways in which an alarm can be raised once the system has been triggered.
This type of alarm uses sounders only to raise the alarm, although it may be accompanied by flashing lights as well. The system needs to be deactivated manually, and relies on the would-be intruders to be deterred by the sounds or for people that are passing to take action.
Bell-only alarms could be suitable if you are often nearby your business premises to hear the alarm. For example, if you have a workshop that runs near or in your home. It could also be suitable if your business is on a busy street with high and regular footfall.
With this option, in addition to the bell-only alarm features, the alarm is monitored externally by an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). This centre monitors activity, and can also be connected to police response.
A monitored alarm system is better for unoccupied and high risk premises. Knowing your business is being monitored externally gives you extra peace of mind.
What are the benefits of commercial alarm systems?
- 24/7 security
- Sensors detect movement
- Act as a deterrent
- Alerts others through sound and lights
- Monitored systems connect to ARCs for investigation or referral
- Follow staff work times
- Connect to alarm activity remotely via an app, if possible
Give us a call at Swift Fire and Safety today to discuss these benefits further and find the right alarm system for you.