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In a Nutshell

I had the opportunity to speak about alarm systems and false alarms at a self-defense workshop for women this past weekend. The event was put on by one of the members of the county board of supervisors. There were 13 speakers slotted to speak in a 2 hour period, so we only had a few minutes each. As you can imagine, each speaker had to distill their comments to the most important points. I decided to focus on the following questions:

  • Do you need an alarm system?
    • Take advantage of free home security survey offered by many departments
    • Evaluate if you will actually use it
    • Consider low-cost alternatives such as upgrading locks and lights
  • How do you choose an alarm company?
    • Use resources such as the Better Business Bureau
    • Check with neighbors
    • Don't be afraid to move away from the beginning of the alphabet
    • Check professional associations such as ESA for members
  • What do you need to do after install?
    • Learn how to use the system
    • Follow the maintenance schedule
    • Educate all who have access to your home
In order to illustrate the importance of educating all users, I asked the attendees if they had ever driven a rental car on a beautiful day.  I then asked them what happened if a sudden rainstorm overtook them. Even if they were experienced drivers, they would fumble a bit while trying to find the windshield wipers even though they know how to find the wipers in their own car. The same thing is true of alarm systems. Even if a guest in your home has a system of their own, it isn't their model, and it would be kinder to show them how it works than to have them fumbling once an alarm starts blaring.


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