WATCHDOG SECURITY GROUP

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of having a Monitored Security alarm?

A security alarm will alert the monitoring company when your home/commercial site has been broken into. There are many benefits to having your alarm monitored. Here are a few different scenarios, and the reasons why you should have a monitored security alarm:

  • Firstly, we all know that when we hear an alarm going off on the street that we don’t even look anymore, we have become so conditioned to hearing alarms that we ignore them. If your home alarm is audible only, meaning that if the alarm goes off the siren sounds but nothing else happens, you are relying on your neighbours to hear your alarm and possibly do something about it. Now you may say that your neighbours are great, but what if you neighbour has gone out for the day, that does not help you. Statistics have shown that by far the greatest proportion of Residential burglaries occur during the day.
  • Secondly, there are people who say, “my security alarm goes to my cell phone” we all know that when you say you have your alarm with you 24/7 there are times when the phone is not with you, either you are in a meeting or in an area where coverage is patchy, or the network is down. And what if you are away for the weekend or on holiday? What are you going to do while out fishing when your home alarm goes off?
  • You will be informed that the alarm has activated, but are you going to know if access has been gained or external damage done?
  • By having your alarm monitored, you can be informed of an activation and we will follow your instructions of how you would like us to proceed. If you are not in a position to attend to your site, we can dispatch one of our professionally trained security guards to attend your site and ascertain the cause of the alarm, and if required, organise for repairs and ensure your site is secured.
  • Another benefit of a monitored alarm is that we will be aware of power loss to your site. Now you may think that this is not an issue, but for a commercial site, this can be of great importance. You may have temperature sensitive material that requires power to it at all times and can’t take a fluctuation in temperature. For residential, this could be either medical equipment or your fridge/freezer. Most power cuts to a site are of a short duration, but in some instances, it maybe a fault and you would not want to come home from holiday to discover the tropical fish have died or the freezer has defrosted.
  • Monitored smoke alarms notify your security company immediately that smoke has been detected and the fire brigade can be dispatched immediately, minimising loss of goods and damage.
  • If you have elderly or ill family members who require extra special attention, panic alarms (fixed or pendant) or sensors which indicate a lack of movement within the home can be monitored for immediate response.
    Some Insurance Companies offer a reduction in your premiums for sites with monitored security alarms.
  • It is worth taking the time to discuss all the pricing options with our Security Consultant to find the level of protection that suits you best.

What sort of security alarm system do I need?

This will depend on the layout of your site or the level of security you require, for example – is there a crawl space within the ceiling for running wires or do we have to use wireless equipment? Our Watchdog Security Advisers can work with you to find the system that best fits your requirements whether that be for a residential or commercial site.

How often should my alarm be serviced?

We advise clients to have their alarms serviced annually. For commercial sites with smoke alarms, where there is a lot of sawdust or similar material in the atmosphere, we advise this be done bi-annually to ensure the sensors are not clogged and are functioning properly.

Who should service my alarm?

If your alarm is under warranty, it is best to check with the supplier who holds the warranty to ensure that the warranty is not voided by having someone other than the initial installer servicing your alarm. If the equipment is out of warranty, then you have the choice of using whomever you wish. Also ask your technician for the master code for your alarm, as in the future you may wish to use a different company to work on your alarm and this is information they will require for programming.

What does a service entail?

When the technician does a service of your alarm, they are there to check the wiring is not damaged (ie. Rodents have not chewed the wiring), that the sensors are clean of dust and grime, and that the backup battery is in good condition, and that the keypad is in good condition and buttons are not sticking. The time onsite will depend on how many sensors you have, the location of them (as this can vary between Residential and Commercial sites) and also if they find anything that needs to be fixed or replace.

What is the difference between wireless and hardwired sensors ( PIR’s - Passive Infrared Sensors)?

There are a variety of types of sensors, with different degrees of coverage and range and environmental conditions, but they all fall into either the hardwired or wireless category.

Hardwired: These sensors are direct wired back to the control panel (the white box about the size of the a briefcase which houses the brains of the alarm), either through the ceiling or along the wall.

Wireless: These sensors have a transmitter which sends the signal as a radio transmission back to the control panel. No wires need to be run. They are used in situations where there is no ceiling space for running wires (ie: Brick or Lockwood houses) or an area where you require coverage but are unable to trench to run wires like a freestanding garage or shed.

What types of sensors (PIR’s) are there?

With a wide range of sensors on the market, one of our Security Technicians /Consultants will be able to advise you of which type of sensor will be best for your situation, and upon discussion with you what level of protection you require.

  • Standard Sensors - are designed to pick up movement and temperature changes.
  • Pet Sensors – give a lower sensitivity allowing small dogs and cats (up to 27kg) to roam through-out the house without activating the alarm.
  • Anti-masking Sensors – These sensors are used mainly in commercial situations, the detector has the ability to detect if an intruder has attempted to defeat the detector by blocking (masking) it with a material that blocks infrared energy, such as paper, tape, film or spray. This would be done during normal business hours to return later with the knowledge that the motion detectors are compromised.
  • Dual Technology Sensors – These sensors combine infrared digital motion detection and microwave detection which give increased accuracy and reliability of detection.

What is a monitored smoke sensor?

Unlike a battery powered smoke detector, a monitored smoke sensor is integrated with your security system and directly connected to the monitoring station. The sensor runs off mains power thereby eliminating the need to change batteries every six months.

At the first hint of smoke being detected by the sensor, a signal is sent to the monitoring station and the fire brigade are dispatched immediately to your site minimising the damage on site.

What is a glass break sensor?

A glass break sensors detects the vibration and sound of breaking glass. With their high-performance microphones and advanced microprocessor based digital sound analysis they can detect the different types of framed glass - plate, laminated, tempered and safety.

What does a remote do?

Remotes are small wireless devices which can be used for a number of functions. They fit in the palm of the hand and can be attached to a keyring or neck strap. To use a remote you need to ensure your alarm has the appropriate receiver for wireless devices. The remote cam come in either a one button (for panic), two button or four button. The remote can be used for setting or unsetting the alarm, a panic button function, or opening and closing automatic garage doors depending on your garage model.

What is a reed switch/door contact?

A reed switch or door contact is a device which attaches to either door/ranch slider/windows which communicate with the control panel and sets off a chime or alarm if contact is broken.

For Residential situations - some alarm systems can be programmed to chime if a door/window is opened even though the alarm may be unset. This is a useful feature for mums with toddlers at home and you want to know if they go out a door.

In the Commercial sector, a reed switch will trigger an alarm if a contact is broken when the alarm is set and can also be used in a situation whereby they wish to know if someone goes through a door which they wish to keep secure, ie: fire exit door.

What are intercoms and access control?

Intercoms – there are many applications to use this type of technology, from a simple two-way intercom to a more sophisticated multi tenant video door entry video. In Residential situations it can be used for gate access or apartment living. They can either come with or without a viewing screen with a hands-free and push to talk option or a telephone type situation. A door release button is pressed to allow access to a site. Internal communication is also available.

Access Control – Access Control Systems can range from a basic keypad, to magnetic card readers, proximity devices all the way up to multi-door PC Based systems providing total control and monitoring for protected areas of your business premises. They can log who opened the door with a time/date stamp and even monitor if the door is left open too long. You can either have a swipe card which passes through a reader or have a proximity card which is waved in front of the reader.

What are point to point beams?

Point to point beams are used for external perimeter protection. These come in either freestanding or fixed to the side of the premises giving external protection before someone has got close enough to gain entry. An audible alarm function on some models deters would-be intruders from continuing their break-in attempt. Our security consultant would be able to advise you of the best options for your situation.

What if I do not have a phone line, can I have a security alarm?

There are several options available to you:

Option 1 - Radio monitoring: A radio unit is connected to a security alarm control panel. This unit transmits via the VHF frequency. It will poll hourly to the monitoring station confirming that it is communicating. It can be used as a backup unit in the event of phone line trouble at a site or as a stand alone unit where there is no phone line. There are two models of Radio units. One will only send a timer test and activations, the other, an Enterprise unit will send all signals the security alarm control panel is set up to transmit. Ie: sets, unsets, activations, power loss

Option 2 - GSM Unit: this is a unit which transmits on the GSM network (Vodafone) and has a sim card installed. There are also two models of GSM units. One is a stand alone unit which is connected to a security alarm control panel and sends all signals from the alarm via the GSM network to the monitoring station or a cell phone. (Please note, the client is responsible for ensuring that the sim-card has sufficient credit for transmitting the signals.) The second GSM unit is used as a backup unit to an existing security alarm. In the event of phone line failure, the GSM unit will take over sending the signals via the GSM network. This unit also has a sim card but will only be used if and when the phone line fails. (The client is also responsible for ensuring the sim card has sufficient credit)

Option 3 - IP monitoring: This unit transmits via the internet. The advantage of IP monitoring is that you can have more frequent test signals which allows for greater integrity of the system due to high confirmation test numbers. This unit is used for full monitoring and is an alternative to phone line monitoring. With IP monitoring you will require a router UPS backup to be connected to the PC hard drive to ensure that the internet will continue to work in the event of power loss to the site. The UPS router is sold separately from the IP monitoring unit.

It is a good idea to have a back up system for your site security. Not very long ago, there were a professional gang of burglars who were scoping sites prior to a burglary and were cutting the phone lines, which disables the alarm from communicating to the monitoring station. It could possibly be anything up to 24 hours before the monitoring station was aware that the site has stopped communicating with them, depending on when the alarm last did a timer test.

Gate Security, what can I do?

Gate or Perimeter beams will alert you to any person or vehicle that passes between the photo-electric beams (like a laser). The units are wireless.

The point to point transmitters can be internal or external as they come with waterproof fully enclosed casings. Being wireless, they come with solar panels for recharging the batteries enclosed. In low light areas, extra panels can be added. The width range between beams is up to 50 m with a radio range typically 300 – 400m but can be extended to 2.5km’s in some circumstances. Extra security beams can be added for more than one point of entry point. The beams can be incorporated into a security alarm system, ideal for out-buildings. A chime/siren will sound when contact is broken, and if you are away from the site (up to 100m open air from base receiver) and wish to know if someone has come through an entry point, you can have a remote device which can clip on to your belt to receive any signals.

Cameras – what sort do I need?

There are an array of cameras on the market, basically you get what you pay for. There are indoor, outdoor, covert (hidden) or dome, fixed or pan tilt options. Depending on the application of what you wish to see or cover, it is best to go through the various options with our Security Technician/ Consultant.

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