Things to consider before buying a security system
Security systems are an effective deterrent to crime. Most police and fire officials recommend homes and businesses install a security system. The Alarm Association of Florida, Inc. wants to help you in making this important purchase for you and your family. Our members abide by a strict Code of Ethics, they are required to be licensed in Florida, and they must attend regular educational classes on new technologies, state and national regulations.
Anyone interested in purchasing a residential or business security system should do some serious homework before deciding where to buy the system. That’s because the installation, service, maintenance, monitoring, and repair of all commercially-installed security systems in Florida, must be done by a licensed contractor.
The state’s license law protects the consumer by requiring: a minimum of fourteen hours of continuing education every two years in order to maintain a license, as well as a requirement to hold $800,000 liability and property insurance coverage in addition to workers’ comp insurance on workforces.
How do you know if a company holds the proper license? First, ask the company representative to provide you with his/her company license number. All Florida licenses begin with the letter “E”. See the listing of the license categories approved by the Department of Business & Professional Regulation’s Electrical Contractors Licensing Board for legal security work in the state under our section marked “Contractor Licensing”.
Be a comparison shopper. Contact several companies and compare their offerings before deciding on one. Price should never be the determining factor in selecting your system. What appears to be a great deal going in may turn out to be more expensive in the long run through hidden or vague contract clauses that could end up costing more than you thought you were buying! Always get a quote of the recommended system, its components, and any monitoring that will be performed, IN WRITING!
Never be pressured into signing a contract right away! Any reputable company will welcome your savvy eye and will be happy to answer questions and come back for another sales call when you’re ready.
Ask the company representative if the company’s workforce has been certified through the Alarm System Agent law and if all representatives have successfully complied with a criminal background check.
Check with your insurance company to see if you’ll qualify for homeowner’s discounts by having a security system installed. Some insurance companies provide discounts for certain kinds of systems…it doesn’t hurt to ask them before shopping!
Be sure that a training session will be included in the sales price to familiarize you and your family with the operations of the alarm system. Don’t be left holding the bag for numerous false alarms by not knowing how to effectively use your system! Some communities with false alarm ordinances will fine repeat offenders for numerous false alarms. Don’t let the technician leave until all of your questions have been answered and you feel confident in operating your alarm system!
Contact the Alarm Association of Florida, Inc. if you have additional questions or want a list of reputable, licensed companies in your area: (800) 899-2099. Or, call the Electrical Contractors Licensing Board to verify if a company is licensed: (850) 488-3109.
Causes of False Alarms
Human error is the largest single cause of false alarms!
1. Know your system and password!
2. Make sure all doors and windows are locked.
3. With motion or glass break detectors, make sure that windows are secured. A breeze can move curtains and plants, causing motion sensors to trigger. A glass break detector may react to outside noise.
4. Before setting your alarm system make sure family pets are in a “safe” area where they will not disturb motion sensors.
5. Do not allow any moving items to remain in an area where a motion sensor is located. Loose banners, fans and balloons cause false alarms.
6. Everyone with a key to your property should know how to operate the system and have a password.
No Password = Police Dispatch
7. Call your alarm company before tenting fumigation or remodeling your home to get advice on how to prevent false alarms from smoke detectors caused by fumes or dust.
8. Investigate all unexplained alarms. Have your system serviced on a regular basis.
9. Make sure that your emergency contact list is current and accurate.