Access Control - A type of security system that restricts access to authorized users at certain times. Different access levels can be granted to different users/employees.
Alarm Battery - A battery that is used in a security system control panel or wireless alarm device.
Alarm Device - A component of a security system that can detect an alarm event (an open door, motion, smoke, etc.) and send a signal back to the control panel.
Alarm Event - An event triggered by an alarm device that alerts the control panel that some type of emergency has occurred. The control panel then sends signals to the Monitoring Center, where operators can respond to the event.
Alarm Monitoring - A service provided by a Central Station where the security system is monitored 24/7. A Central Station Operation receives alarm events and responds to them, contacting the appropriate authorities.
Alarm Panel - The central unit for the whole alarm system, which processes all the information, forwards it and responds as required.
Alarm Permit - A permit often required by local jurisdictions when connecting an alarm system that may request police dispatch. Advent Security will assure the proper permits are acquired when installing your alarm system.
Alarm Verification - The means of verifying that an actual intrusion has taken place. The Central Station Operator will attempt to verify the alarm before dispatching the authorities using the call lists that you provide.
Alarm Zone - Each zone is monitored by a detector (for wireless) or a detector group (for wire) and can be programmed separately.
Arm - The act of turning your security system on, so that it is ready to detect an alarm event. You usually arm your system in "Away" mode when you are leaving the home. This mode will activate all zones and all sensors, including both perimeter sensors and interior zones such as your interior motion sensors. Arm the system in "Stay" mode when you are staying in the home. Armed Stay will only activate your perimeter sensors such as door and window sensors and glass break detectors. Motion detectors will not be active in this mode so that you can walk around the home without tripping an alarm.
Battery Back-Up - A secondary power source used to provide power in the event the main power fails. A battery backup is intended for temporary use and to ensure the continual operation during a power outage. Back-up alarm batteries typically power a system for a 24-hour period.
Burglar Alarm System - An electronic system consisting of alarm devices that are connected to a control panel to detect a break-in and sound an alarm. A monitored security system is connected to a central monitoring station who can respond to the alarm and notify the authorities.
Business Security - Securing the property and assets of a business or organization using burglar alarm systems, access control systems, and/or video surveillance. Businesses, due to the large number of people using the security systems, often need multiple user codes and sometimes utilize scheduled arming and disarming.
Bypass - To remove a zone from service. For example, when you are in a home you may bypass motion sensors.
Call Verification - A central station operator places one or more phone calls in an attempt to verify that a real alarm has occurred and not a false alarm. Typically the first call placed is to the alarm location and the operator asks for a Code Word if there is an answer. If there is no answer, depending on your dispatch procedures, the operator may try one or more additional phone numbers in an attempt to reach someone. If no contact is made, or you do not give the Code Word, the operator will dispatch the authorities. Local jurisdictions that utilize enhanced call verification (operator must place 2 phone calls before dispatching an alarm event) have found that it greatly reduces the number of false alarms.
Carbon Monoxide Detector (CO) - A device that detects the presence of dangerous levels of the toxic gas carbon monoxide in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. If a high level of carbon monoxide is detected, the device sounds an alarm, giving people in the area a chance to ventilate the area and safely leave the building. At high levels, breathing carbon monoxide gas is fatal within minutes. When connected to your security system, the central station operator will dispatch the authorities.
Cellular Alarm Monitoring - A primary or secondary communication path that uses the cellular network to send signals from the alarm panel to the central station. The benefits of cellular monitoring are that no phone line is needed and there is no chance of a criminal cutting your alarm communication line as it is a wireless cellular signal. If used as a backup to regular phone monitoring, in the event of an alarm your security system will attempt to send the signal through your regular phone line. If it does not detect a dial tone, it automatically switches to the cellular transmitter, and makes a “cell phone call” to the monitoring station.
Central Station (or Monitoring Center) - A secure location staffed 24/7 by central station operators that receives signals from customers' security systems, verifies alarms, and calls the appropriate authorities.
Closed circuit television (CCTV) - A visual surveillance system used to monitor a variety of environments. The picture is viewed or recorded but not broadcast. Often used as part of a home or business security system, the system may involve a fixed communication link between camera(s), digital video recorders and monitors.
Closing - See Arm
Contact (Door/Window Sensors) - Sensors attached to your doors and windows that are triggered upon opening. You can set some systems to "chime" to notify you every time a door or window is open.
Control Keypad - Some keypads house the security panel.
Control Panel - The central computer or “brains” of a security system. Every sensor on the security system transmits to the control panel. A control panel can be connected with a central monitoring station to make it a monitored security system.
Digital Code - A personal code that you enter into your alarm system via the control panel to arm and disarm your system. You should always keep your code confidential.
Disarm - The act of turning your security system off, so that it will no longer detect an alarm event.
Dispatch - The act of calling in an alarm event to the proper authorities. Central Station operators are the ones typically doing the dispatch.
Distress Code - See Duress Code
Duress Code - A code used to alert central station operators that an authorized person is under duress without alerting the intruder that emergency help has been requested. Duress alarms are treated as panic alarms and are dispatched upon immediately without the need for any type of alarm verification.
Enhanced Call Verification (ECV) - A type of alarm verification that requires a central station operator to place two phone calls before dispatching the proper authorities. ECV is quickly being adopted by more jurisdictions around the country as it continues to prove to be an effective way to reduce false alarms and the costs that cities and states waste responding to these false alarms.
Enterprise Security Console - Designed for commercial users with alarm.com systems. Enables one logon to view system status and activity on multiple accounts.
Entry Delay - This type of delay can be set so that your alarm does not activate for some time upon tripping to allow you time to enter the home and disarm the alarm system. If the user code is not entered into the control panel in time, the alarm will activate.
Environmental Monitoring - Refers to a range of alarm devices that monitor environmental changes. Smoke detectors, heat detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, water detectors, and temperature detectors are all devices that can monitor environmental change. A security alarm system that has one or more of these devices can protect against a range of threats beyond common burglaries. In the event an environmental alarm device sends an alarm, central station operators would notify you or dispatch the proper responders instead of the police.
Exit Delay - A built-in delay when arming a security system to give you time to exit your home or business after arming your security system to avoid setting off the alarm.
False Alarm - An emergency alarm, such as a fire or burglar alarm, which is set off unnecessarily and triggers an unnecessary response from local authorities.
Fire Alarm - A signal transmitted by heat, fire or smoke detectors to the Central Station. Once the alarm is triggered, an audible alarm usually sounds and the Central Station is notified.
Flood Detector - A device designed to detect the presence of water. Flood detectors are typically installed in basements, cellars, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and anywhere else where there’s potential for water damage.
Force Alarm - To activate the intrusion detection system in spite of the presence of faulted zones. If a faulted zone is secured during the armed period, that zone is automatically armed by the security system.
Freeze Sensor - see Low Temperature Sensor
Glass Break Detector - A security system device that detects the frequency of broken glass. A glass break detector has a highly sensitive microphone that can distinguish between different sound frequencies and recognize the frequency of broken glass, which if detected causes an alarm. Glass break detectors along with motion detectors provide another layer of protection beyond perimeter protection.
Hard Wired - This means that all devices (motion sensors, door sensors, etc.) are physically wired to the control panel.
Heat Detector - A device that detects a preset high temperature or a rapid rate-of-rise (ROR) in temperature. Heat detectors can be either electrical or mechanical in operation. The most common types are thermocouple and electro-pneumatic, which both respond to changes in ambient temperature. If the ambient temperature rises above a predetermined threshold, then an alarm signal is triggered. Heat detectors are often placed in rooms where smoke would normally be found such as a kitchen or smoking lounge.
Home Alarm - A warning device that, when triggered is designed to warn of an intruder, fire or smoke. Home alarms often make up a home security system and serve to call attention to and/or send a signal to a central monitoring center to notify first responders such as police, fire department, and ambulance.
Infrared - A type of alarm device detection most often found in motion detectors. Infrared detectors distinguish changes in electromagnetic radiation as opposed to normal light changes. LEDs used on security cameras often use infrared technology to emit more light.
Interactive Services - Alarm systems with interactive services generally offer a greater degree of user customization and accessibility through the control pad and through their website or mobile apps. Some features include remote video and audio monitoring or the ability to arm or disarm your system remotely.
Key Fob - A keychain remote used to arm and disarm a security system with the touch of a button. Key fob buttons can usually be programmed for many different functions such as system arming and disarming or panic alarms. A key fob can also be used in some access systems as a proximity card that allows authorized access to restricted areas.
Key Holder - A nominated person who is able to operate the security system and has keys to the property. In the event of an alarm, the dispatched authorities will often request a key holder to meet them at the alarmed location so that they have access to investigate the alarm.
Key Pad - The device used to interact with your alarm system to perform functions such as system tests or arming and disarming your system.
Life Safety - Any type of security system or security system monitoring that is meant to protect one’s life instead of property. Fire alarms, panic buttons, or medical alert systems are all examples of life safety systems.
Line Seizure - Your alarm system has priority access to your phone line and can interrupt telephones, modems, or answering machines to send a signal. “Line seizure” means that your alarm panel will disconnect these secondary devices if the alarm has been triggered or for whatever reason has to send a signal to the central monitoring station.
Low Tempurature Sensor - A security system device that sends an alarm when a preset low temperature is reached.
Monitored Security System - Alarm signals are transmitted to a Central Station so that appropriate authorities are notified. Monitored security systems are eligible for a homeowner's insurance discount because insurance companies know that homes protected by a monitored security system are backed up by a live central monitoring station 24/7.
Monitored Smoke Detectors - Smoke detectors directly connected to a security system so that not only will they wake up any sleeping in the location, they will also alert a UL listed central station of a potential fire. If you would like to protect your property as well as your life it is important to have monitored smoke detectors and not just local battery operated smoke detectors.
Monitoring Center - See Central Station.
Motion Detector - An alarm device that uses passive infrared or microwave detection to detect motion in an alarmed premise. Some motion detectors are even more advanced utilizing dual technology detection or pet immunity.
National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) - The largest professional non-profit 501(c) 6 trade association in the United States with the purpose of representing, promoting and enhancing the growth and professional development of the electronic life safety, security, and integrated systems industry.
Notifications - Electronic alerts (email and/or text messages) that are sent to your smartphone when an event you specify is triggered.
Opening/Closing Reports - Often used in commercial systems, a security system that is programmed for openings and closings will send a signal to a central monitoring station every time the system is armed or disarmed. The central monitoring station can then print out a report of these openings and closings so that the user can monitor the use of his or her security system.
Panic Button - A device that when pressed, causes an alarm event regardless of whether or not the security system is armed or unarmed.
Partition - Partitioning your alarm system allows the creation of different areas or “partitions”. This allows for separate arming and disarming of each area while using only one phone line. A user can setup partitions, so that one area of the alarmed location can be armed, while the other areas stay unarmed. For instance, an inventory room can be partitioned from the rest of the store so that while people are working, the main areas are unarmed and the inventory room stays armed.
Passcode - See Digital Code.
Pre-Wire - Many new home builders will offer to install wiring for any future alarm system you may purchase. Many alarm companies offer a small discount if your house is prewired, as the cost of hard wiring and paying the installers are included in the price of the alarm.
Programming - Setting up the detailed settings for the alarm panel to match user requirements and wishes (e.g. specify zones/subareas).
Proximity Reader - An access control device that controls an electronic lock. When a proximity card, badge or tag is placed near a proximity reader access is granted.
Security System - An electronic system that is designed to prevent theft or intrusion and protect property and life. Security Systems may include intrusion detection, access control systems, fire alarm systems, and video surveillance systems. A monitored security system is connected to a central monitoring station who can respond to the alarm and notify the authorities.
Smoke Detector - An electronic device that senses the presence of smoke, issuing an alarm to alert nearby people that there is a potential fire. If part of a security system, it sends a smoke alarm signal to the control panel so that the Central Station is contacted and can notify the proper authorities. With wireless monitored smoke detectors or local battery operated smoke detectors it is usually necessary to replace the batteries once a year to ensure appropriate protection.
Status - Status of alarm panel: activated ("armed"), deactivated ("disarmed").
Stay Mode - An arming sequence of a security system that bypasses interior motion detectors. It is meant to be used when a client arms their system while at home, so that the occupants can still move throughout the alarmed premises. Only the perimeter detection (e.g. door/window contacts) and certain types of interior protection (e.g. glass break detectors) would be armed.
Temperature Sensor - A device that detects when a preset temperature is reached or a rapid change in temperature occurs. Different from freeze sensors, temperature sensors are able to detect abnormally high temperatures as well as abnormally low temperatures.
Trouble Signal - A signal sent from a security system control panel alerting the central station of faulty zones, devices, or low batteries. Trouble signals do not usually result in a dispatch, but instead a phone call to the client to make them aware of the trouble and arrange for a solution.
UL Listed Central Station - A common way to refer to a central monitoring station that has demonstrated the ability to provide monitoring service that complies with UL’s strict standards. UL requirements cover building structure, receiving and monitoring equipment, staffing issues, as well as installation and ongoing service.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) - A U.S. not-for-profit privately owned and operated product safety testing and certification organization. UL develops standards and test procedures for products, materials, components, assemblies, tools and equipment, chiefly dealing with product safety. UL also provides certification for alarm companies and central monitoring stations.
User Code - A code, usually four digits, used to arm and disarm a security system. Certain security systems allow for multiple user codes so that you can keep track of who armed or disarmed the system.
Video Surveillance - A type of security that uses a digital video recorder (DVR) as well as security cameras to monitor a location. Video is stored on the DVR and can be retrieved. Most video surveillance systems give the user the ability view their property over an active Internet connection allowing them to monitor the site from anywhere.
Water Detector - See Flood Detector
Wireless Alarm System - Alarm system with detectors that are connected to the panel by radio (wireless).
Zone - A way of separating the different components of your security system into groups (motion sensor, door sensor, etc.) that are attached to your alarm panel. For example, if your front door were attached to zone 1 every time it opened the “zone 1” light on the keypad will light up. Then, if your alarm is set off by “zone 1”, the central station will know it was the front door that caused the alarm. Different alarm panels can accommodate different numbers of zones.