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Local vs Central Alarm Systems: What’s the Difference?

Home Security Tips

 One of the most important aspects of your security system is what happens after the alarm goes off. 

Homeowners and business owners typically assume that all alarm systems operate and react in the same way. The truth is, the way your alarm system responds in emergencies depends on the specific type you have. 

The two main types of alarm systems are:

  • Local alarm systems - These systems sound an alarm to alert home and business owners of emergencies. However, these systems do not contact authorities.
  • Central (monitored) alarm systems - These systems alert both home/business owners and the proper authorities in the case of true emergencies.

In this blog, we’ll examine both types of alarm systems and the differences in how they work if/when an emergency occurs.


Ready to install an alarm system in your home or business? We’re happy to help! Learn more about the services we offer by visiting our home security monitoring page and our business security monitoring page.

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Local alarm systems

A majority of homes and even some businesses have local alarm systems installed. These systems alert homeowners/business owners of potential burglary, fires and CO detection by sounding a very loud alarm and/or sending notifications to your smart device. 

However, a local alarm system will not send out a signal to a security company (central station) if the alarm goes off. Without access to a central station, the police and other services are only made aware of an emergency (and will only respond) if someone calls them to notify them of the emergency.

 

Central alarm systems

For a monthly fee, central alarm systems are monitored by a central monitoring station 24/7. That means, the moment the alarm goes off, a signal is instantly sent to the monitoring station, where live operators are always standing by, ready to help.  

Once the signal is received, the monitoring station operator will determine whether there is a true emergency (vs just a false alarm). If there’s an emergency, the operator will promptly notify the proper authorities to respond. Having this automatic response available means all you have to do is wait for help to arrive. Depending on your security company, you may get a response time of less than a minute from the time the emergency occurred to the moment the proper authorities are notified and dispatched to your location.

Whether you need the police or fire department, the monitoring station will see to it that you receive the assistance needed after the alarm goes off. So, there’s no need for you to pick up the phone and call anyone yourself.

If the house is empty during the day or your business is closed for the night, a central alarm system puts your mind at ease knowing your property is in good hands. 

 

Central vs Local: Which is better for my home or business?

The specific type of security system you choose for your home or business comes down to your needs, local codes and your budget.

However, central (monitored) alarm systems are the best and most secure investment by far. Homeowners who choose central monitoring typically pay more due to the monthly monitoring cost that comes with the system. But, you can’t really put a price tag on the peace of mind they provide. 

 

Looking to install an alarm system for your home? Look no further than Ackerman

We’ve been helping home and business owners secure their property since 1967. Over these past 50 years, we’ve developed into Atlanta’s largest and most respected security company. 

Whether you’re interested in a local alarm system or a monitored/central system, we can help. Not sure which one is best for you? We can help you there too with professional advice on the system that best suits your needs.

Get a free quote today

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