How Does a Burglar Alarm Work? [Infographic]

Posted in Infographic Intruder Alarms on 5 April 2017

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It is a fact that you are much less likely to suffer a break-in or burglary if you have a well fitted and maintained burglar alarm. They provide essential warning of intruders on your premises, earning them their status as staple pieces of security equipment for many homes and businesses. In this article, we’ll be answering commonly asked questions about these pieces of kit, including “what is a burglar alarm?” and “how do burglar alarms work?”. 

Scroll to the bottom for a handy infographic!

The Importance of Burglar Alarms

The question of why burglar alarms are important for homes and businesses alike is easy to answer. Simply put, quick action is important during break-ins, and burglar alarms facilitate a fast response by alerting people in the vicinity to compromised security as soon as it occurs.

It’s therefore important to know the basics of a burglar alarm system and understand what they are, their uses and most importantly, how they work.

What is a Burglar Alarm System?

A burglar alarm system consists of a series of electrical components that are connected to a property. Via sensors and contacts, they detect movement or the opening of doors and windows, upon which a loud alarm is produced to alert those nearby of the unauthorised entry. Often deemed to be a security essential, these systems are a universal fixture of most premises.

Uses of Burglar Alarms

So, what are burglar alarms used for – or rather, where are burglar alarms used? 

Burglar alarm systems can be used in a diverse range of applications, including:

  • Industrial areas such as offices, warehouses and factories
  • Residential homes and garages
  • Commercial premises including shops, restaurants and hotels
  • Storage facilities

Above is a simple summary of the uses, but alarms can benefit any location where security could be improved.

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How Does a Burglar Alarm Work?

It’s important to understand that there are a vast array of burglar alarm systems available on the market, all suited for different applications and types of client. It is also important to consider what action you might like to happen if and when the system is triggered. 

The three main types of burglar alarms include: 

  • Bells-only systems, whereby just an alarm is triggered and that’s all 
  • Systems with speech dialers or communicators that will send a message to several nominated phone numbers
  • Monitored systems, where signals from the alarm system are sent to a special call centre and then acted upon by external means 

Whatever the type, most burglar alarms work by a similar series of steps:

  • Motion is sensed: When a door or window is shut, the contact of the door or window in the frame is detected by door and window sensors. Motion sensors can also be placed strategically around the premises, which detect motion and trigger the alarm countdown. The perimeter of a site can also be protected using a variety of detectors, too. 
  • Control panel is alerted: All installed components, including sensors, are linked to a control panel and all information from the detectors and sensors is sent here. If this contact is disturbed and the circuit is broken, the alarm countdown is then triggered. 
  • Alarm is sounded: If an abort code is not entered, the alarm will sound. The system is connected to an external bell or siren which is usually located on a wall on the outside of the property. It is this device that emits an alarm to alert people to an intrusion. There is also an internal sounder to alert any occupants of the building that there has been a detected event and this also acts to deter the intruder.
  • Alarm is deactivated: Users both activate and deactivate the alarm system using this control panel, either by using a fob or a numbered code. Smartphones can also now be used to remotely set and unset alarms via apps. 

White Intruder Alarm In Ceiling Corner

3 Types of Alarm System

All burglar alarm features and components work together in a full electrical system to sense an intrusion and alert third parties. There are different types of alarm systems available, depending on the needs of your home or business. 

There are 3 main types of system:

  • Hard Wired
  • Wireless
  • Hybrid systems

Many systems these days are “monitored” to an ARC (Alarm Receiving Centre) when an intruder is detected. This has the added bonus of the alarm details being directed to an operator at the ARC facility who in turn makes contact with key holders (or the police).

Maintaining Your Burglar Alarm

Regular maintenance will highlight and reduce issues, giving you peace of mind. With a burglar alarm maintenance contract from Fire Action, your alarm will be checked once a year (twice a year if you want a police-monitoring contract).

With us, professionally maintaining your system can help tackle any problems with false alarms. It is also a requirement of some insurance companies, and a requirement if you want a monitoring contract in place.

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For a huge choice of quality intruder alarms, look no further than Fire Action. Our security specialists can provide and install monitored, wireless, or remote alarm systems for houses and businesses across the South East in the UK. We also provide comprehensive intruder packages to commercial and domestic customers. To find out more about our security solutions, simply get in touch with our team today.


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