The equipment, tools and terms associated with home security systems and burglar alarms can be confusing to laypeople. The following terms are some you may want to know when dealing with local security system companies. Understanding your options and the contract you sign is of utmost importance, so use the glossary below to gain some background knowledge about the terms used before you begin.
Alarm screens for windows have a wire woven into the screen mesh which will activate an alarm when the screens are cut or removed from the window opening.
Also known as: alarm window screens, alarmed screens, window screens with built-in alarms
Automated gates are controlled with a keypad, voice activation or other method to allow people in who are welcomed and to keep out those who do not have permission to enter. Automated gates may be linked to a home via two-way voice systems and camera feeds so occupants can speak with and even see the people ringing at the gate.
Also known as: two-way voice automated gate system
Automated security systems are designed to deny unauthorized people access to property or items once the automated security alarm is set. These systems will also alert the home or business owner and police of a security breach through home alarms which may be silent or audible.
Also known as: automated security systems, automatic security systems,
A secondary power source that provides power to security systems or home alarms in the event of a main power source failure. Battery backup systems are temporary and will eventually run out of power.
Also known as: battery power backup, secondary power source
A loud warning sound that alerts the intruder, owner, neighbors, home security monitoring system and police that the security system has been breached. Security sensors are used may be triggered when a window or door is opened, when there is motion in a certain area, or if someone steps on an alarmed surface.
Also known as: home alarm, home security alarm, intruder alarm, alarmed windows, alarmed doors, motion-activated burglar alarm, monitored home alarms
central monitoring station
A central monitoring station is the location of the office that monitors alerts and alarms from home security systems for a given company or service. Emergency signals from your home security system are transmitted to the 24-hour central monitoring station, which them notifies police, firefighter or medic attention, depending on what services are needed.
Also known as: 24-hour monitoring station, burglar alarm monitoring center
closed circuit television
Closed circuit television systems are visual surveillance systems used to monitor inside and outside of homes, businesses, stores and other areas. CCTV systems may operate continuously or only during certain hours. Some are motion-activated and turn on only when there is motion in a specified area. The images are viewed at live monitoring centers or may be recorded for viewing if an emergency or break-in occurs, but they are not broadcast to viewers like television. CCTV systems are often part of home security systems.
Also known as: CCTV, CCTV recording systems, CCTV monitoring centers, motion-activated CCTV, CCTV security systems, two-way CCTV communication systems
digital video monitoring
Digital video monitoring services or systems are used in conjunction with CCTV security systems. The video monitor allows you to view the images from several cameras at the same time. These systems may be used in a central location on-premises (such as a security office) or at an off-site CCTV monitoring station.
Also known as: CCTV digital monitoring, live digital video monitoring services
Door alarms create a loud warning signal when the door is opened, closed or otherwise triggered. The alarm sends a signal to the owner, home security monitoring center and police. Door alarms may be wireless or wired, and they may be plugged into a central power system or operated using a battery system.
Also known as: door alarm systems, emergency exit door alarms, burglar alarms on doors
door and window contacts
Door and window contacts are magnetic contacts that form a circuit between doors and the door frames or windows and window sills. These contacts are broken when the alarmed doors or windows are opened, which sounds the alarm. The alarm may be audible or silent, and may connect to a home security monitoring system or to the police.
Also known as: door alarms, window alarms, window and door alarm systems, security systems for doors and windows
electronic surveillance systems
Electronic surveillance devices include televisions, CCTV systems, digital video recorders or video cameras that monitor activity. These systems are most often used to heighten security of property and detect and prevent crime.
Also known as: CCTV systems, digital video recording systems, electronic monitoring systems
Fire alarms can be triggered by heat or smoke. Home fire alarm systems can be part of total security systems for homes and businesses.
Also known as: home security systems with fire protection, fire monitoring
Flood detectors are devices detect the presence of unwanted water and alert the homeowner or business owner before damage occurs. Some flood detectors send out warning alarms that alert to the presence of leaks from pipes, water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines and other home or business appliances or fixtures. This feature may be part of home or business security systems that also alert the presence of fire, intruders, burglars or motion.
Also known as: flood detection systems, home flood detection
glass break sensor
If a pane of glass is broken or the wood or metal window frame is disturbed, a glass break sensor will trigger and alert the home owner and/or monitoring service of a potential break-in. These are often part of home security systems and monitored burglar alarms.
Also known as: window alarms, glass alarms
Warning devices that warn of intruders, fire, smoke, floor or another danger are home alarms. Home alarms are part of a complete home security system and may also send a signal to an alarm monitoring center or first responders.
Also known as: home security system, home alarm system, monitored security systems
home surveillance system
Electronic devices used to observe areas from a distance are known as home surveillance systems. These usually include cameras and monitored video surveillance features.
Also known as: surveillance system, video surveillance system
interior motion detector
Interior motion detectors trigger a home alarm system when they are disrupted. Motion sensors may be made with passive infrared, microwave or photoelectric detectors that sense changes in a room caused the presence of a person or people. Pet-safe motion detectors can be purchased.
Also known as: inside motion detector, motion sensor alarms, motion-activated home alarms
Keypads control alarm systems. Keypads are devices with a set of buttons usually arranged similarly to a standard telephone touchpad. These keys are used to arm, disarm, set and communicate with the home alarm system.
Also known as: home alarm system keypad, monitored alarm system keypad, security system keypad
light activation security system
Light activated security systems have senors that are connected to security lights. When the sensor is activated, the lights turn on when someone enters a specific zone. After a set time, the lights turn off again. Light activated security systems and security lights may be turned on by remote control, and are often used to deter or prevent crime. They may be used inside or outside.
Also known as: security lights, light activated security systems, movement activated security lights
Medical alarm systems usually include a receiver and a mobile pendant or button. The alarm system signals a medical problem or emergency, and summons emergency medical personnel such as police and ambulance. A medical alarm provides the user with 24/7 access to a monitoring center.
Also known as: medical alert, medical emergency alert system
outdoor surveillance systems
Outdoor security cameras provide surveillance for building exteriors. Outdoor security cameras can be wired or wireless, and are usually weatherproof. These systems are usually monitored by CCTV systems in-house or at monitoring centers.
Also known as: outdoor surveillance cameras, exterior surveillance systems
Panic buttons are emergency buttons or switches that trigger alarm systems and alert authorities when they are pressed or activated. These are usually part of a whole-house security system, and may be present at businesses and civic offices
Also known as: panic switch, emergency button, emergency switch
Pressure mats can be placed under rugs or flooring, and some look like welcome mats or entrance mats. They react to pressure from footsteps to activate alarms when set.
Also known as: pressure activated security mats, emergency warning floor mats
remote home security systems
Homeowners who want to activate and monitor home security alarm systems from a distance with the push of a button can choose remote home security systems. These home surveillance security packages turn on remotely and provide constant remote monitoring access via the internet. Alerts can consist of a phone call or text to a cell phone that alerts when an alarm is triggered, while others are connected to professional monitoring services.
Also known as: remote access home security systems, remote access burglar alarms, remote home security system monitoring
Security camera systems capture images by transforming visible areas observed by cameras into an electric signal to be processed. These may be monitored or recorded for later viewing if an emergency or breach occurs.
Also known as: home security system cameras, CCTV systems, video security systems
security system monitoring
When home security systems, home security sensors or security system detectors are set off, an emergency signal is transmitted either phone lines, the internet or cell towers to a central monitoring station. Upon receiving the signal, professional monitors notify the appropriate authorities, including police, fire, medical or other authorities.
Also known as: security monitoring services, security monitoring, 24/7 security system monitoring services
A security system is a home protection or business protection device that sets off alarms and notifies residents, authorities and the security monitoring center if a sensor is triggered in the case of a possible burglar, intrusion, fire, medical emergency or other issue.
Also known as: home security system, business security system, monitored security system
two-way voice monitoring
A device attached to a home alarm and security system that allows a person to arm and disarm an alarm system from inside or outside a residence. It activates an audio connection to a monitoring center in the event an alarm is triggered which allows the monitoring service to ascertain if it was an accidental trigger or an actual emergency or security breach.
Also known as: two-way keypad, two-way monitoring
wireless home security system
A home security system that doesn’t require wires. Instead, it relies on sensor boxes around doors and windows to transmit signals.
Also known as: wireless security systems, wireless home security cameras
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