Home Security Glossary

If you are thinking about having a security system installed in your home, you will more than likely be engaging in quite a bit of research to decide which system is best for you. The purpose of this glossary is to give you more detail about some terms that you may come across during the research process:

Access Control: This term is generally talking about a type of home security system that restricts access to users. It allows you to customize your setting to authorize access to different individuals; such as your security company, spouse, or children.

Alarm Battery: If you are using a wireless device, your system will be running on a battery. Most wireless systems include two lithium batteries; one that runs the system continuously and another for backup.

Alarm Notification Device: This is the device that alerts you, intruders, and the monitoring party of an alarm going off. Most of these devices are customizable, allowing you to choose whether you want your alarm to be audio, visual, or both.

Alarm Verification: When having a professional security company monitor your alarm, an alarm verification process will take place to ensure that an actual issue – such as an intrusion or fire – is taking place. This verification can be via video, audio, or even take place by calling the alarm owner.

Babysitter Code: This is a unique feature included in some security systems that allows a user to arm and disarm the system using a specific, and separate, code. The code must be used for both arming and disarming the system as it will not work if the normal user code is used for either instance.

Bypass: This is used to remove a certain zone in the home from being monitored. It is most often used in instances where a homeowner has a pet that is continually setting off false alarms.

Carbon Monoxide Detector: This is simply a device that is setup to detect the presence of high levels of carbon monoxide in the home

Central Monitoring Station: This term is referring to the location in which the security company is monitoring your alarm. The location generally operates on a 24/7 basis and is where workers are tasked with alarm verification followed by alerting the authorities.

DIY Security System: This term refers to a do-it-yourself system that generally includes both self-installation and self-monitoring. These systems are almost always wireless and are self-monitored through a mobile or web app. You also typically have to alert the authorities yourself.

Duress Code: This is a code, usually four digits, that immediately alerts central monitoring station operators that an authorized user in duress. The purpose of this code is to ensure that the intruder is not being alerted in the process.

External Sirens: These are generally weatherproof sirens that are placed outside the home to alert neighbors and authorities to the location where an intrusion has occurred.

False Alarm Password: This is the password that authorized users will relay to central station operators when a false alarm has occurred. The password will be a predetermined word, name, or number.

Fully Supervised Loop (FSL): Refers to a hardwired connection that is continuously flowing through a wired system. If the signal is disrupted, such as a wire being cut, an alarm will sound.

Interior Follower: This is a zone in a security system that is commonly assigned to the entry area that an individual must pass through when entering a home to disarm the system. It is used to protect areas in case a burglar hides inside the home before arming occurs.

Keyfob: This is a keychain remote, similar to the one used to lock and unlock your vehicle, which can be used to arm and disarm your security system. A keyfob can generally be programmed with customized settings that allow for panic alarm capabilities and other security based functions.

Keypad: This is the panel in which the specified code is entered to arm and disarm a security system.

Local Security System: This term generally refers to a self-monitored security system that will sound an alarm but leave the task of contacting authorities in the homeowner’s hands.

Motion Activated Video Camera: These cameras are usually programmed with the home’s security system to detect motion on the inside or outside of a property. There are several different types of cameras, with most providing live streaming capabilities to your mobile device along with having two-way audio.

Opening/Closing Reports: This is a report sent to the main user of a system that outlines the amount of times that their security system has been armed and disarmed.

Pet Immunity: This feature is included with most security systems to ensure that pets do not cause false alarms to occur. It is meant to lower the sensitivity of motion detectors to ignore pets of a certain size; usually below 55 pounds.

Silent Alarm: This term refers to a security system that does not make an audible noise but instead alerts the monitoring party silently.

Stay Mode: This is a mode included with systems to allow for users to arm specific aspects of their alarms while sleeping. It generally includes only perimeter and limited interior protection.

Trouble Signal: This is a signal that alerts monitoring parties of low batteries, faulty zones, or devices. The signal does not set off an alarm but simply lets you know that there is an issue with your system.

Video Verification: This type of verification is used when a video surveillance camera is located in the zone that an alarm has occurred. It allows the individual monitoring the alarm to view the property to see whether or not an intrusion has occurred.

Zone: This is referring to the areas in which a device for a security system is tasked with monitoring. When an alarm goes off, the monitoring party will be told which zone has triggered that alarm. Users have the ability to expand zones within their home by purchasing and programming more devices.

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