Every homeowner is interested in the protection of their home. It’s where we raise our families, make memories, and rest after a hard day’s work. It’s also where we keep all of our stuff, those fantastic knick-knacks, keepsakes, and priceless mementos that we’ve come to treasure over the course of our lives. As such, it’s little wonder that home security systems are in high demand. The ability to protect your property and the people within it from the threats of intrusion, fire, and more is worth the investment in a quality security system.
For many people, the installation of a security system—DIY or professional—is the “final piece” of the home security puzzle. However, DIY systems—and even some less comprehensive professional options—lack a critical component of a true-blue, top-to-bottom security solution: professional system monitoring. Professional monitoring—the receipt of and dispatch on alarm signals sent from an alarm system by dedicated human operators—is too often a casualty of “cost-cutting.” I don’t need monitoring, some people think, because I just need my system to wake me up when I’m sleeping in the event of a burglary or fire. Unfortunately, as you’ll soon see, this logic rings hollow in a number of common real-world scenarios that illustrate the vital importance of professional monitoring as part of your home security solution.
When does professional monitoring come to the rescue?
Scenario 1: When you’re sleeping.
If you’ve ever woken up in the night to a strange sound coming from your house, you’ll know how disorienting and frightening it can be. Even for those who sleep with a firearm nearby, your brain isn’t ready to process critical information that soon after waking up and your eyes aren’t ready to see any dangers lurking in the dark.
While waking to a possible intruder is an alarming prospect, most professional burglars will go out of their way to not wake you up. Even if you’re a light sleeper, humans train their brains over many years to ignore the creaks and groans of an old house or, if you’re a parent, the pitter-patter of little feet running to the bathroom in the wee hours of the morning. Most burglaries are committed in under fifteen minutes, so even if you do wake up, it may take too long for your groggy brain to turn on and recognize something is awry.
Burglaries grab the headlines, but the most dangerous thing that can happen to you while you sleep is a fire or carbon monoxide emergency. Almost 4,000 people die in home fires every year, while carbon monoxide leaks claim as many as 430 lives. What makes fires so devastating is that they occur unexpectedly and only require minutes to burn down the modern home. Compounding these dangers is the fact that an estimated 80% of children sleep through standard “beeping” life safety detectors. In the case of a fire, scouring the house for still-sleeping children can cost valuable time needed for a safe evacuation.
This is where professional monitoring comes in handy. On a monitored security system, any alarm signal of an emergency nature is sent to the central station and reviewed by a trained operator. If the EPS Monitoring Center receives a signal that your front door has been open, we’ll call you immediately to alert you and ask if you’d like us to dispatch emergency services. If you don’t pick up, we’ll send them under the assumption that you may be sleeping or away from the home. For something life-or-death like fire or carbon monoxide alarm signals, we dispatch emergency services immediately for the fastest possible response time for the safety of you and your family.
Scenario 2: When you’re on vacation.
The whole point of taking a vacation is to relax, but it’s hard to shut down the part of your brain that’s worried about your home while you’re away. These fears aren’t unfounded, as some professional burglars do keep an eye out for homes with obvious signs of owner absence, including:
Piled up mail/newspapers
No cars in the drive/no traffic to the home
No lights on in the home
Social media posts by the homeowner declaring they are on vacation
Accumulated snow in the driveway during winter months
As aforementioned, most burglars are in-and-out of a home in fifteen minutes to avoid getting caught—and still manage to make off with over $2,000 in goods on average. Imagine, then, the damage they could do without rushing to get out.
Consider also the prospect of a fire breaking out in your home while you’re sipping mojitos on the beach. You personally may be safe, but without proper monitoring, your smoke detectors will go off and no one will be there to hear them. You’re relying on a neighbor or a passerby to call once they notice the home is aflame, and by then it’s likely too late to save much of anything.
Again, this is another instance where monitoring can help give you peace of mind. The EPS Monitoring Center will dispatch emergency services whether you’re in the comfort of your home or scaling Mount Kilimanjaro. While our call informing you that we had to call the police to stop a burglary at your home may harsh your vacation mellow, you’ll rest easy knowing your home is protected no matter how far away you are or how far away you’ve gone.
Scenario 3: When you’re at work.
While intruders can certainly break in while you’re sleeping, most professional burglars don’t want to be anywhere near you while you’re home. Thus, burglaries often occur between 8am and 5pm during the week while you’re hard at work—and away from your home. Without professional monitoring, a burglar could spend time searching for the valuables you most want to protect. Or, alternatively, your monitoring center could give you and the police a call within moments of receiving an alarm signal pertaining to a forced front door or a broken bedroom window.
Catching thieves in the act may be the chief benefit that comes to mind, but fires can break out while you’re at work, too. It only takes one busy morning, one hot burner, and one ill-placed Tupperware container to set your kitchen ablaze while you’re stuck in rush hour traffic. Again, when you’re not at home, professional monitoring can help to minimize the damage caused by a blaze and potentially reduce the cost of damages and repairs.
Scenario 4: In a second home or property.
Smart burglars case properties to look for high-value targets with wide windows of vacancy. This means cottages, cabins, and second homes are perfect targets for the patient intruder. It’s simply impossible to be in two places at once, and even some of the “well-intentioned but inadequate” forms of security people use in the place of a security system—dogs, guns, etc.—can’t function without the presence of an actual person to care for/use them. A security system can alert local authorities and the homeowner to intruders and fires during the long stretches between visits better than any other available security measure.
One sneaky problem that is greatly aided by professional monitoring is water leaks. While water/flood detectors are available for most systems (including the system in your primary residence), they’re especially helpful at properties that may lie vacant for days, weeks, or even months at a time.
Think of it this way: a sink in your cottage bathroom starts slowly leaking. While it can make quite a mess for a day or two, imagine visiting your property two months later to find your cottage flooded. Water/flood detectors can alert homeowners of water issues before the damage becomes both catastrophic and costly.
Scenario 5: Whenever system maintenance is required.
An oft-unsung benefit of professional monitoring is its use in maintaining your home alarm system. Your security system is complex. Wireless devices and control panels “check in” with each other to ensure proper internal alarm signal communication. Additionally, batteries are used either for basic functionality (wireless door or glass-break sensors, for instance) or as battery back-ups to direct power (control panels/cellular communicators).
If a battery dies on a motion sensor or some other issue is interfering with its ability to properly function, your alarm panel will not receive a signal from it and thus trigger an alert on your system. This alert may present itself as a message on your keypad and usually a single or recurring audible signal, which lets you know that a device requires maintenance. The same is true in the event of a power outage: if your control panel is no longer receiving direct power, it will switch to its built-in battery backup for several hours. However, after a certain amount of battery power is used up, it will issue an alert to your system indicating its power is nearing depletion.
These alerts are great—if you’re home to receive them. If you do not have professional monitoring and are away from home on vacation, at work, or at a second property, you would not receive an alert pertaining to your system’s issue until your returned home. While you may be able to disregard a low battery signal on a door contact for a couple of days, eventually that low battery will die and your door will no longer be protected from intrusion, putting your property at risk.
The EPS Advantage
EPS Security takes its monitoring responsibilities very seriously. For signals we receive—or even signals we expect to receive but do not—that are of an emergency nature, our EPS Monitoring Center will call you immediately to inform you of the issue with your system. When we notice a low battery on a device included in your EPS system, we call to inform you of the issue during business hours in the hopes of notifying you before the device dies. This is the same for any non-emergency maintenance signal that we determine may cause an issue for you in the short or long term.
When it comes to protecting what matters most to you, you need protection you can trust—and in Michigan, it’s hard to find a more trustworthy home security provider than EPS Security. We’ve monitored local business and home security systems for more than 65 years, winning awards for it in the process. Our engineers, consultants, and technicians can guide you from “go” through the process of designing, installing, maintaining, and, of course, monitoring your home security solution for your unique needs. As a family-owned and operated business, we understand the importance of ensuring our customers receive the care and protection their families deserve. Whether you’re looking for a brand-new security setup or are looking to improve your current home security situation, let us show you why thousands of Michiganders entrust their security to those of us at EPS Security.