One of our most frequently asked questions is “Should my burglar alarm go off during a power cut?” Our response is no, it shouldn’t.
During the event of a power cut, your burglar alarm shouldn’t be going off as the backup battery should be able to provide the alarm with power during a the power cut, even during bad weather conditions.
However, if your alarm does go off during a power cut, there may be a fault with it. This means the back up battery, which is meant to keep the alarm running, is unable to keep the alarm system running therefore setting the alarm off.
To avoid any faults with your burglar alarm, it needs to be regularly serviced. Having your alarm systems serviced is generally a basic insurance requirement. By testing and servicing your burglar alarm, it help to keep it in optimum condition and often we can locate a fault before it becomes a problem for you.
We service and maintain burglar alarms in Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Harrogate, Huddersfield, Halifax, West Yorkshire.
Based in Leeds at 45b Holbeck Lane, Leeds, LS11 9UL we cover the UK for commercial customers.
1st June, we welcome our new apprentice Jake, he will complete a 3 year apprenticeship in Fire, Emergency and Security Systems, for this he will gain an NVQ level 3. Today he has already been 1st and 2nd fixing an access control system on an office in Colton and has already shown a natural ability to understand tasks and complete jobs.
2 days in and Jake our apprentice is already working competently on his own section of the access control whilst i fit the controllers in the same room.
He's cut out the wall for a fast-a-fix box, rodded the wall and dropped cables down and 2nd fixed a green break glass and 2 paxton p50 readers. All in a days work for him taking pride in his work whilst documenting what he's done with photos and notes for his apprenticeship records. #keepupthegoodwork
The police recommend home owners “install a visual burglar alarm” with a box on the outside of the house. But the police say it must be as part of a suite of prevention measures because “a burglar alarm on its own will not prevent entry to your home”.
Also consider extra security steps, such as external lighting and CCTV, locks and better security measures and making sure your neighbours can overlook your property entrances.
But alarms can help. And some home insurers offer discounts on approved, monitored alarms.
The latest (2019) crime statistics suggest 31% of homes now have a burglar alarm of some sort, down slightly from last year (32%), but part of a general rising trend. While almost a third (31%) of home owners increase security as part of general home improvements, 45% do so because of rising crime, such as a burglary at a friend’s or neighbour’s.
The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) estimates that, of the approximate eight million homes with alarms, 30% are audible-only alarms – alarms that ring or have a siren but are not monitored – and just 2% are remotely monitored alarms.
What type of burglar alarm should I choose?
The top of the range alarm is a monitored system installed by a supplier accredited by either the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) or the NSi (NACOSS).
The BSIA only represents firms that meet these two inspection regimes. It says that kind of alarm might cost as much as £750 to install for a standard home. It could also have annual costs of perhaps £400 for the servicing and monitoring.
At the other end of the scale are DIY-installed systems costing as little as £300. A professionally fitted audible-only alarm could cost you £500 to install, the BSIA says.
You can choose alarms that either:
Ring or are silent
Contact you or contact a neighbour
Contact a monitoring station or the police
Are wifi or hard-wired
That means you can have a bells-only alarm that will ring if your home is broken into. You have to hope the siren scares off the burglar or that your neighbours will come running or call the police.
You can have an alarm that messages your smartphone, or a neighbour’s, when triggered. You then have to decide the next course of action, maybe in conjunction with a web-enabled CCTV system. These can sound an alarm bell when contacting you, or remain silent.
You can have wireless and portable alarm sensors that you can move about and position to suit you. Each unit will need its batteries changed when they run low.
Or you can have a professionally installed, hard-wired system that has a central back-up battery in case of a power cut. These may also be connected directly to a monitoring station and even call the police.
Are there any insurance-approved alarms?
Some insurers ask you to have an alarm or offer a discount either on the installation costs or on your premium if you have an alarm. They are likely to insist on an alarm installed by a SSAIB installer, vetted and certified by the SSAIB, or one similarly approved by the NSI (NACOSS).
If you want a monitored alarm that can be connected to the police, you must have one fitted by an approved installer. The National Police Chiefs’ Council sets rules governing alarms.
Although research shows insurance premiums rise by as much as 16% after a burglary, it is unlikely that any insurer discount will cover the costs of the annual maintenance and monitoring for the alarm, let alone the installation costs.
It’s about peace of mind. These alarms can also have panic buttons so that you can instantly summon the police if an intruder gains entry while you are home.
And modern alarm sensors mean even dog and cat owners can have alarms installed that are clever enough to allow pets to roam without triggering the siren.
What is a SSAIB alarm?
SSAIB is the recognised name for certified, approved alarm fitting, itself approved as an independent certification body by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).
The SSAIB is not a trade association of alarm fitters – it is independent. The other accreditation body is NSi (NACOSS).
To become an approved installer, a firm will have its work inspected, and tested to ensure it meets the highest standards. That means they must have been fitting alarms for four to six months before the approval process can even begin.
The SSAIB will also want to see that the firm screens employees to make sure that no alarm details are being passed to criminals, that the firm is financially secure and the management is of ‘repute’. The SSAIB also inspects each firm’s monitoring stations.
The SSAIB offers a service so you can find a SSAIB alarm installer in your area. The NSi also offers a service to find an installer.
What happens if my SSAIB monitored alarm is triggered?
A monitoring station will detect the alarm and first check to see if there is continued activity in the property. If there is no further triggering of the sensor they may just call you or your other named contacts.
There might be fault on your system. There might have been a rodent or bird that has got into the building. Even a lack of dusting leaving a spider’s web in front of a sensor can trigger a false alarm.
If the monitoring centre identifies continued activity in your home, they will notify the police. How fast the police respond will depend on how busy they are at that time. If you have had a false alarm before they may not rush either. Repeated false alarms and you risk being removed from the police list.
Note: If you press the panic button, that will be treated as a priority call and the police will respond as soon as they can.
Can my insurer refuse my claim if I forgot to set my alarm?
In short, no an insurer is unlikely to deny your claim completely. They may reduce the amount paid to you. This applies too to door and window locks and other home security features your insurer may have specified.
Your insurer has either discounted your premium or accepted your home as a risk it was prepared to cover on the basis that you will use the security measures you have detailed. It is reasonable of them to pay less, or to refuse to insure you in future, if you then do not use those security devices.
However, if you simply forget to turn on your alarm once and are unlucky enough to be burgled that day, it is unlikely an insurer’s rejection of your claim would stand up to scrutiny by the Financial Ombudsman’s service. Your alarm company records would show you used the alarm regularly.
But if you have an alarm, get into the habit of using it every time you leave the house. Some you can also set for downstairs only when you go to bed at night.
Will a burglar alarm guarantee the security of my home?
Sadly, a burglar alarm is no guarantee that your home won’t be burgled. There are lots of physical steps you can take that, together with an alarm, can reduce the risk of burglary, but nothing can guarantee you won’t be burgled.
And while most burglars say they would avoid homes with alarms, a small, hard-core of villains see a burglar alarm as a sign of wealth and may, perversely, be more attracted to break in to see what spoils they can steal.
But having an alarm can put pressure on any intruder to leave quickly, perhaps taking with them fewer of your possessions. The SSAIB has a series of top tips on securing your home in addition to having a burglar alarm. The NSi also offers a page of advice.
How do I choose an alarm company?
The first check would be to make sure they are SSAIB using the SSAIB search function or NSi approved, using its search function. Speak to your home insurer to see if they recommend any firms or offer discounts for specific providers.
Choosing from among approved firms will then be your personal choice, check google for reviews.
SSAIB-registered fire, security and manned services firms continue to provide essential support to the fire and security industries during the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Be it as a key worker or otherwise, SSAIB-registered firms have endeavoured to carry on with a broad spectrum of services ranging from local fire and security maintenance and the provision to new systems, all the way up to vitally important national Government projects – including the creation of the new NHS Nightingale field hospitals.
Regardless of the circumstances, the essential maintenance, call-outs and installation of new systems that SSAIB firms are doing during these difficult times is all helping to safeguard environments that are vitally important - such as hospitals, care homes, schools, supermarkets, other commercial property and national infrastructure - that may otherwise be at risk, including non-occupied properties.
We can assure the general public, businesses and the wider security and fire industries that SSAIB keep reminding registered firms to observe the latest Government guidelines on working safely with respect to COVID-19, which we are sure they do, to ensure that they carry out the work required of them in a safe environment for both themselves and their customers.
SSAIB are also doing our part to keep our firms up-to-date with all of the latest COVID-19 developments as and when they arise – in addition to providing help and support for a number of issues that they could be faced with during this ongoing time of uncertainty.
The safety of the general public, our registered firms and key worker staff remains our top priority during this time, while also ensuring that firms continue to fulfil their commitments to their customers and contracts as normal.
Domestic Customers (Homeowners)
The latest Government guidelines for tradespeople – such as SSAIB firms’ engineers – accessing domestic properties can be viewed within the Social Distancing in the Workplace During Coronavirus (COVID-19) Sector Guidance document. However, an overview of the main points are as follows:
Engineers are able to visit domestic properties to carry out the customer’s security or fire requirements, providing they are well, have no symptoms of COVID-19,they ensure they maintain a safe distance (of at least two metres) from any household occupants at all times and also have the necessary PPE (personal protective equipment) - in an effort to ensure Government’s guidelines are observed.
Work should not be carried out in any household that is isolating or shielding an individual, unless it is necessary to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household (such as an emergency repair or fault.) Homeowners – and those accountable for the security and/or fire safety of the household – are responsible for ensuring a safe environment for any visiting key workers or engineers, as well as for any other residents under their roof.
Should an engineers have any coronavirus symptoms, however mild, then they should isolate.
Should a householder have any questions about any maintenance needed and what it might mean for their insurance cover – due to the circumstances of the current situation, including social distancing – the householder should contact their insurer, in order for them to give guidance.
Should any homeowners – or those responsible for security and/or fire safety – be in need of security or fire protection during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we advise that they can contact SSAIB-registered firms and that they should also contact their insurer with any concerns.
Work undertaken on non-domestic properties is also duty-bound by the same Government guidelines on social distancing and other precautions.
With SSAIB-registered firms adhering to the latest Government guidance, they are able to continue to carry out repairs and maintenance and provide new system installations– when site access can be granted and Government safety requirements including social distancing maintained.
There is also a suggestion that - during this time when many buildings are stood empty - this is the ideal time for maintenance visits, additions to systems or the installation of new systems, because engineers can get the job done with minimal disruption to the usual working practices of the business itself.
Engineers are able to access the necessary premises or site(s) (with permission,) conduct the work that they need to and then inform the nominated person when all of the work has been completed, before leaving the job to allow it to be checked by the customer.
Installation of new Security Systems or Provision of a Security Service
If there is a need for a new security system / burglar alarm Leeds or service to protect individuals or property, this can take place - provided it can be conducted in compliance with Government guidelines on social distancing in the workplace.
Although these are unprecedented times that we all find ourselves in, SSAIB, our registered firms and the fire and security industries as a whole continue to work as best we can – as a matter of necessity for the ongoing safety and security of the general public, businesses and national infrastructure.
When it comes to protecting your property from the potentially devastating impact of crime or fire, you can't afford to take any chances. The correct choice of fire or security protection system and service provider is vital.
Having a fire or security systems provider that you can trust will ensure peace of mind for you and demonstrate to your insurer that you have acted responsibly to protect your home or business.
This need not be a matter of luck; it can be an informed choice if you select an SSAIB-certificated firm.
SSAIB (Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board) only certificate companies that can demonstrate technical and managerial competence through an inspection of the processes and procedures they operate.
SSAIB certification means that you can be confident in the quality of service provided, to protect your business from the potentially devastating consequences of fire or crime.
Increasingly, insurers require evidence that all reasonable steps have been taken to mitigate risk and ensure the safety of personnel and assets within the workplace. SSAIB-certificated providers will meet or exceed your insurer's requirements.