AvantGuard's Industry Glossary

24-Hour Audible Alarm

An alarm style that is usually assigned to a zone containing an panic/emergency button (audible emergency).

24-Hour Auxiliary Alarm

An alarm style that is usually assigned to a zone containing a button for use in personal emergencies or to a zone containing monitoring devices (i.e.: water or temperature sensors, etc).

24-Hour Silent Alarm

An alarm style that sends a report to a central monitoring station but provides no keypad display or audible alarm sounding at the location.

Alarm

An alarm can take both audible and visual forms to emit warnings to device users and alarm monitoring centers alike. Alarms typically use loud and bright signals to avoid any confusion about whether or not there is an emergency.

Alarm Battery

Batteries can be used to power wireless alarm devices or security system control panels as backup power sources or primary sources. Lithium batteries generally last longer than traditional alkaline alarm batteries.

Alarm Communication Path

The Alarm Communication Path is the method a security system uses to communicate with a monitoring center. The Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) is the most common type of communication path that is used in security systems.
With advances in wireless technologies, other more secure communication paths such as cellular alarm monitoring are gaining popularity. Internet protocol (IP) monitoring and dual path (Cellular/IP) monitoring are some other communication paths that do not require a hardwired telephone line to be present at the property.

Alarm Device

In addition to the central panel where the security system is controlled, additional peripheral devices can be attached to the panel to detect emergency events and communicate them to the panel. Some examples of devices are glass break sensors, door sensors and fire detectors.

Alarm Event

Once an emergency has been detected by a device, an alarm event is communicated to the control panel which forwards the signal to the central station.

Alarm Factor

An indicator that measures the health of an installation company's signal traffic. Calculated weekly or monthly, an alarm factor is calculated by dividing the total number of accounts by the number of signals received by the monitoring center. Companies that have a poor alarm factor may have installation issues or poor customer education systems in place.

Alarm Monitoring

Devices that track emergency situations can be connected to an alarm monitoring service which ensures that users are protected at all hours of the day by a central station operator.

Alarm Notification Device

One option security systems can include is an audible or visual alarm system that alerts people in a designated area. They are designed to be exceptionally loud and/or bright in order to remove any doubt about the nature of the alarm (e.g. sirens, speakers, strobes, etc.).

Alarm Signal

The first event that occurs, once an emergency has been detected, is initiated by an alarm device and transmitted by a control panel to a monitoring center. Depending on the type of signal and account instructions, the operator will either call the subscriber or alert emergency services immediately.

Alarm Transmitter

Within the alarm device itself, another electronic device wirelessly transmits an alarm signal from an alarm device to a burglar alarm control panel. Without the transmitter, the detection has no communication path to take.

Alarm Verification

Once an alarm is received by the central station, depending on the type of alarm, it must first be verified to ensure that an actual intrusion has taken place. One way operators can investigate is by leveraging an integrated video feed, which utilizes cameras that are installed in the same area as the alarm device so the central station operators can review the feed to determine what caused the alarm.
Audio verification utilizes microphones that record audio which operators can review. Call verification requires that an operator connect with a user to verify the alarm.

Arm

In order to activate an alarm system, it must be "armed." In other words, so that a device can be armed, it must be activated so it is ready to detect an alarm event.

Arming Sequence

The arming sequence is the amount of time a security system takes to go from its armed status to its disarmed status.

Audible Alarm

Once a predetermined parameter has been broken, and a signal has been sent to the alarm panel, an audible alarm emits a high pitched sound to alert people in a given area that an emergency situation has occurred or is occurring.

Backup Alarm Battery

In the event that a device loses connection to electricity, a back-up alarm battery ensures that a security system will continue to work after losing AC power. Back-up alarm batteries typically power a system for a 24-hour period.

Burglar Alarm System

An electronic system that consists of alarm devices that are connected to a control panel through a low-voltage, hardwire or narrowband RF wireless signal. A burglar alarm system can be monitored professionally by a central station or individually by the user.

CAA - California Alarm Association

The california Alarm Associaiton is a body of individuals who contribute to the maintenance and improvement of the security alarm industry. IN addition to the scholarships, training and group improvement initiatives, the CAA works with legislative organizations to take appropriate legal action for the benefit and wellbeing of security alarm companies.

Cellular Alarm Monitoring

A type of alarm communication path that uses a digital cellular network to send alarm signals from the control panel to a monitoring center's cellular receivers. This type of alarm monitoring requires a digital cellular communicator that is hardwired into the security system and a cellular monitoring contract. Cellular monitoring does not require phone lines, and there is no chance of the purposeful or accidental cutting of your alarm communication line. Therefore, cellular monitoring is one of the most reliable ways to monitor a security system. Cellular devices can also be mobile, providing an opportunity for the central station to monitor the physical location of the devices as necessary.

CSAA - Central Station Alarm Association

See TMA - The Monitoring Association.

Disarm

The action of turning off the control panel of a security system. In this stage, none of the sensors will be monitoring alarm events like opening doors, breaking glass, and more.

False Alarm

In the alarm monitoring industry, a false alarm is a report to local dispatch services that is was not caused by a real emergency event. False alarms are caused by a handful of factors and cost cities millions of dollars per year. Significant efforts to reduce false alarms should be made in order to avoid restrictive legislation that puts subscriber lives at risk and that cost companies millions in fine-related money.

False Alarm Password

After the central station operator calls the site where an alarm was triggered, if the event was a false alarm, the user can provide a word, name, or number to verify its status.

Fire Alarm

An alarm that is caused by an active fire alarm system that detects smoke, a significant rise in temperature or the effects of fire. A monitored fire alarm system notifies the occupants in a home or commercial space, notifies persons in the surrounding area, summons the fire service, and controls all the fire alarm components in a building. Fire alarm systems include alarm devices, alarm notification devices, fire alarm control panels, fire annunciators, power supplies, and wiring.

Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP)

The fire alarm control panel is the central computer or “brains” of a fire alarm system. Every device on the security system reports back to the control panel with supervisory signals and alarm signals. An FACP can be connected with a central monitoring station through several unique signal communication paths, reducing the chances of the signal being lost on the way to the central monitoring station.

Fire Alarm Monitoring

When a fire starts, the installed detection system is designed to alert the occupants of a building and send a signal the central station where it is monitored. Fire alarm monitoring is designed to remove the worry and human error from the people involved in the emergency scenario and deliver fire department help as quickly as possible.

Fire Alarm System

A type of security system that contains a fire alarm control panel, alarm devices, alarm notification devices, fire alarm control panels, fire annunciators, power supplies, and wiring. Most fire alarm systems must be designed and installed to the codes of the local jurisdiction because they are meant for life safety purposes.

Internet-Based Alarm Monitoring

An alarm communication path that uses an Ethernet connection to send an alarm signal over the internet from the control panel to a central monitoring station’s IP receivers. This type of alarm monitoring requires an IP communicator hardwired into the security system and an internet monitoring contract. The benefits of internet monitoring are that no phone line is required which reduces the possibility a communication line being cut on purpose or accident. In addition, internet communication is not expensive, and it is fully supervised so the connection is constantly polled by the central station received.

Medical Alarm System

A life safety system consisting of an electronic device worn on a bracelet or necklace and a control panel that can auto dial telephone numbers or dial a central monitoring station when the device is activated by the user. Depending on the severity of the situation, alarm monitoring staff will summon friends, family, or emergency personnel.

National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA)

What has since been renamed the Electronic Security Association (ESA), the NBFAA is the largest professional non-profit 501(c) 6 trade association in the United States. It exists to represent, promote and enhance the growth and professional development of the electronic life safety, security, and integrated systems industry.

Panic Alarm

A feature in many security systems that allows the user to request an immediate dispatch. With the panic alarm feature, no call verification is needed since the user has to enter a passcode before the alarm is sent to the central station.

Silent Alarm

An alarm that is designed to not make any noise in the event of an intrusion in order to protect occupants of a building and even to give local law enforcement time to arrive and apprehend intruders.

Visual Alarm

A type of alarm that relies on bright flashing lights to warn occupants of a building that an emergency event is occurring. This type of alarm is usually accompanied by an audible alarm so that people with hearing or vision disabilities are all able to exit to a safe area in a timely manner.

Wholesale Alarm Monitoring

A service that is commonly included in residential and commercial security systems that adds a second layer of support when an emergency event occurs. Designed to verify situations and deliver help as quickly as possible, wholesale alarm monitoring is charged on a monthly basis and provides an added layer of convenience and security, especially when typical account holders have to handle several tasks when an emergency arises.