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Marijuana Club Startup Guide

Burglar Alarm

Security Alarm Essentials

Monitored burglar alarm systems are composed of a series of devices that detect an intruder on the premises and sends a signal to a monitoring station. Central monitoring stations provide year round twenty-four-hour service and alert the proper authorities as required. Standard equipment for a monitored burglar alarm system usually include the following:

Control panels

The control panel is the power source of the entire system and is connected to all other alarm components including an existing Plain Old Telephone System (POTS). Motion detectors These devices trip the alarm by sensing changes in the infrared energy levels when an intruder is in the area. Sometimes referred to as passive infrared (PIR) detectors Glassbreak sensors These devices sense the acoustic shock waves of glass breaking and set off the alarm system. Door and window contacts If the door or windows are opened these magnetic devices set off the alarm system. Sirens These systems are known as Instant Alarm systems designed to frighten off the intruder before they can cause any damage to the property. Loud sirens draw immediate attention to the intrusion and some systems include colored strobe lights.

Audible Delay Systems

Audible delay systems sense the intrusions but first trigger the alarm system and then sets off the sirens. This is designed to help the authorities catch the intruder while committing the crime.

Hard wired vs. wireless

Depending on customer preference monitored alarm systems come in hard-wired and wireless formats. Hard-wired requires drilling, lifting floors or carpets and general disruption to the work area while being installed. Wireless systems are more practical since they don't require disruption to the business area. These systems are installed out of site and reduce the risk of being disabled by anyone.

Features and add-ons for commercial security systems

To enhance your level of security and to protect your service in the event of system failure additional monitored burglar alarm system features and add-on can be purchased.


Two-way monitoring

A two-way monitoring system allows the central monitoring station to instantly communicate with your office. Your security keypad acts as an intercom system, so the monitoring service can verify if a person who has tripped the alarm is authorized to be there.

Open and close schedule monitoring

A method to track who has opened and closed your office. There are two methods to track this information.

  1. A supervised system tells you who and when the security system was armed or disarmed. If the system is left off the monitoring station can also notify someone.
  2. A non-supervised system does keep track of when the alarm is armed and disarmed, however, you need to call the central monitoring station for the status.

Backup Systems

A burglar alarm system offers a 24-hour backup component that kicks in should something go wrong. If the phone line is cut or dropped a radio or cellular backup system will send a signal to the central monitoring station. If all electrical power is lost, a backup battery system will keep your alarm up and running. If your phone system is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) a backup system is essential. Most alarm systems do not work reliably and are incompatible with VoIP technology since it is not mandated by the same FCC standards as POTS. VoIP customers require a backup system for the monitored signal to go through.


Fire alarm

For a business commercial fire alarm systems must adhere to strict guidelines set forth by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Video surveillance

You can supplement your monitored burglar alarm system with a wide range of video surveillance equipment. A simple system will consist of a single video camera and monitor. Complex systems usually consist of closed circuit television systems (CCTV) with several cameras, multiple operators, and digital recorders. Access control A system mounted outside the locked door/office that uses special cards with magnetic strips or other technologies. This allows you to keep track when authorized personnel gain access into the office or restricted areas.

Central Monitoring Station

The central monitoring station is the force that actually protects your business. So understanding the role of the central station is an important part of your purchasing process.

In most cases small business alarm system companies license the services of a third party monitoring station. You will need to find out how they monitor their alarm systems.

Larger companies have their own central monitoring stations and usually cost more because they are held to a higher standard through verification from the independent, non-profit Underwriters' Laboratories (UL). These companies pay for the UL to test their products and services for maximum safety and reliability.

Internally managed central monitoring stations are required to contact authorities within 45 seconds of the alarm going off. If they lose power, they must have a reliable backup source - either a backup generator with 10-15 days worth of power on reserve or a second station.

It is important to find out how the central station monitors their business alarm systems.

Buying commercial alarms from security companies

When you're ready to buy a monitored commercial alarm system, talk to a few different companies before having anything installed. A reputable commercial alarm system company should meet with you in person - never exclusively by phone - to determine the best system for you. They will perform a risk assessment to assess your security challenges by looking at your facilities, discuss your security needs and possible limitations, and suggest a security solution.

Commercial burglar alarm installers usually provide all-inclusive services that include equipment and monitoring service. Many commercial alarm system installers provide name brand or private label equipment compatible with most central monitoring stations. However, some companies install proprietary systems - this is equipment that only works with their licensed monitoring stations. In reality there are fewer than 10 companies that actually manufacture the monitoring equipment. These companies provide the equipment for the thousands of commercial alarm system dealers that sell and install the systems. If you own your equipment make sure you have full access to master programming and lockout codes so you can make adjustments to your system as required or switch monitoring services when your contract expires.

Tips for choosing a commercial alarm system dealer

  • Get quotes from three to four different installers.
  • Get all pricing quotes in writing - including setup, equipment, monthly monitoring fees, and warranties.
  • Ask for their licenses and check to make sure their valid.
  • Make sure the contract is clear and specific.
  • Review the contract fees carefully and make sure they are legitimate.
  • Take your time and find out who offers the best security and price.
  • Ask questions about their quality of service
  • Get references from each dealer/vendor
  • Contact previous clients about that dealer/vendor's service.

Example of questions to ask previous clients

  • Was the installation guaranteed and performed in a timely manner?
  • During the installation did anything go wrong and if you had a problem were they available?
  • Did they provide complete training to you and your staff?
  • Was the training straightforward and easy to understand?
  • If they had a burglary did the central monitoring station respond and alert authorities as guaranteed?

Once you make a decision and before you do business with any dealer you're considering, make sure you research them with outside organizations such as the Better Business Bureau, the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA), or your Attorney General's office. They can provide information on if the vendor has all necessary state and local licenses, service complaints and service quality.

Pricing for monitored security alarm systems

Setup fees vary based on the type of security equipment installed, the security devices purchased, and the size of the business. This can range from $100-$4000 for the equipment and installation, the higher end cost being for more comprehensive systems. Basic commercial alarm systems equipment - door contacts, motion detectors, glass break sensors - are usually provided as part of your contract, and you get to keep it after the contract expires.

Standard monthly fees are $25-$40 per month.

Dual communication capabilities - radio or cellular backup system will typically add about $10 to your monthly service fees.

Tracking systems for commercial alarm systems, like open and close schedule monitoring, can run you an extra $250-$600 per year. If you lease equipment, expect to pay $300 - $500 per year, which is usually included in your monthly fees.

Some local police departments require annual permits to have monitored commercial support. The standard contract is a three-year obligation but they can be month-to-month. The contract guarantees what your rights are and that your fees will not increase. Keep in mind that breaking the contract before it expires will result in penalties - find out what they are before you make a commitment.

Monitored fire alarm pricing is really dependent on how elaborate a system you install. Due to the varied and complex requirements of NFPA-72, you can expect to pay between $1,000 - $25,0000. Contracts are typically three years long with monthly fees of $40 - $50.


Some companies will provide warranties that range from one year up to the life of the contract. Some come with a 90 day warranty covering parts and labor. Do not agree to a commercial alarm system that does not include some kind of warranty.

Once the warranty expires you can purchase additional maintenance or repair agreements to cover the system.


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