What We Do
U.L. Central Station Monitoring
What is Central Station Monitoring?
Central Station Monitoring is a 24/7 service that receives and interprets signals from your fire, intrusion, and security camera system. In turn, they relay critical information to emergency personnel should they need to be dispatched to your property as well as contact property owners or managers through text message alerts or phone calls. They are invaluable partners that work side by side alarm companies to ensure that your property gets maximum protection.
What types of alarm systems can be monitored?
- Fire Alarms
- Commercial Intrusion Alarms
- CCTV Video Cameras
Is Central Station Monitoring required?
Per the 2016 California Fire Code – 903.4.1. New commercial construction projects in California require fire alarm system to be monitored. Unless you have in-house personnel in charge of monitoring your alarm panel around the clock, you will likely need to rely on a “U.L. Certified” central station to keep a close eye on your alarm and monitor signals on your behalf.
Existing commercial building undergoing major renovations may likely require the fire alarm system to be reconfigured, and thus the current Fire Code relating to monitoring may apply. It just depends on what your local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) determines is appropriate based on all applicable codes.
Security systems such as commercial intrusion do not typically require monitoring, however each municipality has the ability to require permits for your alarm system as well as assess fines for false alarms or nuisance alarms. As such, having a monitoring station intercept signals and relay trouble signals to your alarm company to resolve problems with your alarm could mean saving you hundreds of dollars in fines.
Why should I have my system monitored?
The top 3 reasons to have your alarm system monitored.
- Response Time: Every second counts in a fire emergency or burglary activation. With a monitoring company you can rest assured that they will be “on-guard” and ready act quickly to your systems priority signals.
- Insurance Rate Discounts: Insurance companies may offer discounts to property owners for having the onsite alarm system monitored. The discounts on premium can be up to 10%.
- 24/7 Protection: When you are off-site or your business is closed, you can have peace of mind in knowing that a team of professionals are watching your property’s alarm system 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.
What does it cost?
Monitoring costs vary and are based on the type of communication your system uses as well as how many extra features you want to add to your monitoring service.
If your system is using traditional landlines, rates to have your system monitored may be lower monthly than using a cellular communicator however with landlines you have the overhead cost of monthly phone bills. With an average cost of $40-80/mo per landline, after the initial up front cost to switch to a cellular communicator, you will start seeing the savings roll in.
For surveillance camera systems, monitoring costs will depend on how much support you need or want. You can choose from traditional reactive/verification monitoring or proactive video monitoring service that provides an enhanced user experience with reduced false alarms, up to 80% savings over guard expenditure and increased security awareness.
The bottom line…
Just like auto insurance provides discounts for vehicle alarm systems, so do commercial property insurance policies. The discounts you will likely receive from having your alarm system monitored may cover a portion of the cost to have your system monitored. With the amount of inventory loss or property damage that is at stake in a theft or a fire incident, can you afford not to have your business and property monitored?
Are all Monitoring Stations alike?
The quick answer is, “Heck No!”
The last thing you need or want in an emergency situation is for your call for help to be placed on hold.
If you are a property manager or owner paying for monitoring services for your fire or security system you should expect fast, reliable and intelligent professionals to be on top of your alarm situation and know what to do, who to contact your local fire or police department for emergency support or walk you through the steps to trouble shoot your system until your alarm company can send a technician out to repair or reprogram your system.
Monitoring Stations have different levels of expertise, certifications, and customer support. The key factors to consider when deciding on monitoring services are:
- Services: Do they offer the type monitoring services you need and want for your business? Not all monitoring stations have the ability to provide you with the services you need or the quality of service you expect.
- Certifications: Are they qualified by local authority standards to provide the required monitoring services? Not all central stations hold the necessary certifications as required by code. Furthermore, they may not hold certifications for the type of monitoring you need. Certifications ensure that you are dealing with a company that meets or exceed rigorous industry standards. Make sure you are working with a credible company with current certifications. Key certifications related to Central Stations are: UL 827 – Standard Central-Station Alarm Services, UL 827A – Hosted Central Station Services, UL 827A – Managed Video Services, FM Approved, and IQ Certified
- Communication: Are you able to reach a live operator quickly or do you spend several minutes on hold?
- Response Time to Panel Signals: Can they meet or exceed the required time limits established by local authorities to receive, interpret and relay key information to your local public safety officers?
- Redundancy: Do they have back-up power or a second Geo-diverse fully functional facility with proper equipment and staffing to continue providing seamless services to you in the event that there is an emergency situation impacting the area or site of your primary monitoring station.
The cost of choosing the wrong monitoring company can equate to thousands of dollars in property loss or damage, hundreds of dollars in fines for false alarms, and/or unnecessary frustration and stress.
Who does AA&F, Inc trust for around the clock monitoring?
Advanced Alarm & Fire has partnered with the industry’s best central station monitoring service in the country.
The National Monitoring Center (NMC), in addition to holding several UL certifications, has been granted with the prestigious Five Diamond Monitoring Station designation by the monitoring industries’ very own The Monitoring Association (TMA). To be a Five Diamond Monitoring Station, the NMC had to commit to remaining in compliance with nationally recognized testing standards, providing exceptional levels of customer service, and investing in ongoing technical training to certify all of their in-house operators.
The NMC’s sister company, Netwatch North America offers Proactive Video Monitoring service, which is one of a kind and a great solution for high-risk industries or businesses with extensive high-priced inventories on the premises. This new approach offers clients with more support than traditional post incident video recordings and a few on-site security officers can provide.
When you choose to do business with Advanced Alarm & Fire you can rest assured that your alarm system, whether it be fire, burglar/intrusion or camera surveillance will be monitored around the clock by the very best central station in the industry, the NMC and Netwatch.
Furthermore, Advanced Alarm & Fire’s very own elite team of certified technicians will be by your side for any on the ground support your team needs with your system, such as providing ongoing annual inspections, repair and maintenance needs, and technical support for the lifetime of your alarm system.
Whether you want to look convert your fire or intrusion system to cellular monitoring or if you want to look into adding monitoring to your existing fire or security system, Advanced Alarm & Fire would be happy to provide you with an estimate.