If you have questions, we have answers. Whether you have a quick question about smoke alarms or a more complex question about how alarms actually work, you can find everything you want to know about home safety here.

An alarm company said that I won a free wireless alarm system installation. It sounds too good to be true; are they are legitimate company?

Maybe. First, you should conduct research on the company that is offering the free installation. See if they are a member of the Electronic Security Association, check out consumer reviews and verify licensing (if applicable in your city, county or state). Before you agree to an installation, be sure to read the contract thoroughly. Look for the contract length, equipment fees, contract termination fees and automatic renewal terms. Ask the company questions if you are unsure about the conditions. A credible company will take time to address your concerns and won't rush you through the process.

I work from home, do I really need an alarm system?

Yes. If you ever leave your home, even for a short period of time such as a trip to the grocery store, you need an alarm system. Intruders are typically in and out of a home within 10 minutes. An alarm system can help keep your home protected.

Do alarm systems prevent break ins?

Having an alarm system installed in your home can help reduce the risk of a home invasion. In a study that conducted interviews with convicted criminals, nine out of ten intruders said they would avoid a home that had an alarm system in place. Another way you can deter intruders is by displaying an easy-to-see yard sign or window decal from your alarm company. Remember, intruders can spot a phony yard sign, so don't assume it can protect your home as well as an alarm system.

Will my alarm system still work if there is a power outage?

Yes, most alarm systems are equipped with backup batteries that activate immediately after a power loss. Ask your alarm system provider how your alarm works during a power outage.

What happens if I accidentally set off my alarm system?

If you quickly disable your system, nothing will happen. Home alarms systems allow users a brief period of time to disable the system before a signal is sent to the monitoring center. If you happen to set off your alarm, contact your monitoring company and let them know you are not in danger.

If you are unable to disable your system during the allotted 'safe period,' a signal will be sent to your monitoring center. To cut down on the amount of false dispatches, your monitoring company will contact you via phone to verify an emergency situation before sending an emergency responder. Emergency policies may vary, so be sure to ask your monitoring company for information specific to your plan.

I want to protect my home against fire. What are my options?

There are a few ways you can protect your home against fire. First, you should invest in working smoke detectors. There are two types of smoke detectors: ionization and photoelectric. An ionization smoke alarm reacts to flaming fires, and a photoelectric smoke alarm reacts to smoldering fires. For the best protection, install a combination alarm (both ionization and photoelectric) in your home.

For even better protection, consider installing a home sprinkler system. The system can be modified to work with your alarm system and only disperse water in areas with fire. Home sprinklers can greatly increase the chance of getting your family out safely and salvaging your home. The systems can reduce fire damage to your home by up to 71% and reduce water usage to fight a fire by as much as 91%.

Are sprinkler systems costly and only available to commercial properties?

In the recent years, there has been an increase in the availability of sprinkler systems. Now, you can install a sprinkler system in your home for as little as $1.61 per sprinklered square foot. Sprinkler systems can also reduce the premium on your homeowner insurance.

Do I need a land line to have a monitored alarm system?

Not necessarily. While traditional phone lines (aka land lines) are the most reliable form of alarm communication technology, it's certainly not the only way to have your alarm monitored. Cellular radio signals, some types of VoIP and the Internet are also alarm communication methods that are appropriate for monitoring. For more information, check out http://www.alarm.org/HomeSafety/AlarmsandPhoneLinesFAQ.aspx

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