What is an Alarm Monitoring Center: Inside a U.L. Certified Central Station

Live look at an alarm monitoring center.

Do you wonder what happens when your alarm triggers? Who answers the call and how exactly does an alarm monitoring center work? The answer saves lives, and is the most important part of a wireless home security system. After all, what good is a wireless security system if no one is watching it to take action when needed?

What Are Alarm Monitoring Centers?

The alarm monitoring services center (often called a “Central Station”) is the place where home alarm systems are monitored for burglary, fire, carbon monoxide and other supervisory conditions. These centers should be in highly secure, well-constructed buildings. The staff of central station operators review and respond to alarm system signals and alarm events.

Through the use of software, communications equipment and staff, Central Stations monitor alarm signals and take appropriate action when necessary. This includes dispatching police and fire as well as private emergency response services.

Not all Central Stations are equal, nor do all provide the same monitoring services or the same quality of service.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a leader in certifying and inspecting Central Station standards and performance capabilities. UL has rigid standards and only a select percentage of Central Stations qualify for their listing. They also conduct annual inspections of listed Central Stations to ensure compliance.

UL certified Central Stations must be able to:

  • Withstand physical damage and cyber attacks
  • Operate on back-up power sources in the event of power loss
  • Meet a variety of security and operational standards on a daily basis

You can generally expect higher levels of home security and better service from UL listed Central Stations. That’s because they are required to meet or exceed certain levels of performance. You’ll also find UL certified Central Stations offer more services, while their fees run similarly to other quality home alarm monitoring companies.

How Does Alarm Monitoring Work?

Your home security alarm system is programmed to communicate with a signal receiver at a Central Station. The information provided includes your general home information, the type of signal, and in most instances, the timezone, or devices that triggered the signal.

A Central Station operator will view the transmitted signal and take appropriate action. Actions may vary by customer, municipality and emergency condition. For most home burglar alarm systems, the operator will call the premises to verify the alarm before dispatching police. Many communities require this double check to reduce false alarms.

Alarm users can cancel alarms by using their personal identification password or number on record with the Central Station. If no one answers the operator’s call, or someone gives incorrect information, central station workers dispatch emergency authorities at once. You can expect the Central Station to react differently to supervisory, fire and personal emergency response system conditions.

Detailed electronic records should be kept by the Central Station concerning all alarm signal transmissions and Central Station response to all signals. There should also be electronic and audio recordings of all Central Station operator interactions with you and/or responding parties, including the authorities.

What You Need to Know About Alarm System Monitoring Services

An alarm system is only as good as who responds and how long the response takes. Alarm monitoring services are essential to the main functionality of your security system. Without alarm monitoring centers, your alarm may beep endlessly without any action taken.

It makes no difference who installed your home security alarm system. Most alarm systems, regardless of installer or manufacturer, are monitor-capable by reputable companies. And in all cases, an alarm monitoring center has your best interests in mind. Be sure to train all home security system users on the proper operation of the system and make sure all know their personal identification codes so they can properly cancel and manage alarm signals with the Central Station.

For More Security and Home Automation Tips and Solutions, Stick with My Alarm Center

And if you’re looking for more ways to keep yourself and your family safe, check out our home security and automation services at My Alarm Center. We offer a wide range of home security options to protect you and your family. If you’re ready to discuss our custom solutions, contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you prepare for what’s next.