Small Business Alarms: Why a Commercial Alarm System is Essential, Types, Benefits, and Pricing

Mar 28, 2023

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Did you know that small businesses are more likely to be targeted by burglars than larger companies? In fact, according to a study by the Federation of Small Businesses, 1 in 5 small businesses have been victims of crime in the past two years. Subsequently, with such a high risk, it’s crucial for small business owners in the UK to protect their premises with a commercial alarm system. In this article, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about commercial alarm systems. For example, the best providers, the different types of alarms available and why you need a commercial alarm system.

Commercial Alarm System Small Business

Best Commercial Alarm System Providers at a Glance

There are several options to consider when choosing your commercial alarm system provider. Some of the best providers in the UK include Apollo, Honeywell Gent, and Secom. Typically, each of these providers offers a range of different alarm systems tailored to the needs of any business size. Also, we recommend researching fire alarms, intruder alarms, and CCTV.

A Commercial Alarm System, Understanding the Jargon

A commercial alarm system is a security system designed specifically for business premises. For example, we supply offices, warehouses, industrial units, storage facilities, retail shops, schools and much more. We aim to protect these businesses from theft, vandalism, unauthorised access and fire.

Commercial alarm systems include a variety of sensors and systems. Typically, OHEAP will supply:

  • Fire alarm panels, smoke detectors, heat alarms and CO alarms.
  • Door and window sensors.
  • Motion detectors.
  • Glass-break detectors
  • Intruder alarm panels.
  • Bell-only systems.
  • CCTV systems and remote monitoring.
  • Essentially, anything that can detect any unusual activity or potential threats.

Commercial Alarm System Phrase List:

If you’re new to the world of commercial alarm systems, you might be confused by all the technical jargon. Here are some key terms to help you get started:

  1. Control panel:
    • The central unit known as the “brain” of the alarm system. This is where all the sensors and devices are connected and controlled.
  2. Sensors:
    • These are devices that detect when a door or window is opened, or when there is movement in a specific area. Sensors send a signal to the control panel, which then triggers the alarm.
  3. Keypad:
    • The keypad is where the user enters the security code to arm or disarm the alarm system.
  4. Siren:
    • The loud noise that sounds when the alarm is triggered
  5. Monitoring:
    • Refers to the service of having a professional monitoring centre keep an eye on your alarm system 24/7. If the alarm is triggered, they will contact the authorities on your behalf.
  6. CCTV:
    • Stands for closed-circuit television, which is a type of video surveillance system used to monitor a specific area.

A commercial alarm system can be customised to meet the specific security needs of a business. We can design a system that will cover multiple locations, including warehouses, retail stores, and office buildings. Regardless of the premises, these systems provide business owners and employees with peace of mind. Knowing that their assets and property are protected around the clock.

Commercial Alarm System Security

Why a Commercial Alarm System is Essential

As a business owner, you’ve likely invested a lot of time, money, and effort into your company. Given that a commercial alarm system can help protect that investment, we recommend investing in security. Ensure your safety by deterring burglars, detecting fires and alerting employees to danger. We can help you to prevent theft and provide peace of mind.

Commercial Alarm System Essentials List:

A commercial alarm system is essential for several reasons. Here are some of the most important ones:

  1. Protection against theft:
    • A commercial alarm system is designed to detect and deter unauthorised entry into your business premises. It can alert you, the authorities, or a security company if someone tries to break in. Thus reducing the chances of theft.
  2. Fire protection:
    • An alarm system can also be designed to detect smoke and fire, provide early warning to evacuate the building, and alert the fire department. In effect, minimise damage and increase the chances of saving lives.
  3. Lower insurance premiums:
    • Installing a commercial alarm system can help lower your insurance premiums. Given that it demonstrates that you are taking measures to protect your business.
  4. Peace of mind:
    • Knowing that your business is being monitored by a reliable alarm system can give you peace of mind. Let’s begin to focus on other aspects of your business.

Overall, a commercial alarm system is a worthwhile investment that can help protect your business, your employees, and your assets.

Commercial Fire Alarms

Fire alarms are essential for any business, regardless of size. We supply systems capable of detecting smoke, heat or carbon monoxide. In fact, once detected, these systems will sound an alarm to alert people in the building to evacuate. Undeniably, a fire alarm system will help save lives and prevent damage to your property by alerting those responsible ASAP. Also, once a fire is detected, authorities can be automatically notified.

There are several types of commercial fire alarm systems. For example, we would offer conventional, addressable, wireless, or analogue addressable systems dependent on your premises. Each type of fire alarm system has its own advantages and disadvantages. Overall, the best system for a commercial building will depend on factors.

This includes the:

  • Size of the building.
  • Type of occupancy.
  • Age of the building.
  • Preference of the occupants.
  • Budget of the business.
  • Any plans for future expansion?

A qualified fire protection professional can help determine the best system for a particular building.

active fire protection smoke alarm

Conventional Fire Alarm Systems:

A conventional fire alarm system is a type of fire detection system that divides a building into zones. Also, each zone is equipped with a series of detectors and sounders. When a detector is triggered by smoke or heat, the sounder in that zone is activated. Thus alerting people in the area of the potential danger.

Conventional fire alarm systems are:

  • Simple and cost-effective.
  • A popular choice for small to medium-sized buildings.
  • Limited by their inability to pinpoint the exact location of a fire.
  • Limited when providing specific information about the type of hazard present.

In a conventional fire alarm system, the detectors are wired to a control panel. In effect, the control panel monitors the signals and triggers the appropriate sounders. Also, these systems may include manual call points which allow individuals to manually trigger an alarm. Overall, conventional fire alarm systems are a basic and reliable means of detecting fires. However, in more complex buildings, a more sophisticated system may be required. For example, addressable fire alarm systems may be necessary for high-risk industries.

Conventional Commercial Alarm System

Addressable Fire Alarm Systems:

Similarly to a conventional system, an addressable fire alarm system is a type of fire detection system. However, this system can identify the specific location of a fire or fault within a building. In an addressable system, each detector, call point and input device has a unique address label. For this reason, the address system allows the control panel to pinpoint the exact location of an alarm signal.

Addressable fire alarm systems offer several advantages over conventional systems, they:

  • Provide detailed information about the location of a fire or fault.
  • Allow for a quicker response and potentially reduce damage and loss of life.
  • Can be programmed to provide specific information about the type of hazard present, such as smoke or heat. Thus, further improving the response to an emergency.
  • Are also highly flexible, allowing for easy expansion or modification.
  • Can be expanded easily as the building changes or as new hazards are identified.
  • Can be integrated with other building management systems, such as HVAC or access control.
  • Provide a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to building safety.

Overall, addressable fire alarm systems are a more advanced and comprehensive solution than conventional systems, making them a popular choice for larger or more complex buildings, or those with high-risk areas that require precise detection and response.

Analogue Addressable Fire Alarm Systems:

Analogue addressable fire alarm systems are similar to addressable systems. However, they use advanced detection technology to provide more detailed information about the location and severity of a fire. These systems can also be programmed to adjust sensitivity levels in response to changing environmental conditions, reducing the risk of false alarms.

Addressable Commercial Alarm System

Wireless Fire Alarm Systems:

A wireless fire alarm system is a type of fire detection system that uses wireless communication between the detectors and the control panel. Instead of traditional wired connections. In a wireless system, the detectors and other input devices communicate with the control panel through radio signals (RF). This eliminates the need for cables and wires.

Wireless fire alarm systems offer several advantages over traditional wired systems, they:

  • Are easier and quicker to install, as there is no need to install wires and cables throughout the building.
  • Typically save time and money.
  • Are far more suitable in older buildings where the installation of a wired system may be more difficult.
  • Are more flexible and adaptable than wired systems.
  • Can be easily adapted. Detectors and other input devices can be easily moved or added as needed.
  • Are particularly useful in buildings where the use or layout may change over time. 
  • Can be easily reconfigured to suit any new requirements.
  • Provide improved reliability and performance.
  • Are highly secure. Radio signals are used to communicate between the detectors and the control panel and are resistant to interference.
  • Will always be operational and can quickly detect any potential fires or hazards.

Overall, wireless fire alarm systems are a modern and effective solution for fire detection and safety in buildings. They offer several advantages over traditional wired systems, including ease of installation, flexibility, and reliability, making them a popular choice for a wide range of building types and applications.

Wireless Commercial Alarm System

Commercial Intruder Alarms

By definition, an intruder alarm is designed to detect when someone enters your business without permission. For this reason, they use sensors placed around your premises to detect movement. Once movement is detected, they will sound an alarm which can be heard from nearby buildings. Additionally, intruder alarms can also be linked to monitoring centres, who can alert the authorities if necessary.

There are several types of commercial intruder alarms available in the market, including:

alarm monitoring commercial alarm system

Wired Intruder Alarm Systems:

A wired intruder alarm system is a type of security system that is designed to detect unauthorised entry into a building or property. In brief, these systems utilise wired sensors and control panels. In a wired system, sensors such as door contacts, motion sensors, and glass break detectors are wired to a control panel using an electrical cable.

When an intruder is detected by one of the sensors, the control panel is triggered. Straightaway, an alarm is activated. Thus alerting the occupants and/or a monitoring centre. also, some wired intruder alarm systems may also include a loud siren or flashing lights to deter intruders.

Wired intruder alarm systems offer several advantages over wireless systems, they:

  • Are typically more reliable, as there is less risk of interference or signal loss.
  • Are typically very durable and long-lasting.
  • Require minimal maintenance, once installed.
  • Are less susceptible to hacking or jamming than wireless systems, providing a more secure level of protection.
  • Are also relatively easy to install, particularly in new construction or buildings undergoing renovation, where the wiring can be integrated into the structure.

Overall, wired intruder alarm systems are a proven and effective method of securing buildings and properties against intruders. While they may be more difficult to install than wireless systems, they offer a higher level of reliability and security, making them a popular choice for a wide range of applications.

motion sensor, commercial alarm system

Wireless Intruder Alarms:

Wireless intruder alarm systems are security systems that use wireless technology to detect and alert the user of an intrusion. These systems are typically comprised of sensors, such as door and window contacts and motion detectors. All of these products communicate wirelessly with a central control panel. Lastly, when an intrusion is detected, the system will typically sound an alarm. If required, it will send a notification to the user or monitoring service.

The advantages of wireless intruder alarm systems, they:

  • Can be easier to install and maintain than wired systems.
  • Require no cables. No need to run cables between the sensors and the control panel.
  • Are a more flexible and scalable solution, as sensors can be added or moved as needed without having to rewire the system.
  • Are encrypted and transmitted over a secure communication protocol, making them difficult to intercept or disrupt.

However, wireless intruder alarm systems may be more prone to false alarms due to interference or signal disruption, such as from nearby electronic devices or environmental factors. It is therefore important to choose a high-quality system with reliable sensors. Ensure you have a robust communication protocol and ensure that the system is properly installed and maintained.

Bell-only Intruder Alarms:

A bell-only intruder alarm is a type of security system that, when triggered by an intrusion, will sound an audible alarm. Thus alerting those in the vicinity of the property. In fact, these alarms only really consist of a siren or bell that is mounted on the exterior of the property. In short, the bell is activated by sensors located inside the property that detect movement or other signs of intrusion.

Bell-only intruder alarms are typically considered to be a basic form of security. Typically, they rely on the loud alarm to deter intruders and alert others in the area. They do not typically include any other security features, such as remote monitoring or notification to a security service or the police.

While bell-only intruder alarms can be effective in alerting others to the presence of an intruder. In high-risk premises, they may not provide sufficient security. For example, if the property is in a remote location, the alarm may not be heard by anyone who can respond to the intrusion. Additionally, the loud noise of the alarm may be ignored or dismissed by neighbours who are used to hearing false alarms.

If you are considering installing a bell-only intruder alarm, it is important to assess the security needs of your property and determine whether a more comprehensive security system may be more appropriate. You may also want to consider additional security measures, such as motion sensor lighting or security cameras, to provide a more robust and effective solution.

bell-only intruder alarm

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a Commercial Alarm System?

A: A commercial alarm system is a security system designed to protect commercial properties from fire or theft. For example offices, retail stores, warehouses, and other businesses. Typically, these systems include sensors, alarms, detectors and monitoring services to detect and alert you of any unauthorised entry, fire, or other emergencies.

Q: What Types of Sensors Are Typically Used in Commercial Alarm Systems?

A: Commercial alarm systems may use a variety of sensors to detect different types of threats. For example, these may include door and window sensors, motion sensors, glass break sensors, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and temperature sensors (heat detectors).

Q: How Does a Commercial Burglar Alarm System Work?

A: A commercial burglar alarm system is designed to detect intrusions into a commercial building or property. Once an intrusion is detected, an alert is sent to the appropriate authorities or individuals.

Some commercial burglar alarm systems may also include additional features. Typically this will include video surveillance cameras or access control systems. These systems are used to enhance security measures. Overall, the goal of a commercial burglar alarm system is to detect and prevent unauthorised access to commercial property. With these systems, we can keep the property and its occupants safe.

General overview of how a commercial burglar alarm system works

Here is a general overview of how a commercial burglar alarm system typically works:

  1. Sensors:
    • The system includes various sensors placed around the building. For example, door and window sensors, motion detectors, and glass break sensors. These sensors are designed to detect any unauthorised entry into the building.
  2. Control Panel:
    • The control panel is the brain of the alarm system. Subsequently, it receives signals from the sensors and processes them to determine if there is a possible intrusion. If an intrusion is detected, the control panel triggers an alarm.
  3. Communication:
    • Once the alarm is triggered, the system communicates with a monitoring centre or the local authorities. Generally, this can be done through a landline, cellular connection, or the internet.
  4. Response:
    • The monitoring centre or authorities will receive the alarm notification and respond appropriately. Depending on the severity of the situation, they may dispatch security personnel. If necessary, police or emergency services can be called to the location.
  5. Notification:
    • The system also sends notifications to designated individuals. This includes business owners or security personnel. Overall, this will alert them of the intrusion.

Q: How Does a Commercial Fire Alarm System Work?

A: Commercial fire alarm systems are designed to detect fire. Once a fire is detected, we can alert the occupants of a building there is a fire and to evacuate. These systems are comprised of several components. Unquestionably, these work together to provide early detection and warning of a potential fire.

Overall, a commercial fire alarm system works by detecting the presence of a fire. Firstly, the detector will alert the control panel, this will then activate any alarm devices to warn occupants of the building. The system is designed to provide early warning and quick response in the event of a fire, helping to protect lives and property.

General overview of how a commercial fire alarm system works

Here is a general overview of how a commercial fire alarm system works:

  1. Fire detectors:
    • The first component of a fire alarm system is the fire detectors. These can be either smoke detectors or heat detectors. Smoke detectors use sensors that detect the presence of smoke particles in the air, while heat detectors are triggered when the temperature in a room reaches a certain threshold.
  2. Control panel:
    • The control panel is the central hub of the fire alarm system. It receives signals from the fire detectors and determines whether or not there is a fire. Subsequently, if a fire is detected, the control panel sends a signal to the alarm devices.
  3. Alarm devices:
    • There are various types of alarm devices, including sirens, strobe lights, and speakers. When the control panel receives a signal indicating that there is a fire, it activates the alarm devices to alert the occupants of the building.
  4. Monitoring service:
    • Many commercial fire alarm systems are monitored by a central monitoring service. The monitoring service receives alerts from the fire alarm system and dispatches emergency services if necessary.
  5. Emergency lighting:
    • In the event of a power outage caused by a fire, emergency lighting will activate to guide occupants to safety.

Q: Do commercial alarm systems require professional installation?

A: Yes, most commercial alarm systems require professional installation to ensure proper installation and functionality.

Q: What features should I look for in a commercial alarm system?

A: Some features to consider when selecting a commercial alarm system include 24/7 monitoring, remote access and control, mobile alerts, video surveillance, and integration with other security systems.

Q: How much does a commercial alarm system cost?

A: The cost of a commercial alarm system can vary depending on the size of the property, the level of security desired, and the features included in the system. It is best to consult with a security provider to get a customised quote for your specific needs.

Q: How reliable are commercial alarm systems?

A: Commercial alarm systems are generally very reliable when properly installed and maintained. However, like any technology, there is always the possibility of equipment failure or false alarms. Regular maintenance and testing can help ensure that the system is functioning properly.

Q: Can I monitor my commercial alarm system remotely?

A: Yes, many commercial alarm systems offer remote access and control through a mobile app or web portal. This allows you to monitor and control your system from anywhere, at any time.

Q: Do commercial alarm systems require a contract?

A: Yes, most commercial alarm systems require a contract with a security provider for monitoring services. The length of the contract and the terms may vary depending on the provider and the specific system selected.

Q: What should I do if my commercial alarm system is triggered?

A: If your commercial alarm system is triggered, first verify whether it is a real emergency or a false alarm. If it is a real emergency, contact the appropriate authorities and follow any established emergency procedures. If it is a false alarm, contact your security provider to verify the alarm and prevent unnecessary emergency responses.

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