How Long Does It Take for My Security System to Notify My Provider of an Intrusion?

When a home security system is breached and an alarm sounds, most homeowners are under the impression their monitoring company is instantly notified of the situation. In actuality, some alarm companies are notified the instant an alarm is triggered, while others use built-in alarm delays for a variety of different reasons.

Some delays can last as long as four minutes before the alarm company’s monitoring center is notified of the event. There are advantages and disadvantages associated with alarm delays, mostly surrounding false alarms.

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When a false alarm reaches a dispatcher at a monitoring company, they will be occupied for at least several minutes until the situation is finalized.

From the perspective of an alarm company, this is time that same dispatcher could have been assisting a homeowner in an emergency.

Alarm companies typically assess fees above and beyond normal monthly service fees for false alarms, as do cities and municipalities providing emergency response personnel. These costs can range from tens of dollars to several thousand per incident.

When considering a home security monitoring company, it’s important to fully assess the likelihood of false alarms at your house and the associated costs for such occurrences and compare them to your willingness to live with the fact a real emergency may not be reported for up to four minutes.

Check out our System Finder for assistance in finding a home security provider best suited for your needs, or call a SafeWise security specialist at 855-374-4999 for a complete overview of the home security products and services available in your area.


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Celeste Tholen
Written by
Celeste Tholen
Celeste has dedicated her decade-long career to reporting and reviews that help people make well-informed decisions. She oversees editorial strategy and production for SafeWise, with a goal to help everyone find the information they need to make their homes and lives safer. Prior to SafeWise, she worked as an editor and reporter for KSL and Deseret News. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism. In her free time, she volunteers at the local botanical garden and writers for the community newspaper.

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