Do I get a fine whenever my system goes into alarm? NO. Sterling Security NEVER fines our clients. You only get a fine from the Police if the police actually respond to your alarm signal. If our central station is able to ascertain that the signal is a “false activation” before the Police are dispatched or even cancel the Police (some dispatches cannot be canceled) before they arrive on scene, then No fines are issued. We use Enhanced Call Verification (EVC) to try and verify all automatic burglary signals before we dispatch.
Do I need a Permit for my alarm system? Most municipalities require an “Alarm Permit” Some municipalities will add additional fees to the cost of false dispatches if the premises does not have a valid permit. Please check your city hall for details. We have provided our most up to date Permit list.
What about false alarms?Sterling Security has several procedures in place to try and avoid False police dispatches, but it is a team effort with you involved to achieve that goal.
a) We make several calls to the premises and your cell phones before we dispatch, we use Enhanced Call Verification (ECV) - see answer to next question. Your job in the partnership is to answer your phone if safe to do so when we call. Our central station has a caller ID so you can know it is Sterling Security is calling.
b) We attempt to contact you the next business day after an alarm or dispatch. To ascertain what caused the alarm. We try and determine whether the activation was due to a System Malfunction, the system not operating as expected, or user error. Your job in this partnership is to respond to our calls and if it is an unexplained or a suspected malfunction of the system, allow us to trouble shoot or repair the system.
c) We offer $20 discount on our regular trip charge for service calls requested within 7 days of any unexplained alarm activation
d) We have a technician on call 24 hours a day to help you use your system and even make site calls after hours to fix a faulty system
What happens when my alarms triggers? We will call the premises where the signal originated, then if no one is contacted; calling at least 2 people on the responsible party list, you provide us, before we dispatch the Police on an automatic burglary signal. This verification takes less than a minute and has proven to reduce false Police dispatches.
What is ECV? ECV or Enhanced Call Verification is a dispatch instruction that requires us to call the premises where the signal originated, then if no one is contacted; calling at least 2 people on the responsible party list, you provide us, before we dispatch the Police on an automatic burglary signal. ECV verification takes less than1 minute and reduces the amount of false police dispatches.
Fire, Panic and Robbery signals are not subject to ECV.
Can I get a text or email notification from my system? Yes; some of our systems allow you to receive a text or email directly from the system, but any system monitored at our central station can send an automatic message via text or email from the central station. We can notify you of other events including when a child gets home from school.
Do I need a phone line for my system to work? No; although the majority of alarm systems installed utilize the phone system to communicate, we offer several options, if you do not have a phone line or would like a more secure method of transmission for your alarm system. These include GSM communicator and IP communicators.
What happens if my phone line is cut? In many cases the phone line is the primary communication conduit for signals from your alarm system to the central station. We program our systems to continually monitor for phone line presence and then to test communication once per week. If the phone line is cut the central station will not get an immediate signal unless and alternate communication device has been installed. We will however get a failed test if no signal is received at the scheduled test time. We can offer GSM Cell Communicators or IP Communicators.
(Please refer to next questions on GSM and IP Communicators)
What is a GSM Communicator? A GSM communicator is a device that sends alarm signals to our central station via the cell network. This can be a back up system to the regular phone line or the primary method of sending signals. The GSM communicator is more secure as it will not be compromised by cutting any power, phone or cable feeds entering the premises.
What is an IP communicator? An IP communicator is a device that sends alarm signals to our central station via IP packets, utilizing your network and Internet Service. The advantage of the IP communicator is speed of transmission. The Modem and router on your network must have a battery back up to ensure operation during a power failure.
What are the advantages of a “Hard Wire System”? A wireless system is easier to install in an existing finished building, as very few wires are needed to make the system work. Some systems only need a power connection.
What are the advantages of a “Wireless System”? A wireless system is easier to install in an existing finished building, as very few wires are needed to make the system work. Some systems only need a power connection.
Can I control my system from a remote location? Yes; we offer systems that can be controlled via many off site devices. A touch tone phone, any web browser, an I Phone or other smart phone.
Does the alarm company need a special license? Yes; all alarm companies in California need an ACQ (Alarm Company Qualified manager) which allows the ACO (Alarm Company Owner) to operate an alarm company. All alarm company employees need to have an ACE (Alarm Company Employee) card. Any person that has one of these cards has had a thorough background check done through the Bureau of Investigative and Security Service (BSIS) an division of consumer affairs. www.bsis.ca.gov.
Can I easily check if the license I am presented is valid? Yes please check the license of any person you may allow into your house to even quote you an alarm system. BSIS mandates that all licensees must carry their License with them. Use this link to check its validity: www.bsis.ca.gov/online_services/verify_license.shtml
Are there background checks done on all your staff? Yes; all alarm companies in California need an ACQ (Alarm Company Qualified manager) which allows the ACO (Alarm Company Owner) to operate an alarm company. All alarm company employees need to have an ACE (Alarm Company Employee) card. Any person that has one of these cards has had a thorough background check done through the Bureau of Investigative and Security Service (BSIS) an division of consumer affairs: www.bsis.ca.gov This is what a license should look like:
How long does an installation take?There is no set way of determining the length of an installation before we make a site visit and meet with you. All of our systems are custom designed to fit both your lifestyle choices and the building condition when the installation takes place. You can be sure that if you use Sterling Security the system will be installed professionally.
What is an Alarm Screen? An Alarm screen replaces a regular fly screen over a window, and as the name suggests will trigger an alarm when it is either removed or damaged. The screen mesh has an alarm wire to signal if the mesh is cut.
What is a pet immune motion detector?A pet immune motion detector is usually a duel tech detector utilizing both infrared and microwave technologies to determine whether the detected motion is human or not. Some less reliable units are infrared only. The detectors are only effect if installed correctly.
What is a magnetic contact? A magnetic contact is the lynch pin of a security system. It is the device that signals whether a door or window is open or closed. Not all contacts are equal nor is any one contact a universal solution to all doors and windows. At Sterling we only use the best quality contacts and take the time to specify the correct contact to not only function but to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible.
How should I choose an alarm company? When you choose an alarm company you are entering into a long term relationship. You should make sure you are dealing with a licensed company. Initial cost should not be the only determining factor, in choosing. Ask about warrantee length, the cost of service calls and whether or not they are selling your monitoring contract to a big alarm company where you will be just a number in their system.
How do I know if I need an LA Alarm permit? If you get your electricity bill or water bill from Department of Water and Power (DWP) you require a permit from Los Angeles for your alarm. Click this link for application form or go to www.cslb.ca.gov.
Do I need an LA Alarm Permit if my system is not monitored? Yes you do need a permit if you get your power bill from Department of Water and Power (DWP) and you have a local bell system that is not signaling a central station. The LA alarm permit for this local bell alarm permit does not require a fee. (this is correct on 8-5-10) Click this link for application form or go to www.lacity.org.
Can all BSIS licensed alarm companies install smoke detectors? No only alarm companies that also hold a C10 license from the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and install smoke detectors or any other fire device. You can check if the alarm company has a C10 by Clicking this link or go to www.cslb.ca.gov.