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Buying an alarm system

Consumer information

  • Obtain bids from more than one company. Compare prices, warranty and service.
  • BEWARE if the alarm company representative uses high pressure sales or scare tactics.
  • Ask if you are buying the equipment or leasing.
  • Don't overdo it! More is not necessarily better.

The alarm company

  • How long have they been in business?
  • Do they have 24 hour a day service?
  • Are they bonded and insured?
  • Do they monitor their own accounts or contract with a third party?
  • Where is their central station located?
  • Are they a member of the Better Business Bureau or the Minnesota Burglar and Fire Alarm Association?

The equipment

  • Is the equipment approved by Underwriters Laboratory?
  • Is the system tamper resistant (i.e., wires and sensor protected from the elements)?
  • If you are a business, consider a cellular back-up system which can provide reliable backup and uninterrupted communications if the phone or power lines are cut and a break-in occurs.

Reminders

  • A false alarm is like calling 911 for help!
  • False alarms take officers away from real crimes. During 2001 there were over 1900 alarm calls, of which 98.5 percent were false.
  • Human error is the most common cause of false alarms!
  • The City of Bloomington has a false alarm ordinance. You will be assessed a fee for more that two false alarms in a calendar year. The fee begins at $125 and increases up $50 for each additional alarm. Panic, holdup and duress alarms have greater fees.
  • For complete details, see City Code Chapter 14, Article IV, Sections 14.138-14.146.