1. Do some research. What is the installer’s reputation and history? How large is the company? How many current customers? Is it local or nationwide? Is their primary business security?

2. How “new” is the home security product? Today’s home security systems are far more superior than those available in past years.

3. Does the home security company offer monitoring? A reputable home security company should provide its own central station monitoring instead of having another company monitor for them.

4. Does the home security company have redundant monitoring facilities? Make sure they have backup monitoring centers throughout the country in case of natural or manmade disaster.

5. Does the home security company’s monitoring facility have back-up power? Find out if the monitoring facility has gas or electric-powered generators – as well as battery back-up to ensure that monitoring continues despite power failures.

6. Spend time thinking about the “amount” of security you need. The basic elements of a standard system include a key pad, a control panel, a siren, an inside motion detector, at least two door contacts, as well as connection to a central monitoring station for around the clock coverage. I’d recommend cameras too.

7. Secure your home from “hidden” household dangers. Equip your home with effective smoke, fire, carbon monoxide and flood detection systems.

8. Ease-of-use and convenience to ensure a high level of usage. Be sure to choose something that can be armed and disarmed easily by all family members.

9. Make sure the system you install has a battery back-up. If the power goes out, you want the monitoring and protection continuous.

1. What other benefits does the company offer?

# A money-back service guarantee?

# Guarantee against theft?

# A relocation package so a new security system is installed in case you move?

# Is there a Web site that provides customer service?

# Is there a website that you can access your system and control it remotely?

Be sure to spend time with your security specialist to develop a security plan and system that meets you and your family’s specific needs.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to Home Security Source discussing Home Security on NBC Boston.

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