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How Do Security Alarm Systems Work?

how intrusion alarm systems work image

Whether they are implemented on their own, or incorporated into an integrated security solution, an intrusion alarm system is used to detect the presence of a burglar, and send a notification in the event of a security incident.

On the surface, these systems can appear complicated however, in this blog post we will outline how these systems work to keep your building secure.

Control Panel

The control panel is the foundation of any intrusion alarm system; and it acts as the brain of the system.  You can typically find these panels in an electrical room, telephone room, or other secure area, unless it’s built into the keypad (which is becoming a much more common theme, especially within the residential market).  All of the devices that make up an intrusion alarm system are connected to the control panel through wired or wireless communication.

When your intrusion alarm system is armed, and a security device is activated, the control panel wakes up and executes a pre-determined action such as siren or strobe, or a silent alarm, which typically includes the notification sent to an alarm monitoring station.  This notification signal is sent to the alarm monitoring station via phone line, cellular, IP, or other ULC approved method of communication.

As an alternative or supplement, these notifications can be sent to your mobile device or tablet in addition to, or instead of, being sent to an alarm monitoring station.


Almost all intrusion alarm systems are equipped with a keypad, which is used to arm and disarm the system.  The keypad isn’t the brains of the intrusion alarm system, it’s the device used to interact with it.

The keypad is also responsible for activating and deactivating the devices that are connected to the intrusion alarm system.

Intrusion Alarm Devices

An intrusion alarm system works in collaboration with many different security devices to secure your facility.  These devices perform many different functions, and are designed to work together to provide your building with a security solution for your unique needs.

  • Door Contacts – these devices detect when a door or window opens or closes.
  • Motion Detectors – these devices work in collaboration with the control panel and can initiate the activation of alarms, lights, cameras, or an audio device.
  • Glass Break Detectors – this is a sensor that detects the sound of breaking glass and activates an alarm.
  • Panic Alarm – a button that can be activated by a person under duress to call for help.

Learn More

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fire monitoring of canada logoFor over 30 years, Fire Monitoring of Canada (FMC) has been a leader in the monitoring of fire alarm and intrusion alarm systems.  If you would like to learn more about intrusion alarm systems and the benefits they can provide for your facility, please call 1 800 263 2534, email fminfo@fire-monitoring.com, or fill out the contact form below.



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