It’s a Monday.

Though the summer heat is raging outside, you are tucked into your desk for a day of work. Your kids are away at football and sleepaway camps; all that stands between you and the peace of an empty house is a few dozen emails and another four hours. Wonderful, isn’t summer…summer, you seem to remember hearing that household crime rates are higher in the summer. Your fingers hesitate over the keyboard, but your mind doesn’t linger on this statistically significant truth: you have an alarm system. Your keyboard clacking resumes, fading into the whirl of the office air conditioner.

Meanwhile, a no-good thief approaches your nicely trimmed, albeit slightly parched, lawn. He has been walking the neighborhood, looking for empty driveways and garages. He just so happens to notice your home. Eyes down, unassuming clothes, he makes his way up the driveway. He nears the door and peers through the decorative side glass window. Smash. Shattered glass spews across the floor and he quickly turns the lock inside. The door swings open, granting him access to your home and the waiting motion detector.

Suddenly, paradise becomes a nightmare as the siren sounds – a horrid screeching peal at 120 decibels. He panics and flees. Back at the office, your cell phone rings.


“Hello, this is Emily from Preventia Monitoring Center. May I verify your name and password, please?” a friendly Preventia Central Station operator asks.

A bit bewildered, you answer, “Lindsey Smith, safeword.”

“Thank you, Lindsey. We did receive an alarm from zone 1, front motion detector. Is everything okay?”

Front motion. The front motion, you think hurriedly. I’m at work; Mr. Smith is at work. It can’t be the kids.

“There should not be any one in the house at this time. Please dispatch police.”

“Okay, I will contact emergency dispatch. Thank you.”

The phone call disconnects as Emily, the friendly Preventia Central Station operator, calls the emergency dispatch agency. Their phone call goes something like this:

“Police Department”

“Hello, this is Emily with Preventia monitoring center. I’d like to report a residential burglary alarm,” Emily calmly explains.

“Okay. What’s the address?” the operator responds.

“432 Willow Street.”

“What type of alarm are you showing?”

“We received zone 1, front motion detector,” Emily reports.

“Thank you and your call back number?”

“My call back number is 877-206-9141. I do have a reference number for you.”

“Go ahead,” the police operator prompts.

“It is Alpha Foxtrot 1724.”

“Thank you. My operator number is 06. We will send dispatch to the site,” the police operator states.

Our central station updates your account and uploads the recorded conversation with the police operator to the response history. The police dispatch is now responsible for sending an officer to your home to investigate.


A (Slightly Less) Alarming Alternative:

What Happens When Your Alarm Sounds, Part 2

It’s a Saturday.

The near freezing temperatures outside are not conducive for snow in your Tennessee town, but they are the perfect excuse for a night in. You’ve cranked up the heat and, finally, decided on a movie. The couch, in all its cushiony goodness, awaits as you countdown with the microwave popcorn. Then, suddenly, someone spills juice on the carpet! You rush to grab a towel and the carpet cleaner. You dab and soak, spray and dab again. You call for another towel and guilty feet scramble to assist. The crisis is averted; but, a familiar smell wafts your direction before you can spring into action. The burning popcorn triggers the smoke detector and the high-pitched beep begins. Your husband grabs the broom, poking the reset button just as your cell phone rings.

“Hello,” you answer, breathless.

“Hello, this is Emily from Preventia Monitoring Center. Could I verify your name and password, please?”

“Lindsey Smith, safeword.”

“Thank you. We received an alarm on zone 4, kitchen smoke detector. Is everything okay?” Emily asks.

“Yes, we just burnt some popcorn. Everything is fine.”

“Okay. Would you like me to just disregard that signal then?”

“Yes, please,” you respond.

“Okay. I will disregard. You have a great night.”

With your new bag of popcorn and the opening credits rolling, you are all set for a safe and relaxing night at home. Check out the infographic below with actual, documented alarm response times.