We understand the choices available to the consumer. We would like to assist you in understanding your choices. Ask all potential alarm companies the following questions. Only those who meet or exceed the standards set below should be seriously considered.
Q: Is the installing company properly licensed?
A: Yes. Connecticut State Law requires an alarm installer to be licensed as a low voltage electrical journeyman (classification C6 or L6) or contractor (classification C5 or L5). Ask to see this license before entering into any contract. If the installation technicians are not licensed, they are by Connecticut law illegally performing this type of work. Should any questions concerning the proper licensing of a particular company arise, contact the State Department of Consumer Protection, P.O. Box 30543, Hartford, Connecticut 06510.
Q: Is the installing company properly insured?
A: Yes. Any installation company should carry insurance to protect the customer in the event of possible damage caused during the installation of an alarm system. Reputable alarm installation companies will carry a variety of insurances covering all areas of installation up to and including errors and omissions and general liability.
Q: Is the installing company a member of any state or national associations?
A: Yes. Participation in national and regional associations indicates a level of commitment to the industry and participation affords opportunities to learn newer techniques, equipment and practices to promote a higher standard of alarm system performance.
- Automatic Fire Alarm Association (AFAA) – A national association dedicated to educational standards and performance standards for fire alarm installations and companies within the association.
- Electronic Security Association (ESA) – Establishes a code of ethics and exchange of information for members. Provides technical training programs to enhance installation professionalism.
- National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) – Develops performance standards for fire alarm system installations, training manuals and technical training programs.
Q: What is an ESA (Electronic Security Association) or FBFAA (National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association) Level I/II Certified Technician?
A: An ESA or NBFAA certified technician is a trained security professional who has passed a nationally recognized course of education in the field of security system installation. The requirements to remain certified include numerous educational courses related to the industry, which the technician must complete every year thereafter.
Q: What is NICET Certification?
A: A national acceptance level of technical training within the fire sciences.
Q: Will all new installations be performed in accordance with NFPA, NEC (National Electrical Code) and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements?
A: Yes. All new installations must be in compliance with current federal, state and local codes.
Q: Should I ask for job references?
A: Yes. All reputable companies are proud of their customers and should be more than pleased to have you inquire about their abilities. Beware of companies offering pre-printed customer lists – you could be added to a list without your knowledge.
Q: Should I ask questions about the operation of the system before it is installed?
A: Yes. Understanding all operations and costs will prevent any possible misunderstandings. Write down items of special interest to you. Don’t feel you have to make an immediate decision about a purchase. A good consumer will study the product and/or service offered prior to purchase. Fast talk or high pressure is not what you are buying and is not what you should expect.
Q: What should a system cost?
A: Each company may suggest different methods, choices of equipment and installation. The lowest price does not mean the equipment quality will be the same as higher priced systems. Great care should be taken to compare. Greater care should be taken to compare an alarm company’s background, employee education, training and alarm dispatch procedures. If the system selected does what you want it to do and you feel the alarm company has the knowledge, integrity and can provide the level of services you require, this would be the better choice.
Q: Does the installing company have communications on a 24-hour basis for emergency service dispatch?
A: Yes. Though not a state or local requirement, this may help to indicate the size and level of service being provided. From a customer viewpoint, prompt service can be expedited by such communication.
Q: Does the company provide back-up communications of an alarm to the central station, in the event that telephone service is interrupted by criminal activity?
A: Yes. Back-up communication may be a great concern, as well as a benefit, to you. The firm of choice should be able to provide optional higher levels of monitoring, which would include radio, cellular or internet monitoring capabilities. Loss of telephone service caused by criminal acts or weather conditions may automatically generate specific signals per each individual client’s request, dictating a specific dispatch response to these signals.