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Here at Titan Alarms, you may not be surprised to hear that alarms are our bread and butter. For security and fire safety the alarm is one of the key, critical components in any system – it’s the alert, the signal that something is up! It can take a few forms, whether it’s a ringing to deter intruders and draw attention, or a signal to a monitoring station alarms are meant to get eyes on the problem at hand. But how do alarms work? This time on the Titan Alarm blog we’re giving you a brief rundown on the mechanics of alarms.

How Alarms Work – The Basics

In the most simple way, the most basic alarm is a simple electric circuit. All other upgraded alarms can add additional features, methods, etc but they rely on this same concept!

A circuit, any circuit whether it’s a Playstation, computer, fridge, whatever, the electricity flows in only one direction from positive to negative, or negative to positive, and it can only flow when there is a path between those points. Think of a battery. One side is positive and one side is negative, right? When the batteries are plugged into your calculator, or whatever, the electricity flows from the one side of the battery through the device, allowing it to be used. If the device has a button on it, like say a flashlight, the circuit is broken so the flashlight doens’t turn on. When the button is pressed, the circuit is completed and electricity can flow. That circuit is complete. To turn the power/electricity off the circuit is broken – in the case of our example: the battery is removed or the button is pressed again.

Alarms work by integrating physical features into the circuit, either a door or window, etc. and they can be one of two different kinds of circuit systems: an open-circuit system or closed-circuit system.

An open-circuit system means that when the door or window is closed the circuit is open and electricity isn’t flowing. When the door or window is opened the physical change closed the circuit, allowing electricity to flow and trigger the alarm.

In a closed-circuit system, the circuit is closed while the door or window is closed. As long as they stay closed the electricity can flow through the circuit and everything is hunky-dory. When something is opened the circuit breaks and the alarm starts ringing! 

Of the two of these, the closed-circuit system is the safest, an open-circuit system has more weaknesses (an intruder could just the circuit elsewhere to prevent the circuit from closing when they open). 

Sound the Alarm!

So what happens when the alarm is triggered? It alerts! Usually, an alarm will have a siren or other loud noise, flashing lights, and if it’s monitored or set up for a rapid response it will auto-dial a number.

The noise and lights do a few different, but all beneficial, things:

  • Alerts anyone inside and nearby that someone has broken into the building.
  • They can scare and deter the intruder from the building.
  • Clearly alerts responding police which house they need to get to.

The auto-dialer will call the police and/or other emergency personnel. It will play a message giving the emergency services all the information they need to help, including the address of the building and any other relevant info. It can also dial the security company who installed the system if they are providing a monitoring service for the homeowner.

That’s the basics of how alarm systems work – it’s simple electrical circuits! For the most part. Like we said, alarms and other intruder detection systems can get incredibly complex to provide an even more robust security solution.

What do you need? Titan Alarm is here to help! Whether it’s a simple burglar system for your home or business, or a robust fire protection system to stop and flames in their tracks, Titan Alarm works with the best tech and providers to deliver the best to our customers.

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