Celebrate our 50th Anniversary with us!

Fifty years ago, in 1969, our founder, Dr. William Standring, “Doc”, opened Sonitrol of Evansville to help police reduce false alarms and to increase criminal apprehensions. Since then, our location has played an essential role in achieving Sonitrol corporate’s apprehension rate of over 180,140 criminals and counting. What began as one man’s vision of helping police catch criminals has grown into a trusted family of people who value each other, their clients, and their community. We couldn’t have achieved this milestone without the continued support of our customers, fire department, and law enforcement officers alike, which is why we’d like to invite you all to celebrate with us.
We would love to see you on Friday, September 13, 2019 between 11a.m.-2p.m. for our 50thAnniversary Open House. In addition to serving delicious barbecue and sides from our local favorite, Miller’s BBQ Catering, we will be giving tours of our Central Station, the heart of Sonitrol, where our operators work 24 hours a day to monitor our customers’ verified alarms. With the Central Station tour, you will find out how operators listen to live audio feed to determine whether or not to dispatch police. Join us for free barbecue, take a tour of our operation, and celebrate with us. We are excited for the next fifty years to come!

You’re invited!
When: Friday, September 13, 2019
Time: 11a.m.-2p.m.
Where: Sonitrol of Evansville
208 NW Third Street
Evansville, IN 47708

Call us with any questions: (800) 444-1191 or email: info@sonitrolev.com

50th Anniversary flyer

The Three a.m. Wake-up Call

It’s three a.m. You are sound asleep, dreaming about that beach vacation you’re planning. Your toes are in the sand, the waves are gently lapping against the shore, when all of a sudden, an earthquake hits! Wait, it’s not an earthquake. It’s your cellphone buzzing across your nightstand. Why is my phone ringing at three a.m.? I was having the best dream!

No one wants to get that call. If you are a Sonitrol customer, you could be on the receiving end of one of those calls from our Central Station operators. Why? Has there been a break-in at your business? Maybe not. Often times, it’s not your usual suspect. A criminal hasn’t triggered the alarm at your facility. The culprit? An unsecured door, blown open by a summer storm or a gust of wind. Yep. A door.

But doors are great, right? They help protect the people who should be there and keep the noise, weather, unauthorized people, and zombies out. And with a Sonitrol security system at your business or residence, you’ve really added protection to your property, valuables, and loved ones. We’ve installed door contacts so that when your system is armed and a door is opened, our monitoring team will dispatch police.

How do the door contacts work?

A door contact has two components. First, there is the switch part that is attached to the doorframe. It can be wirelessly powered with a battery or wired directly to the security panel. The second part of the contact is a magnet. The two components need to meet up when the door is closed to let the control panel know that the door is shut. The standard allowable gap between the contact and magnet before it goes into alarm is ¾ of an inch. Once the magnet is farther than ¾ of an inch, the alarm point is considered open, and if the system is armed, our operators will be notified.

So how could a door cause a false alarm?

Sometimes, buildings settle, doors become misaligned, screws in hinges become loose, and doors and doorframes swell and shrink with changing seasons. It may sound as unlikely as a zombie knocking down your door, but it’s a common cause of false alarms.

So, what can you do?

  • Make sure all of your doors close properly. Can you pull the door open without turning the doorknob? Is there play in the door? When you pull on the handle, is it tight? Or does it wiggle and move?
  • Check the door hinges. The hinges should be checked to make sure screws have not loosened and the strike plate on the frame is installed properly and not damaged. Make sure the latch on the door is contacting the strike plate on the doorframe.
  • Check the door contact on occasion. Over time, the contact and the magnet can become misaligned or components can become damaged. Are both components of the door contact mounted properly and meeting when the door is closed?

Checking to make sure your doors are closed and secure and fixing older doors will help ensure that your building is protected when you arm the security system. It can increase police safety, too. Police safety? You bet. Avoiding these false alarms keeps our police from rushing across town when it isn’t necessary. On a windy night, or when a summer storm might be rolling in, that extra few minutes to check your doors could help make sure you enjoy those beach vacation dreams and don’t get a three a.m. wake-up call!

peaceful sleep

Protect your business day or night!

Often times, when people think of business security systems, they only consider how an alarm will protect their location after hours. But let’s look at how a verified alarm system, specifically, Sonitrol’s TotalGuard™ alarm, can offer your company, or even your school, protection during your daytime business hours.

You may be wondering…What is TotalGuard™? This is an ALL-IN-ONE intrusion detection solution that includes impact-activated audio, glass break analytics, motion detection and video verification. The TotalGuard™ system has wireless connectivity and complete volumetric intrusion detection. Once armed, which can be done via your Sonitrol Mobile app, the alarm works around the clock to protect your business.

So how can it help you during daytime business hours when it isn’t even armed? When a TotalGuard™ alarm is paired with our unique panic button, our Central Station operators will have instant access to live video and audio feed the moment you press your panic button. A variety of business settings might have need for this sort of set-up, such as gas stations, banks, fast food restaurants, and convenience stores. Here are a few scenarios where this could benefit your company during regular business hours:

  • Unruly individuals. From customers losing tempers to belligerent individuals acting aggressively to your cashier or staff at a gas station or small business shop, in the security business, we’ve seen it all. Sometimes, employees find themselves in a situation that has intensified in an instant, and for the safety of customers and themselves, they need the police there right away. Once they press the panic button, our Central Station operators will see live video and hear live audio feed from the TotalGuard™ system, while simultaneously dispatching police. Our team will give the police details as to what is happening in your business.
  • Active threats. Gas stations, fast food restaurants, convenience stores, jewelry stores, pawn shops, and banks jump to mind as potential targets for hold-ups or active threats. While we hope it never happens, being prepared with a TotalGuard™ alarm and panic button could save lives by providing responding law enforcement with critical information. In the terrible event of a hold-up, a bank teller, for example, can press the panic button and instantly activate our TotalGuard™ camera to allow our operators to relay real time information with live video and audio feed to police as they race to the scene.
  • School threats. By adding a TotalGuard™ camera and panic button to your school office, your front desk staff can alert us the moment something goes wrong, with the press of a button. The instant your school panic button is pressed our Central Station operators will notify police while seeing, recording, and sharing real-time details with law enforcement. This extra level of security can help police secure your campus and protect your students and staff during any school threat.

TotalGuard™ is an affordable camera alarm solution, turned on and off from your Sonitrol Mobile app. Not only will TotalGuard™ provide all-inclusive verified protection for your business after hours, paired with our panic button, it gives you dependable emergency assistance for your employees, customers, students, and company when you’re open for business. For a free consultation with our security professionals and to hear about our zero-down TotalGuard™ installation special, contact us at (800) 444-1191.

 

TG STRIP MALL

Preventing break-ins on summer break…

The countdown is here, and sure enough, in just a few short weeks, students, and teachers alike, will be bursting through school doors across the country, proclaiming three months of freedom. And while the students are away, will the burglars play? Here are a few quick tips to secure your school and prevent a break-in:

  • Use outdoor lights. Make sure your school’s outdoor walkways, entrances, and exits are clearly lit. Motion detector lights are excellent deterrents for potential vandals.
  • Store valuable equipment, such as computers, tablets, and science lab items in interior rooms and away from windows, out of sight from prying eyes.
  • Consider a verified security company versus a traditional alarm company. Unique factors set Sonitrol apart from traditional alarms and help us protect your students, teachers, and campus. As a provider of school security to more than 12,000 schools across North America for over fifty years, the Sonitrol Safe Schools program takes campus security to another level. Here’s how:
  1. We provide state-of-the-art audio detection. With strategically placed audio sensors throughout your facility, you don’t have to worry about your school being unprotected while the students are away. The instant a vandal breaks a window, opens a door, or breaks into your facility through rooftop access or any means, our audio sensors are activated. This means operators in central station immediately begin listening to real-time events and can determine whether it is a false alarm or if a break-in is occurring. They relay this information to law enforcement. Traditional alarms can’t verify what is happening when the motion detectors they depend on are tripped, which causes a high rate of false alarms. Unlike Sonitrol, they can’t be sure an actual break-in is occurring. Also, a unique feature of the Sonitrol alarm is that the criminals won’t even know police are on their way because this is a silent alarm.
  2. We offer managed access control. Using programmed keyless entry, you can decide which employees have permission to enter your facility and through which doors. From day care facilities to college campuses, depending on the number of your staff, this is a huge convenience, during the school year and on summer break. Traditional alarm companies may offer access control, but Sonitrol also offers door prop notification. This means that if a student or staff member intentionally leaves a door propped open, for example, to allow someone to access the school after hours, our operators will receive a notification and contact you about the door. This feature can be programmed according to your specifications. You may, for instance, want door prop notification to alert us after only thirty seconds of a door being open. It’s up to you.
  3. We offer emergency panic buttons. It’s an unfortunate reality, but schools are more vulnerable to violence and crime than ever before. When the students and teachers return after break, Sonitrol can provide unmatched security for any on-campus emergency. Our panic buttons can be placed in common areas around the school, such as the front office, and can even be carried on key chains by administrators. With the press of a button, not only will police be dispatched, the audio sensors will activate to allow operators to listen in during an emergency. This enables them to provide critical details to responding law enforcement. As an extra feature, if you choose to add video surveillance as well, after a panic button has been pressed, operators can watch live feed of your campus. This allows them to provide law enforcement even more information as to what is happening on your campus. Before the police arrive, they can know who is in the building and where any potential perpetrators may be. While traditional alarm companies might offer you a panic button, they can’t verify what is happening on your campus as Sonitrol can with our technology.

Sonitrol can provide unrivaled security for your school. We even offer fire detection monitoring. This summer break let us handle your school campus security needs. For a free quote, call us today at 1-800-444-1191 to have one of our security professionals assess your school’s security risks and recommend a tailored solution to protect your school, students, and teachers.

safe schools

 

 

DIY Security Systems – Cost effective or installation nightmare?

sonitrol_puzzleWalk into any big box store and you can find DIY systems for your home or business. The seemingly inexpensive cost and “easy directions” would make any DIY guru seem up to this task.  However, proper installation of a security system can make the difference between keeping your property and coming home to an empty house.

Before you grab the toolbox, here are some things to think about:

Finding the trap

DIY Security Systems seem appealing at a glance; however, it can be more complex than it seems. Even if installation is “user-friendly”, the decision of where to place the devices requires specialized knowledge. Without this knowledge, your system may not set the proper trap for the burglar leaving you unsecure. Sonitrol’s professional installers learn the layout of your location and install the components of a security system based on their expertise. They understand the habits of intruders and know what installation plan maximizes your security coverage. Cutting that expertise out of the security system installment process can lead to potentially dangerous gaps in your security.  A professional will also know where to place devices to prevent false alarms which are punishable by fines in some cities.

It’s all in the little things

While DIY security systems may be tempting as a way to save money, installation damages and overlooked vulnerabilities add unseen costs that hiring a professional can avoid. Professional installers, like those at Sonitrol, have the experience and training to understand the little things that make a big difference. Professionals know the optimal locations for equipment that best secures your home or business.  No putting up a device only to have to take it down and repair the damage.

Their expertise is also a great resource!  They will take the time to show you all the ways to use your system like:

  • Arming and diarming
  • Arming while the building is occupied
  • Using the duress or panic function
  • What to do if the alarm is accidently set off.

Monitoring Matters

In an emergency, even high-tech DIY security systems make the owner responsible for contacting emergency personnel.  If the owner steps away from the phone, puts it on silent or simply does not have service, the alarm may be missed.  A professional 24 hour monitoring station like Sonitrol’s Five Diamond Central Station will instantly dispatch on a burglary or fire alarm. Every second is critical when there is an an emergency in your home or business.  Response time greatly affects the outcome of the event. Professional monitoring stations provide peace of mind; your location will always be protected. Doing it right the first time can save you time and energy. Don’t sacrifice the safety of your location to save money. Put the task of protecting the things you love in the hands of professionals like Sonitrol Security.

“How do I know the technician won’t come back and rob me?”

A new security system customer asked an installation technician this question. The technician shrugged his shoulders, because he had never thought about it, and said, “I guess, you don’t.”
Choosing a company to provide you with security, should not be a “click of the mouse” decision. These people will not only be securing valuables, but irreplaceable personal mementos and possibly your loved ones. Your decision should come with some background knowledge on the company. What kind of research should you do before making this choice?

1. How long has the company been in business?

The last thing you want to invest in, is a “fly-by-night” company to provide security at your home or office. Most state websites offer a business entity report. These reports can tell you whether the business is registered in the state, and for how long. Simply type in your state’s abbreviation followed by .gov in your browser bar.

When you get to your state’s website, search for business entity and then type in the company’s name. Companies who have longevity, usually have experience backed by excellent customer service and are a community landmark for a reason. The Better Business Bureau is also another good source of information to research a security provider.

2. Who do they hire?

A natural assumption would be that all security providers run a background check on their potential employees. After all, the consultants and technicians come into your home or place of business, see all your valuables and where they are located. As a customer, you must trust that the installers will “hook up” your system properly. Then there is a monitoring crew, which you will probably never meet, watching for alarms and dispatching the proper authorities. If your provider is serious about keeping you safe, they will choose to spend the extra money to find upstanding citizens to add to their team!

3. Who will help you after you sign the agreement?

Naturally, we would assume that when someone sells us a product, the company that employees them, will be responsible for helping with any after sale issues or questions. Often larger security companies use independently owned, smaller companies to push their product. These companies come and go and their mindset is to sell, sell, sell. Once the account is sold, you never hear from them again. Another company will then install and service the system. Confirm that the same company that sells the security system, will be responsible for installation, monitoring, and servicing the system. This may save you a ton of hassle if you need to speak to someone regarding “after the sale” questions or issues.

If you have questions or you would like a free assessment on a fire and security system, contact us.

Security Solutions to prevent Home Invasions

intrusion-300x152The only thing worse than being burglarized is having someone break in while a family member is at home. Lately, home invasions have been the unfortunate headlines in our Tri-State area news. Many times, a home invasion starts out as a burglary, with the invader thinking the home is empty. Here are a few simple security solutions you can use, to reduce the possibility of a home invasion.

Stranger Danger

Always look to see who is knocking. If you don’t know the person or cannot easily recognize the organization they represent, it’s okay to tell them you “Aren’t interested” through a closed door. If this person was a potential burglar, your acknowledgement lets them know that you are home and they will be inclined to look for their treasures elsewhere.

Secure all Exterior Doors

Number one rule – lock your doors! If family members are planning to be home late at night, they should have their own key to open the door. All exterior doors should be solid core and have heavy-duty dead bolt locks to prevent someone from easily kicking in a door.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Expensive items such as flat screen TVs, computers, guns and stereo equipment can be enticing to a burglar who sees them when walking by your home. If possible, keep these items away from the line of sight of your front windows. According to a University of North Carolina study, 88% of all burglars are looking for drugs or money to buy drugs. So if you have prescription bottles, put them out of sight and not on an end table or window sill.

Light it Up

The more likely a criminal is to be seen, the less likely they are to attempt to enter a home. Keep the lights on your home in good condition by changing light bulbs and repairing broken fixtures. Motion activated lights on the side and back of your home can be a great deterrent as the activation of a light may catch the eye of your neighbors.

Install and Use Your Home Security System

When built and installed by a reputable provider, a security system will allow you to secure your property and your loved ones inside. Systems should be built so that the user can arm the perimeter of the home while the occupants are safe inside. If the worse case scenario happens, a wireless panic button when pressed will immediately alert your home security monitoring station that you are in trouble and to dispatch the police. These buttons work whether the system is armed or disarmed and are usually more convenient to use than finding a phone and dialing 911. Signs in the yard and decals on the doors, don’t ALWAYS deter burglars and home intruders because they know some people forget to turn them on. If you have a security system, use it and use it properly. Just recently, one Tri-State area resident had someone knock at the door late at night, and he turned his system off to open the door…to three armed home intruders.

No Sharing!

If you are having work done on your home, don’t share your keys. Even if the company is reputable, a single key can be shared with people who may not be the best of character. Keys can also be duplicated. Simply because someone doesn’t have a key, doesn’t mean they can’t get into your home. So do not share the codes to your security system with workers. And when the work is done check to make sure that windows are still locked. Be sure to secure doors, especially doors that obviously aren’t used much.

Foresight is less expensive than hindsight, and maybe even less frightening. So take the time to put these security solutions into actions in your home.

For more information on these and other ideas, contact us.

3 ways your security system will talk; is your provider listening?

intrusion_front Let’s face it; communication is important! Have you ever been on a very important call, just to have your cell phone drop the call? Aggravating isn’t it? Having a security system with the wrong source of communication, can be not only aggravating but scary.

Peace of mind is very important. The main reason to invest in a security system is to protect the things you value: your family, employees and assets. There are so many options on the internet that can sound simple, but in fact are unreliable. One of these “simple” options, is how YOUR security system will communicate with the monitoring station. So, let’s break down the forms of communication to find the one that best fits your circumstances.

HOW?

There are 3 ways a security system communicates:

1.  Telephone line

– your security system communicates with a central station through a land line. Since the beginning of the security system, this has been the most common form of communication.

CON – As people become more dependent on cell phones for communication, land lines are becoming an unnecessary cost in the household. However, if you already have a security system, discontinuing your land line will cut communications with your central station. Call your provider to see what options they have for you. The cost to convert, may be less expensive than continuing your phone line.

2.  Cellular communication

– your security system communicates using cellular towers in the area.

CON – Cellular communication is only as good as the cell phone service in your area. If service is bad in your area, this option is not for you.

3. High speed internet

– your security system communicates using your high speed internet. Most people have internet at their house. This form of communication uses very little bandwidth so it will not interfere with the speed of your internet surfing. It also communicates faster and more regularly with your central station.

CON – If your internet provider likes to continuously test your service, at 2 am in the morning, your system is going to notify you that there is a problem with communication at that time, every time.

Can there be a lapse in any of these communication? Yes. Your phone line can go down, cellular communications can be dropped, and there is the “ever-bothersome” loss of internet service for some unknown reason. Without one of these forms of communication, your security system will not send an alarm to notify the central station. And, if the lines of communication are disabled, your provider will not know it until they send a test.

But a good provider will not leave you without options. First, a proper functioning security system will alert you on your keypad if there is a break in communications! Next, a provider serious about keeping you safe will test their lines of communication a minimum of every 24 hours. High speed internet communications can send a test every 5 to 15 minutes. If the test comes back as a failure in communications, your provider should be contacting you to resolve the issue immediately.

Burglars Beware:  We have back up!

To minimize any lapse in communication, consider having a back-up line for your system. For instance, if you choose to use your high speed internet, and it goes down, your system can switch to a cellular communication to transmit any alarms.

Perhaps the most important aspect of all these communications, is <insert drumroll here>your provider. Because, let’s be honest, “you get what you pay for”! Let me share a story to illustrate my point:

old ladyWe received a call from a wonderful lady who is now one of our awesome customers. When she first called in, she had been having problems with a system that she had with another provider.  When she dialed the providers number to get the problem fixed, the phone number had been disconnected. She went online and found, that her provider was no longer in business. Since her system was no longer working, she called us in, we took out the old non-working system and replaced it with a new system. Three months later, she receives a call from another company stating that they were trying to collect on a bill for her security system. This “new” company stated that they took over the old company and she was three months behind on her payment to them. My question to them was:  Why was this the first call she received from them, and I don’t mean for collections? We took out a non-working system three months before they ever contacted her about her bill!!!

A provider that takes the time to program these communication tests, seperate the companies that call themselves security providers from those that actually provide security. Remember, the best security system isn’t just the devices!

Choosing an Alarm Monitoring Service in Evansville IN

res_famSo you are thinking of installing a security system in your home. Perhaps something in the news has brought you to this decision. Maybe a neighbor just had a break in, or even worse, it was your home that was burglarized. You want something that is cost effective, high quality and built to fit your needs. Finding a good alarm monitoring service is an essential part of a great security system. Here are some points to ponder:

Why get a monitored system?

The other day, my daughter and I were walking through our usually quiet neighborhood, when we heard the shrill sound of a siren going off. We didn’t know where the siren was coming from or why it was sounding, so like most people when they hear an alarm, we shrugged it off. If this was a home alarm, it went off for a good 5 minutes. We never saw a police presence in the area. Even if we had called 911, I know that my call goes to the city dispatch and must be transferred to the sheriff’s department. Then add the time it will take for a police officer to find the location due to our vague directions and the end result will be that the criminals will be long gone before officers arrive.

A monitored system can increase police response time in several ways. First, when an alarm sounds, the monitoring station, called a central station, will immediately make a direct call to the responding department of law enforcement and dispatch police. No need to wait for the neighbor to hear your siren, come outside to investigate, run back in the house, dial 911 and wait to be transferred to the correct dispatcher. A good security provider will have trained operators, not just a dispatch center, who will remain calm and know what information is necessary to help prepare law enforcement to respond to your alarm. And let’s face it, during a burglary every minute counts!

But what if the unthinkable happens and you are home when someone attempts to enter your residence? Adding a simple device to your system, called a panic button can help. How? By pressing a panic button, your alarm becomes a verified alarm! A verified alarm tells police that someone has seen or heard criminal activity in progress and to respond quickly. Just recently a newly installed customer had someone kicking in their front door at 1:30 am. The culprit wasn’t in the house yet, so the alarm was not activated. However, the resident pressed the button and the police arrived before the intruder was able to enter the home. Add audio feed and when you press your panic button, operators hear what is happening. They can then relay important information to law enforcement to help apprehend criminals quickly.

Fire and carbon monoxide monitoring

Let me start by saying ALL HOMES SHOULD HAVE SMOKE ALARMS AND CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS. According to the National Fire Protection Association, smoke inhalation is the leading cause of death in house fires. Carbon Monoxide poisoning kills on average 170 people per year from non automotive products including furnaces, ranges, and water heaters. A security system can monitor your home for fire and carbon monoxide detection. A smoldering fire in a home, may not wake occupants or be visible to the neighbors. Carbon Monoxide is colorless and odorless and will kill before the occupants are aware of it’s presence. But a monitored system will detect unsafe levels, and signal operators to dispatch the fire department. If you are unconscious or unable to use to the phone, help is on the way.

Whatever has brought you to the decision to look into a security system, we only ask one thing…take the time to GET A FREE ASSESSMENT before you decide on your system and a provider. Don’t trust the person on the telephone to make the assumption as to what you need in YOUR home. A security system will not only be protecting your valuables but the things you value..your peace of mind and the safety of your family. We feel you and your family are worth the time it takes to visit and build your security system correctly!

Alarm monitoring service helps customer prevent major damages

Tuesday – August 27th 7:20pm – Operators received an alarm at a fire1business location that the power to the security system was down. The owners were called and advised our operator that they were out of town, but sent someone to check on it. Follow up with the customer revealed that a fire in the bathroom, possibly caused by a short in the wiring to the water heater, caused the power failure to the system. The water heater burst putting out the fire causing smoke damage to the location. Customer is will be adding fire coverage to this part of the building. Customer was able to turn off water to prevent further damage.

A good alarm monitoring service is more than just watching for a burglar alarm. It’s operators, reviewing your system 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to ensure there are no problems. It’s peace of mind, knowing that these trained people are there, even when you are not. Do you have questions regarding functionality of a security system on your property? Contact us for a free assessment.

Foresight is less expensive then hindsight.