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If the Power Goes Out, Will My Security System Work?

Power outages are alarmingly common. One sunny and calm morning in late October, NES reported that nearly 400 customers were affected by power outages. Last summer, more than 6000 customers found themselves in the dark when a squirrel weaseled its way into a Hendersonville transformer. Whether your power outage is due to suicidal squirrels, increasingly violent storm systems, or aging infrastructures, it’s a smart practice to understand how your security system will adapt and to be prepared for potential power outages.

How Does My Alarm System Work in a Power Outage?

The type of home security system you have installed determines what happens in the event of a power loss. If you’re considering a new home alarm system, ask your alarm company about emergency backup batteries, battery life, and alternative power sources. Then determine the kind of security system -- hardwired or wireless -- that you feel most comfortable installing. If you already have a security system, make sure that you’re familiar with its capabilities in the event of an outage.


Landline

If your system operates over traditional phone lines, it will continue to function if your power fails. As long as your phone lines are operational, then your system will continue to communicate with your monitoring center. The alarm’s backup battery will power your security system for a designated amount of time.


Cellular

As more and more households move away from traditional phone lines, homeowners find that cellular monitoring keeps them secure in the event of power failures. Like a cell phone, communication is not impacted by local power outages and communication and monitoring remains strong as long as your alarm system’s backup battery is operational.


VoIP

Many DIY security alarms rely on VoIP; however, when you lose power, your service may stop working and alerts cannot get through. Some homeowners invest in an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) to keep the connection up for a very limited period to protect them during short outages. And some VoIP services offer redundancies against outages. Check with your provider for details.


Internet

For those living in a wireless world, internet-based systems are an increasingly common home security solution. These broadband security systems are very vulnerable to security breaches and are easy for criminals to disable. If your router or service provider is down, so is  your system. Some carriers  may provide cellular backup in the event of an outage.


How to Keep Your Home and Your Family Safe During a Power Outage

If your household frequently experiences power outages, be sure to make a plan for backup coverage with your alarm service provider. It’s also wise to have a clear plan in place in the event of an emergency.


Emergency 101

Should an emergency occur, it’s best to be prepared. Be sure that your family has a designated safety shelter in case of inclement weather and that they all know how and when to access it. USA Today suggests that your shelter should be well-stocked with water (plan on one gallon of water per person per day), nonperishable foods, emergency medical supplies, flashlights, clothing, and bedding.


Safety First

Many homeowners who experience frequent power outages have invested in generators to provide electricity. Make sure that your generator is functioning properly and that your fuel source is safely secured. Never operate a generator indoors or in wet or rainy conditions. If the outage occurs during the winter, beware of using heating sources that may emit carbon monoxide into your home like grills, portable heaters, or burners. Consider investing in a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector.


Alternative Light Sources

If you don’t have a generator to keep your power running, make sure that every member of your family is aware of strategically placed flashlights, long-burning candles, and battery-operated lanterns. Light is a great deterrent to keep criminals at bay.


Stay Off the Grid

While it’s tempting to put your faith entirely in technology, and home security systems are a wise investment, it’s still good practice to install sturdy door and window locks, use interior chain locks, and to build a well-maintained perimeter around your property. 


To learn more about your home security system options, contact NCA Alarms.