Perimeter/Interior Protection

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DIY Alarm Systems / DIY Security Systems

Tennessee Alarm Store


Perimeter and Interior Protection

What does Perimeter Protection mean?

The perimeter of your property actually extends all the way to your property lines, but for our purposes, the perimeter is defined just a bit differently. We will primarily be concerned with the exterior shell of your home (the walls, any doors or windows, the basement or crawl space, and the roof), and that area immediately surrounding this "exterior shell." Later we will show you how to protect any out buildings you may have like a detached garage, workshop or barn.

Again, when we talk about perimeter protection, we are talking about the walls, all doors, windows, walls, the crawlspace / basement and the roof of your home. This is the area where we would like to stop the thieves well before they make entry into your home. Now imagine a wire surrounding your entire house. Along the route of this wire, you will be installing various devices such as magnetic contacts to secure as many possible entry points as possible. This is a rather simplified but accurate description of a burglar alarm. Other components are also hooked up to this wire including sirens, lights and communication devices, but this configuration of wire and components is your first line of defense. Yet again, the idea is to stop potential entry and harm to your loved ones at this point.

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What does interior protection mean?

Since no DIY home alarm system / DIY home security system can guarantee it will stop all thieves from gaining entry into your residence 100% of the time, a secondary form of defense is needed. This secondary defense takes the form of devices engineered to detect intruders once entry is made. This usually involves devices such as infrared motion detectors, interior doors with magnetic contacts, and photoelectric beams. If it all sounds a little "James Bond" right now, don't worry. Remember, you aren't alone; you have us on your side.

These interior devices must have the ability to be bypassed when you are at home and wish to utilize the perimeter protection. When these interior detection devices are bypassed, you should not be left without any means of interior protection. There are panic buttons that can be hidden in strategic areas throughout the residence. These usually operate on a 24 hour basis whether or not the alarm is set. It is likely that you have seen something similar to these panic buttons in the movies. Think of these not unlike the buttons you have seen installed under the counter of a bank. When robbed, the teller pushes the button and an alarm (either silent or audible) sounds.

Another interior form of protection has more to do with personal safety rather than detecting an intruder. These include heat/smoke detectors and carbon monoxide/gas detectors. These also operate on a 24 hour basis whether or not the alarm is set. You can also have closed circuit television, which will, with the proper equipment, record all activity to help the police capture the intruders. Think of it as YOUR 24-7 eye witness, which essentially it is. Imagine having a photo or video of the the if or thieves to give to police. Since very often thieves have a history of crime, they may be recognized immediately, and you are improving your chances of their capture and prosecution by using closed circuit television. You are also improving your chances of recovering your belongings.

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Zones, Zone Definitions, Zone Expanders

Let' now consider zones, zone definitions and zone expanders and how they apply to DIY home alarm systems. Zones are methods of dividing a DIY alarm system into logical parts based upon their location and function within the DIY alarm system.

The Entry and Exit Delay Zone

For example, the door(s) through which you will exit and/or enter the premises must be on an "Entry/Exit Delay Zone." There is no hard and fast rule for the number of doors that can be assigned to the entry/exit zone, however, generally they do not exceed three. These could be the front door, the back door and/or the garage door. Just keep in mind the more doors you have on a delay zone means the more points a thief has to gain entry within a programmed amount of time and try to disrupt the DIY home alarm system before the sirens sound. In older alarm systems we did not need delay zones because there was an actual key station located outside the premises where you would arm and disarm the system. The only problem with that setup was the potential thief could tamper with the system without fear of being detected as long as he did not set off the alarm. You can still purchase that type of system, however, I do not recommend it except in very specific instances.

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The Instant Zone

Next we have the "Instant Zone". These are set to have an instantaneous response to any zone being violated. They immediately sound the sirens, strobe lights and the proper notifications are made. This type of zone would be utilized for the remainder of the outside perimeter of your residence. This same type of zone would probably be utilized for the interior of the residence when you were "away". As mentioned earlier, the interior instant zone would be bypassed when you are at home and wanted to set the alarm.

Some of the other type of zones are the 24-hour fire/smoke and carbon dioxide/gas zones. A 24-hour panic circuit and tamper zones is also offered. You can also program whether the zones need to be violated twice in an attempt to prevent false alarms. In addition to these you can program whether or not they will utilize end of line resistors. There are many more different types of zones that can be programmed through the keypad.

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Zone Expanders and what they do

Many DIY home alarm control panels come with 6 or more hardwired zones on board, but if you want to break down your zones into smaller areas, you will need "Zone Expanders". These are additional printed circuit boards that you can wire into your control panel. They enable you to expand the number of zones on the control panel from 6 to 64 or more. These additional zones allow you to break down your perimeter into small sections such as living room, family room, master bedroom, garage etc. Some people like to put one detection device per zone. This allows you to know at a glance which window is open rather than windows in master bedroom. I think this is overkill, but it is up to you. Just remember for each 8 zones you must purchase another zone expander.

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How do I layout my Zones and how many do I need

This is a decision that is entirely up to you, but at a minimum you need an entry/exit zone, an instantaneous zone for the remainder of your perimeter protection and an instantaneous zone for your interior protection. I would highly recommend that you add zones room by room. That would stop you from having to check all the windows and doors throughout the house just to find the window that is open before the alarm system allows you to set the DIY home alarm system. Also, I would put the garage on its own zone as well as storage sheds or other outbuildings. Of course, the fire/smoke alarms have to go on their own zone, any panic buttons you install in the house and any other features you might install would yet require more zones. Remember not all zones are required to be hardwired. With the right equipment, (a wireless receiver), most DIY home alarm panels allow for the use of either type of system.

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What is a Partition and how do they work

Partitions are a way to split your alarm system in two or more independently controlled areas and allow arming or disarming each area separately. Many small businesses find this useful to utilize a system with this option.  For example, if a manufacturing facility has an office area that is open during business hours, and a warehouse and shop area that is open 24 hours, they can protect the office area while allowing the employees to move freely in the warehouse or shop area. You can also assign partitions to a single home. Suppose you had a detached garage or shop area and it was desirable to have it armed the majority of the time regardless of whether or not the house was armed. Also you might have a safe or a gun cabinet within the home and it is desirable to have it always armed. Still another example is a homeowner who rents a portion of his/her home to tenants. They can arm or disarm their portion of the house separately from the other portion. I recommend having a keypad installed for each partition. This is beneficial both for knowing system status and ease of use. Some systems will allow access to multiple partitions from a single keypad, which is handy if you have outbuildings and need to arm or disarm them from within the house.

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