Why is using a licensed company important to me?

Every State and County has its own set of requirements around the licensing of companies. These requirements set a bar for the level of professionalism and compliance for companies. They include requirements such as background checks for employees and owners, to training, to insurance and bonding requirements.

Security and fire alarm systems are unique in that if something is not done correctly you may not know years down the road when something does not work when you need it. If you every have an insurance claim or other issue related to the work of your vendor, and they are not licensed, insurance may not cover the losses.

Unlicensed companies often cut other corners such as taxes, workers comp insurance, or liability insurance all of which can come back to you if something goes wrong.

Review the requirements in your location. For more information on security alarm business licensing requirements in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia visit Urban Alarms Local Alarm Program Page.


How do alarm system glass break detectors work?

Glass break detectors look for the sound of glass breaking. They are most effective in areas where larger panes of glass can easily be broken to gain entry to a home. They are effective on glass that is at least one square foot in size and no more than one-quarter of an inch thick. Most are rated to work on glass about 15’ to 20’ from the sensor, so a single sensor can potentially cover an entire room. However, glass break detectors can be susceptible to false alarms. We often see mail slots causing false alarms on glass break detectors as the thud (of mail hitting the floor) with the clank (of the mail slot closing) resembles the acoustic pattern the glass break detector is looking for.

All equipment and monitoring are Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Listed, meaning that they have passed a rigorous audit by an independent third-party.

Why is using a licensed security alarm company important?

There are many alarm companies doing business in and around the Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia area that are not licensed. This may reflect on the quality of the company. Do you want to work with a company that blatantly cuts these corners? But more significantly, if there is an issue and you try to make a claim against the company, their insurance company may not cover the company if they are operating outside of their licensed business area.

What is the benefit of equipment manufactured in the United States?

Urban Alarm is an authorized dealer of Digital Monitoring Products (DMP). DMP is a manufacturer of security alarm systems and devices and is unique in their US manufacturing of these devices.

Using equipment manufactured in the USA is beneficial for a number of reasons. In addition to the highest quality we would expect from a US manufacturer, the turn-around time on new versions of technology and direct access to the engineers designing the systems is extremely valuable. We have seen a few instances where the US supply change allows the manufacturer to respond much more quickly to the market.

Can you monitor our existing smoke detectors?

There are generally two types of smoke detectors which may be installed in your home: 120v sensors generally installed by an electrician; and “low voltage” smoke detectors that are generally connected to, and monitored by, a security alarm system. More details about the differences in these systems are available on our blog.

If your smoke sensors are currently not monitored by an alarm system, they generally can not be monitored; however there are some exceptions.

What is better; hardwired or wireless alarm systems?

Modern wireless systems are very effective and generally considered as reliable as hardwired security alarm devices. However, there are differences from security alarm manufacturer to manufacturer. These can affect the reliability of wireless technology or of certain types of alarm sensors. Of course, wireless alarm systems require batteries in the devices. Batteries should last between three and five years depending on the usage.