How do I program a duress code into a VISTA-20P?

Most alarm systems feature a duress code which is a great way to further protect your family. While most people think of alarm systems as a way to stop an intruder from breaking in while no one is home, there is also a risk that someone breaks in while you are home.

A duress code is used for instances where someone would break-in and force you to disarm the system so that the police will not be sent out to the home. When you disarm the system with a duress code, the system will turn off as if you used your normal master code or user code. However, on the central station side, a duress looks very different than a normal disarm. The operators know that when a duress is received, there is a serious emergency happening and they send out the police right away without even calling the house to verify. If the verification calls were made, the criminal would be tipped off to what is happening and you would be left in a compromising situation. Therefore, make sure to only disarm with a duress code when it is a real emergency so that you don't have issues with false alarm fines from your police department.

Now that you know what a duress code is used for, you will want to program one for your system. On a VISTA-20P system, you simply have to create a new user code. We recommend using a code that you will remember in a high stress situation. Popular choices are 2580 as it is the middle row of keys on the alarm keypad. You can also use 1397 as that is the four corners of the keypad. Whichever code you choose, just make sure that everyone that has access to the system knows that if this code is used, the police will be on their way.

Once you have a code in mind, go to your keypad and with the system disarmed, enter your master code followed by the eight key followed by the two digit user number you want to assign the code to followed by the four digit code you want to use as duress. The keypad should beep to confirm it was entered successfully. When choosing the two digit user number, keep in mind that user 01 is the installer code, user 02 is the master code and any sub user codes are 03 - 49. Therefore, if you don't have any sub user codes, and you only have an installer code and master code programmed, you would add a duress to user code slot 03 or any other slot up to 49.

Once you have added the code, you need to assign that code as a duress. To complete that process, enter your master code followed by the 8 key followed by the two digit user number assigned to the duress followed by the # key, the 1 key and then the 3 key. This sequence will turn the user code into a duress code and you will then be able to signal a duress situation by doing a normal disarm using that code.

We suggest you put your system on test with your central station and then verify the duress signal is received after you have programmed it so that you know it will work if you ever need it.

We hope you never have to use your duress code but now you can sleep more soundly knowing your family is as protected as they can be.

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Thank you for the comment as we did fail to mention that user codes 33-49 will be setup as partition 2 users by default when creating those user code slots. However, just so you know, those user code slots can be be-programmed to be partition 1 users instead. If you wanted to change a user's partition, you have to enter the master code + 8 + 2 digit user number of the user you want to change + #3 + 0 + whatever partition numbers you want the code to work for (1, 2, and/or 3) + #. If you wanted to assign the user to all three partitions, you'd enter 1, 2 and 3 after the 0 and before the # to confirm the entry.
Just a little info about which User Code to use. The directions are all correct except for one thing. The Vista 20P and I would assume the Vista 21IP as well only have 32 Users for Partition 1. User Codes 33-49 are Partition 2 Users Only. If you used a User Code above 32 The Panel would send a signal for the Duress to your Central Monitoring Station, but the panel will not disarm the system. So Mr. Bad Guy will not think you turned off your alarm.
Unfortunately, they do not. However, with self monitoring, you'd only get a text or an email anyways if they did so you can easily get around the limitation by adding a sub user code that you name Duress on TC2. If your family knows to use that code in a duress situation, then all TC2 notification recipients will receive an alert when that user code is used labeled as Duress which should work just the same for you.
Will Duress codes on a Vista 21IP - report to Total connect 2.0 as a Duress code? Curious because I slef monitor and would still like to use the duress code option

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