What is a Central Monitoring Station?

A central monitoring station is a 24/7 center with highly trained operators who immediately respond to any incoming alarm events. The top-priority at a central monitoring station is to make sure that the people they monitor are safe and to send out any emergency dispatch if needed.

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There are typically two main types of monitoring plans offered from alarm monitoring companies. These are central station monitoring plans and self plans. We usually recommend central station monitoring plans, as they represent the only way for a user to receive automatic dispatch in the event of a burglary, fire or medical emergency. For the purpose of this guide, we will only be focusing on central station monitored plans. Just remember though that not every monitored alarm system is necessarily connected with a central station.

When an alarm occurs on a central station monitored security system, the control panel will immediately send out an alert to the station. If the panel is using a cellular or IP connection, the signal will pass through the servers of an interactive service platform. Each signal transition is lightning fast, and the central station is usually contacted in a matter of seconds. If the panel is using an older POTS (plain old telephone service) connection, it will dial directly to the central station. However, this takes longer than other methods, as phone line transmissions are relatively slow. We do not recommend using a POTS connection with any modern alarm system.

Once a central station operator receives an alert from the user's system they will immediately get to action. Depending on their monitoring plan, they may try and contact the end user before just requesting dispatch from the local authorities. This is usually done to prevent false alarms. The operator will try to contact the end user on any phone numbers they have made available. If they fail to reach anyone, they will contact the local authorities immediately.

If the operator does manage to get a hold of the end user, they will ask them if everything is alright. The end user can then stop the automatic dispatch by providing a verbal false alarm passcode that was set up beforehand. If everything is not alright, the end user can request dispatch immediately. The end user can also provide a secret duress code. If the operator hears this phrase at any time or in any context, they will immediately hangup the phone and send emergency dispatch.

For Alarm Grid customers, their systems are connected with Criticom Monitoring Services. Criticom has been providing top-quality alarm monitoring services since 1978. The company operates three monitoring stations across the United States in Florida, California and New Jersey. In the unlikely event that one central station goes down, any incoming signals are automatically routed to another monitoring center. This redundancy ensures that customers are always protected in every situation.

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