Security Glossary of Terms
There's nothing worse when the people who are
quoting you for a security system use industry "slang" and acronyms when
describing the equipment and technology. To assist you with understanding some
of the terminology used in the security industry, we have provided you with a
glossary of terms to help you. We hope you find this information useful.
Glossary of home alarm terms
An alarm system which is monitored by a base station.
A rechargeable battery which provides power to the alarm system when there is a
break in the mains power supply.
Central Monitoring Station
(base station, central control room)
A monitoring facility which is established for the purpose of monitoring
building alarms. These stations are graded according to their level of security.
To reduce the likelihood of them being cut or tampered with, wires are usually
concealed in wall cavities or metal conduits.
An internal modem which is a communication device that dials the base station to
indicate a breach in security.
Used to build up circuit resistance. The control box monitors the circuit
resistance and sounds the siren if the resistance value changes.
A timer is used to delay the activation of the siren to allow disarming of the
system after entering the home. Usually 15 to 30 seconds.
A timer is used to delay the activation of the siren to allow exiting of the
home. Usually around 40 seconds.
When entry via the main entry/exit point in the home is sensed, the entry delay
feature is activated. If the house is entered via another point, the siren will
Internal motion sensor
A device which detects movement, sends a signal to the alarm control box which
then sounds the siren. Usually a PIR sensor (Passive Infra Red).
Similar to a siren except mounted on the inside of the building and usually
lower in sound level output.
An input pad where alarm access numbers are keyed. This switches the alarm
system on or off. A system may have more than one key pad.
A system which uses electronics to analyse information, i.e. movement, to
determine an output, such as sounding the siren. This type of technology can be
used in PIR sensors to improve their reliability in detecting different types of
movement, i.e. identifying pets versus people, and thus reducing the risk of
A type of motion sensor which uses microwaves to sense movement in a room.
An appliance used to allow electronic devices to communicate with each other via
An alarm system or alarm component which is supervised by a base station.
sensor (Passive Infra Red)
A type of motion detector which uses invisible infra red light to detect
movement in a room.
A transformer that converts 240 VAC mains power to 16 VDC to run the security
A device which uses a microprocessor to analyse inputs to the alarm system, i.e.
movement, to determine an output, such as sounding the siren. Like logic circuit
control, this technology can be used in PIR sensors to reduce the risk of false
alarms by improving their reliability in detecting different types of movement.
A magnetically operated switch usually mounted on doors, but may be mounted on
windows, designed to detect their movement. Upon movement detection sends a
signal to the control box which then sounds the siren.
A siren that has its own back-up battery power supply which will provide power
to sound the siren if the connection is cut or tampered with.
When the alarm is armed and has not be activated
A noisemaking device which sounds when the alarm system detects a breach of
A device designed to alarm when there is a fire.
A high intensity light which strobes when the alarm is activated.
system An alarm system which supervises all input devices, i.e. reed switches,
PIRs, tamper switches and key pad/s. This type of supervision allows the alarm
to monitor itself which offers a higher form of system integrity.
A switch is used to sense unauthorised tampering of equipment. The switch is
mounted on the inside of control panels and siren housings. Note: Some internal
movement sensors may have tamper switches included.
An enclosed alarm component which is monitored by a tamper switch such as a
control box or siren housing.