smart security solutions for everyday living

What Do Security Companies Do During Summer Storms?

by Mary Jezioro

Jun 20, 2014 11:01:00 AM


After a long and dreadful winter for what seemed to be the majority of the country, we are no stranger to extreme weather phenomena.  Whether it be dense snowfall, strong winds, or heavy rain, we have experienced it all.   Being that summer is just starting, it is likely that we will experience some thunderstorms that will bring about power outages.

Unfortunately, many burglars see power outages as an opportunity to commit their crimes undetected and under the cover of darkness. Let’s take a look at what happens to your home security system when your power goes out:

Your Alarm System During a Power Outage

Modern security systems are installed with a 12-volt backup battery to provide backup power to your alarm panel for up to twenty-four hours (depending on the size of your system and the condition of your battery). During a power outage, your system will transfer to battery power and continue to operate at the same arming level as before. The lights on your keypad may also reduce to a flicker to conserve power. When your power is restored, your system automatically goes back onto household power and begins charging the battery back to its normal levels. So, this explains how your alarm system remains operational during a power outage, but happens to your alarm system monitoring service?


How Does a Power Outage Affect Your Home’s Alarm Monitoring?

In the past, most residential alarm systems relied on traditional telephone lines for communication between the control box and the monitoring station. These traditional land lines operated on a system that was independent of your home’s electrical service, hence they were invulnerable to power outages. However, since the advent of fiber optic and VoIP telephone systems (which are digital and carry no electrical current to power your telephone), home land lines have become more vulnerable than ever. Even with a backup battery, today’s VoIP and fiber optic systems only provide up to approximately eight hours of standby service. So, what can be done to maintain the vital communication between your control box and your monitoring company?

Cellular Radio Communications

Thankfully, the home security industry has stepped up to the plate with an affordable way to ensure that your home is looked after even during a power outage: the cellular backup unit. This device sends secure wireless transmissions between your alarm system and your monitoring station—serving as a direct link for your alarm signal. Just as with your alarm system’s control box, cellular backup units operate on your household power supply until you experience a power outage, at which time the backup unit switches over to battery power. So, what happens when the battery runs out? Not to worry; once battery levels fall into the danger zone, a signal is sent to your monitoring station that assistance is needed to remedy the problem.

Wireless communication systems are ideal for both primary and backup central station communication, especially nowadays when so many people are doing away with their land lines entirely in favor of cell phones and other personal mobile devices. Cellular backup units can also be a valuable preventative measure for those using traditional copper phone lines (in the event that these lines are somehow severed due to falling branches or tampering).

Other Benefits of Cellular Radio Communications

One of the biggest benefits of having a cellular unit is that it allows you to stay connected to your home’s security features through the use of new SmartPhone and mobile device apps. With these new apps you can do things like arm, disarm, and silence your alarm; receive text alerts of security and safety-related events occurring in your home, view real-time CCTV camera footage of your property, and you can even use these apps to control your house lights and garage door.

About SHIELD Security Systems: SHIELD Security Systems of Buffalo, a franchise of The SHIELD Security Systems Franchise Development Group based in Buffalo, NY provides electronic security systems, monitoring and video surveillance for residential and commercial applications. For nearly 40 years, SHIELD Security Systems has served the WNY market offering alarm monitoring services for homes and businesses without the FREE sales gimmicks commonly advertised by other alarm companies. SHIELD has earned a solid reputation as a dependable alarm provider delivering consistent, honest value to their clients. For more information on home or business security services, visit

We Want to Hear From You

If you were able to access/control your home security system via your SmartPhone, what actions would you want to perform? Call us locally at 681-6677 or toll free at 1-(800)-4-SHIELD, or email


Photo Credit: Luis Argerich

Topics: Security Marketplace

blog author

Mary Jezioro

Mary Jezioro is the Vice President of SHIELD Security Systems. As the Marketing and Sales lead at SHIELD, she is focused on strategic planning and company growth. Mary is involved with the UB School of Management as former CELAA's Vice Chair, SCORE, WPO (Women President's Organization) and is also coached youth soccer. She and her husband, Ken, are proud parents of five children.