Security Tip

Increase deterrance by placing small warning decalls in windows. A small yard sign is even better

These can be seen by anyone who might be scoping out the neighborhood.






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The Do-It-Yourself Home Security System Plan

Setting Up A Zoned Defense


If you've followed the advice elsewhere on this site, you've already taken care of the easy and obvious first steps of your new security system plan.

You've installed better locks on your windows and doors, improved lighting around your entrances, and eliminated potential hiding places.

Now you are ready for the next step in developing your security strategy: Designing your do-it-yourself security system plan.

Whether you intend to buy and install the security system hardware yourself, or hire a security company to do it all for you, you'll need to take the time to draw up your own home security plan.

No one wants to spend more than necessary on security equipment. So it pays to do some home protection planning before even beginning your security hardware evaluation and purchase.

Why Bother With A Home Security System Plan ?

No security system for the home is a one-size-fits-all solution. That's why almost every professional security company does an analysis of a client's home before any proposal is made.

Doing this kind of hardware planning will save you both time and money. Before you can select the best security system, you need to know your safety risks, your budget, and what needs protection.

This allows you to tailor a plan to fit your exact needs. You get a safer, more effective system, and lessen the chance of wasting time and money on alarms and equipment that do not work or aren't needed.

To design a good safety system, you need to draw up a floor plan of your house. It should show each room, hallway, and all doors, windows, and entrances. Make a separate drawing for each floor.

Not only will this help you determine how many sensors you need and where to put them, but it also can help you locate smoke detectors and surveillance cameras for maximum protection. It will also help you decide where to keep the control panel and any key-fob panic alarms.

Your Security Strategy: A Zoned Defense

Once you have sketched out the layout of your house, you need to think in terms of protection zones.

When shopping for security systems, you'll notice that they are designed to cover a range of zones, defined as the number of sensors that can be handled by the control unit. Setting up your security strategy by zones helps you get the coverage you need, when, and where you need it.

Although a zone can be a specific area, room, or group of rooms, a zone could also include a specific type of sensor throughout your home, all sensors in any one room, a single sensor, or any combination of those. And any one component or area can be included in multiple zones.

The concept of zones makes the security planning stage critical. You have to first decide how many zones you'll need now and in the future, or you may eventually end up with inadequate protection.

Your biggest zone-planning tool is that floor plan. By thinking about how and when you use each area of your house, you should have a pretty good idea about the number of zones that are best for your system.

Here is a sample of a five-zone home security system plan.

Zone A includes all accessible exterior windows and doors.
Zone B includes only the door connecting the recreation room and porch, allowing people to go in and out of the porch while other exterior doors are armed.
Zone C includes only the motion detectors in the living and dining rooms, which are off while people are at home.
Zone D includes sliding door and window sensors in the back bedrooms, and a motion detector in the hallway.
Zone E is a key-chain panic remote that activates and deactivates everything. Panic alarms should always be in their own separate zone.

So how does it work ? You might design your security system plan to have only the exterior doors activated (Zone A) while the interior motion detectors are deactivated (Zone B & C). That provides intruder protection, but lets you move around inside while you're home at night.

Once the kids are in bed, you want the recreation room and porch activated (Zone B). And when you go to bed, you want sensors in your bedrooms and hallway deactivated (Zone D), with everything else in your alarm system on high alert.

And every security system plan needs to include a panic alarm

Designing your own home security plan may seem a bit daunting at first. But the home security planning should be part of a family discussion at least once, and let it be a project that takes input from everyone. You'll find it's not difficult at all to create a home security strategy that everyone understands.


For more information on planning and installing your home security system:

Know the '3 Keys of Effectiveness' for home security systems

Simple and free things you can do before buying a home alarm

How to create circles of security in your home