How to Select the Right Fire and Smoke Detectors for Your Business

Every business is different and requires different protection. It depends on what you have inside your business, how big the building is, and where you are located.

It would help to understand the two most popular types of smoke detectors:

• Ionization Smoke Detectors – These detectors sense the fast-burning, big flame fires. They are more popular and less expensive but not always the most effective. They use a small amount of Americium-241 (a radioactive material) for its radiation, to create a small current on two electrically charged plates. This ionizes the air inside so when smoke enters, it interrupts the current. This will reduce the ionization and cause the alarm to go off. Dirt or dust can interrupt the current too, causing a false alarm. The ability to detect extremely small particles is why these detectors are great for fast moving fires.

• Photoelectric Smoke Detectors – these detectors are better for sensing slow-burning, smoky, smoldering fires. They use optical technology to convert light into an electrical current. There is a dark chamber where light passes through. When the smoke enters the chamber, the particles cause the light to scatter disturbing the current. The photoelectric sensor then increases its voltage to set off the alarm. Therefore, they are good for fires that create more smoke than flame. One downside is they can have false alarms from dirt or dust too.
There are also detectors that offer both technologies in one system. Additionally, there are also air sampling detectors, automatic sprinklers that go off when there is heat, and pull stations that are human activated.

There is more to a fire than just the smoke, there are also flame detectors:

• Ultraviolet (UV) detectors measure the radiation level and will set off the alarm when the radiation rises. UV radiation occurs between 10 and 400 nanometers on the electromagnetic spectrum. It can detect a fire the second it starts. Sunlight and lightening are also UV sources and can set the UV detector off on a false alarm. To decrease the chances of a false alarm, they have a 2-3 second delay.
• Infrared (IR) detectors sense the heat radiation from open flames. The infrared spectrum is between 700 – 1,000,000 nanometers. They work differently with a tiny thermal imaging camera that can expose the infrared radiation to visible light. They do not work as fast as UV detectors but can still warn you in 3-5 seconds.

Another type of detector to consider are fire gas detectors which sense specific gases. Understanding your fire risk is the best way to decide which protection you need. There are multiple factors that determine how many detectors you need. That is where the regulations from the fire department keep you up to code and safe.

Along with the fire alarms you should have an action plan. Everyone needs to know what to do in an event of a fire, like where the exits are and a safe meeting place to take accountability.
Don’t be overwhelmed with this big decision. Let the professionals at CEI Alarm guide you, call us at 775.673.9500

It is unusual to be home 24 hours a day to watch over your house. Here are some ways to secure what belongs to you while you’re away:

  1. Friendly Neighbor: A simple way to have an extra set of eyes on your home, is to be a friendly neighbor. Getting to know and trust the people around you could help later down the road. If you trust them to get your mail and clean up the yard, it will look like you’re still home. It helps to know who lives where, and that they know who lives in your house. This can come in handy when you or your neighbors see strangers lurking around.
  2. Changes: When you first move in, change all the locks because you do not know who has the keys to your home. This includes garage codes and keeping the automated garage opener out of sight.
  3. Entertainment: Leave a radio or TV on before you go to give the appearance someone is still there. It can also sound like people talking inside, deterring a burglar from approaching your home.
  4. Imagination: Put yourself in a burglar’s shoes and see all the possible entry points, to learn the best way of securing them.
  5. Extra Keys: Keep them in a safe place but never outside because that is the first-place burglars will search.
  6. Doors: Locking doors sounds easy but not all burglaries are from forced entry. Thieves often pick up sliding glass doors off their tracks. Using metal or wood, jimmy plates to fill in the gap at the top of sliding glass doors.
  7. Windows: All windows should also have locks, including the ones above the first floor. Clear glass windowpanes look nice on a front door and help you see who is there. It isn’t safe that other people can see directly into your house. Instead of going through the hassle and replacing them, you can buy window film. There are many inexpensive decorative options that you can place on the inside of windows so they can’t be easily peeled off.
  8. Tools: Lock up any ladders or tools that can help a burglar gain access inside.
  9. Lights: Having timers on lamps or connecting your lights to your mobile device can mimic at home behavior. If lights are turning on and off at common times, it would appear someone is home even if there’s no car parked outside. Installing motion censored lights around the outside of your home, can deter people away when they are suddenly turned on.
  10. Alarm Systems: The easiest way to keep your property secure, is to let someone else do all the work. With the current technology available, you can secure your home from anywhere. If you install cameras, you can check the live footage on your mobile device and receive notifications when there’s activity. Along with your alarm system you can put up yard signs and window stickers from the alarm company to scare off thieves.


If you have any questions or are interested in a home security system, please give CEI Alarm a call at 775.673.9500.

As technology evolves and improves, the result is better access to products and services. But with that progress, comes the need to update older tools. Verizon and AT&T are phasing out the 3G data network. This change affects every customer using a 3G cell device on the Verizon and AT&T networks, including CEI Alarm’s customers and the customers of all additional alarm companies. This change will be effective December 31, 2020.

Many of CEI Alarm’s customers use the 3G cellular network to send alarm signals to the central station and use the phone app. The communication service of those systems will be terminated on 12/31/2020, unless upgraded to the new 4GLTE cellular network. This module is used to communicate alarm signals to the central station. The entire module must be replaced to ensure all alarm signals are communicated to the central station. Your alarm system itself will not be affected. The local hardware, programing, and audible notification will all remain the same.

We are offering two options to assist with the replacement of the cellular modules.

Option 1: Customers may purchase the new 4GLTE cell and have it installed; price is dependent on the current system.

Option 2: Customers may sign up for CEI Alarm’s Lifetime Warranty Program. In addition to receiving the benefits included with the Lifetime Warranty Program, customers will receive a replacement cell module at no charge. CEI Alarm will also upgrade customer’s systems to the newest version when the 4G network is phased out in about 5 years.


Please call or email CEI Alarm to discuss your options and to find out if your cell needs to be upgraded. Cells installed within the last year should not be affected by this change, but please feel free to verify with our team. CEI Alarm looks forward to working with you in through this transition.

Converting your home into a smart one can seem intimidating but the right security provider will install peace of mind. Home automation can be a brilliant addition to any household with the ease of controlling functions from a smart device. Household features that can be controlled remotely include your door locks, garage door, thermostat, control, lighting, home entertainment system, video surveillance and alarm system. If that sounds too excessive for you, here’s a breakdown of 10 basic wireless alarm system necessities instead:

  1. Professionals: First step is the installation process. You don’t need to be tech savvy to hire professionals to do all the work! They have the knowledge and tools to make sure it is done correctly. The experts will be able to convert your needs into actual services and features.
  2. Control Panel: This is the most important component because it is the central station, the main hub. It connects all the pieces of your home security puzzle and keeps them linked together.
  3. Keypad: To arm and disarm your system, you use the keypad and enter your code. Besides a physical keypad, you can access your security system from anywhere on your mobile device. If you forgot to arm it before you leave, you can do it on the app. With this virtual keypad you can also watch live footage from your cameras. The app is easy to use and will send you push notifications.
  4. Motion Sensor: This will tell you when there is movement outside your home. Whether it is a friend coming over, the mailman or a stranger, you will receive a notification to help you quickly decide what to do next.
  5. Camera: When the motion detector is set off, it would be nice to see why. Is your family arriving home? Are you receiving a package? Is it a wild animal in search of food? It’s as easy as opening an app on your phone to check the live footage. If you see someone breaking in, you can act instantly to alert the police.
  6. Siren: When the alarm is set off, a siren will make a blaring noise to wake up even the heaviest sleeper. The ringing will scare off burglars and warn your neighbors.
  7. Detectors: Your home likely has fire detectors, but these are crucial for your safety. If they are not the combo detectors that also identify carbon monoxide, you will need additional detectors. These can be connected to your security system, but it is not a necessity.
  8. Signs: The alarm system you purchase will come with window decals and a yard sign. The window decals are great for when someone is trying to look inside your home, they will see the security logo. That is if they miss your new yard sign saying what company installed your system!
  9. Door Contacts: These tell your security system if a door is open or not. While your system is armed, and the door is opened, you will receive a notification. This can trigger the siren, rushing the burglar out. These contacts can also be used on windows.
  10. Power Transformer: As the primary power source for an alarm system, power transformers are vital to their function. It simply plugs into a wall outlet and if the electricity goes out the backup battery will take over.

We understand the transitioning to a smart home can seem like a daunting task, but we are here to help! Please give CEI Alarm a call at 775.673.9500.

Vandalism is a common crime that is not always prepared for, like a robbery or cyber-attack. It’s more than spray painting or breaking glass, it’s a violation of your sense of security as a property owner. Along with a security system, there are other preventive measures you can take to protect you and your property.

Use Nature to Your Advantage

You can strategically place greenery such as shrubs, trees or prickly bushes. Nature’s barbed wire gives it a beautiful look while making it harder to access. Choosing greenery with thorns, rough bark, or sharp leaves can make it painful to climb or crawl through. The more uncomfortable it looks the better. Put yourself in a vandal’s shoes and recognize some target zones like decks and balconies. Surrounding these areas and windows with hazardous plants can protect your building while also adding privacy.

Update the Building’s Materials

An easy access point into buildings is smashing a window. A fix for that would be break-resistant glass or coating your windows with security film. Impact glass is much stronger than what is typically used, making it harder to penetrate.

Don’t make it simple for them, you can install anti-climb barriers or even anti-climb paints. These thick, non-drying paints are essentially an anti-theft petroleum jelly. They are oil based, making any surface you choose extremely slippery. It will form a thin skin after being painted on, that will look dry and prevent leaves from sticking to it. The second it is touched, it will return to liquid form, making the vandal an obvious sticky mess.

It is required to have anti-climb paint signs near the area, which can also deter vandals. To prevent graffiti there is a paint that covers the area with a protective surface. This surface prevents spray paint from adhering and you can simply wipe off any unwanted art.

Trash Attracts Trash

Don’t leave your property messy, because people won’t care about adding to it or hanging around the area. When everything is clean and organized it shows a sense of order. Vandals can use your own items against you, so store your ladders and wheelbarrows, lock all outdoor storage areas. These can all be targets.

Lights, Camera, Action

Criminals prefer to work in the dark so if your place is well lit, they will be discouraged. The lighting can also help your security cameras pick up better images. Daylight can help, as in don’t build a fortress around your property. You may feel safer behind a giant wall blocking the outside world, but that makes you an easy target. Visibility is your friend; you want to be seen by neighbors or the public. Don’t give the vandal anywhere to hide.

Never Vacant

Nothing is more appealing than an empty building. Even when you go on vacation or close early you want it to look like someone is there. Put timers on lights or connect your lighting to your mobile device. Turning lights on and off makes it seem like activity is happening inside while you are away.

While taking these preventive measures, always remain vigilant.

If you are interested in a security system or have any questions, give us a call at 775.673.9500.


Homes and businesses are expensive assets worth protecting. A surveillance system will do all the work for you. With features like the ability to check the cameras remotely, you can always have peace of mind while you are away.

These features can be used to protect your loved ones. For example, you can check in on your pets or see if the kids got home safe from school. You can also make sure your house or pet sitters are responsible while lounging by the pool on vacation. With the streaming service feature, you can see what is happening live from anywhere. Smartphones and tablets can receive notifications every time security cameras detect activity.

Cameras also deter people from wrongdoings. Burglars who see a camera outside may think twice about breaking into your building. Package thieves see a camera and may not want to take the risk. Kids who know about the cameras outside wouldn’t sneak out.

There are also internal threats that could be prevented by a surveillance system. Employees who are aware they are being watched are less likely to steal. On a more positive note, you can see which employees are doing an excellent job, or what part of the workflow needs improvement.

In the event someone does attempt to break in or steal your property, you will have video surveillance evidence for the police. It is important to remember that evidence goes to the police for investigation first.

Social media networks make it easy to share footage of suspicious activity from your camera, but you should restrain. Leaking the footage before the police are done investigating could interfere by people assuming, retaliation, and lawsuits. If you post images or videos of someone online saying they committed a crime when they didn’t, you could be sued for defamation.

Along with helping police investigations, video evidence could assist when filing an insurance claim. After burglaries, owners are required to file an insurance claim and your evidence validates what happened to your home or business.

A large group of people that can benefit from home surveillance, are the retirees who want to stay in the comfort of their own home. Instead of moving to a retirement home, many want to continue living in their own communities. They want to live on their own but could use an extra set of eyes. That’s where loved ones and caregivers come in, they can check the cameras at any time. If the retiree has fallen and can’t get up, they have those extra eyes watching to call for help. If a retiree can’t remember if they took their medication, they could simply rewind the footage and see. It is a great way to stay connected but remain independent.

Be careful letting your guard down, it’s easy to think your neighborhood is immune to crime until it strikes. Have you ever heard the phrase better to safe than sorry? Being safe with a surveillance system is a smart investment. Whether you want to protect your home or business, we can help. If you are interested in a security system or have any questions, give us a call at 775.673.9500.


If you are one of the record number of Americans that will be traveling during the holiday season (roughly 107.3 million in 2017) that are certain precautions you should take prior to traveling, especially when it comes to securing your home.

Some quick facts about burglaries:

Now, we don’t want to frighten you, but we want to make sure your family, belongings and home are safe this holiday season. There are a range of precautions you can take to secure your home including:

If you would like to take more safety precautions for your home consider installing additional security features or systems like security monitoring, home automation, fire protection and even video surveillance.

If you do have an existing security system, think about notifying your security company that you will be traveling. Also, remember to update or check that your security company has the correct contact information in the event of an alarm notification. Did you know that about 60% of convicted burglars stated the presence of a security system influenced their decision to target another home? Make sure yard signs and window stickers are visible from every approach to your home (not just the front entrance!)

The holidays should be filled with joy and cheer, not missing items, insurance companies and the police. If you are planning on traveling this holiday season and want to make sure your home is safe, think about putting a checklist of the security measures you’d like to take prior to leaving. These measures can include purchasing a security system, updating your current system, a list of items like windows and doors to check prior to leaving and even a contact list.

If you are interested in a security system or just have a question about how to better protect your home, give us a call at 775.673.9500.

An access control system is an electronic system which works in a network. This network consists of readers which connect to a central point. Together, this controls who can enter a building, only allowing those with the authorized ID code to enter. An access card works by sending an ID number via its internal chip to the antenna coil of the receiver. When held next to the electronic reader required for giving access, the encoded number is transmitted to the reader by radiofrequency waves. A key card works by storing data on itself, which is transmitted to the reader. If the card has an authorized ID number, the access control system will allow the user to enter the building by unlocking the door of the building.

When implementing an access control system, there are many factors to consider. Security should be your top concern: hardware must be tamper-proof, software should be updated routinely to protect against potential vulnerabilities, and credentials should not be unencrypted, easily copied, or shared. Also, look for a system that enables modern security practices like multifactor authentication to ensure that administrative control stays in the right hands. User experience is another important factor. Your access control system should be easy to configure for administrators, as well as convenient for employees and tenants to use.

In tandem with user experience, reliability is crucial. Look for a system with a proven track record of server uptime and a consistent unlocking experience. Vendors are constantly improving traditional access methods through biometrics, PIN codes and, more recently, smartphone credentials. However, many of these solutions are either unreliable or create too much friction. Best in class reliability calls for multiple forms of communication to authenticate an action. When Bluetooth, WiFi, and Cellular Data can be used simultaneously, the signal to unlock an entry is more reliable and the user can seamlessly enter a given space.

First, a credential is authenticated. After a user presents a credential (mobile credential or card/key fob) at a reader, that credential’s data is sent to the Access Control Unit (ACU), where the ACU determines if this credential is known and recognized by the system.

Next, the ACU determines if the user to which this valid credential belongs is authorized for access – does the user have access to this particular entry? Are they using the right kind of credential and trigger type for this entry? Are they attempting to unlock the entry within any applicable schedules? In order to be authorized, a user must:

• Have access to the entry they’re trying to unlock
• Use one of the predefined allowed credential types (for example, mobile credential)
• Use one of the predefined allowed trigger types (for example, onsite 2FA)
• Make the unlock request within any schedules defined on the entry or assigned to the user or their group
• Ensure other restrictions, such as a system lock down, are not currently triggered

Once authenticated and authorized, the ACU then sends a command to the door locking hardware to unlock the entry. In the case of electromagnetic locks, power is temporarily interrupted when unlocked (also known as fail-safe) whereas with door strikes power is temporarily applied to unlock the door (also known as fail secure).

Managing an access control system includes adding or removing entries, users, credentials, schedules, and alerts using administrative software that syncs automatically with Internet-connected ACUs. The newer cloud-based access control systems integrate with directory services like Google G Suite and Azure Active Directory, streamlining the management process. They also provide the most flexibility for service enhancements versus legacy systems which are client-server based.

Administrators can audit access control systems by generating reports for access logs, including both user activity and entry activity. This is useful for general system reviews; ensuring that the system is working as expected and that there are no issues with accessing entries. Reports are also helpful for meeting compliance standards, such as HIPAA, that require a certain level of physical access control. Additional audit capabilities are provided by access control systems that integrate with Visitor Management Systems, Video Management Systems (VMS), and other security type platforms.

Every business, big or small, has important and valuable property that needs to be protected, such as files, products, technology, employee or customer private information and other assets.

One of the most important things you need to consider for your business is its security. There are a lot of different business security systems that can fit your needs. They do not just keep you safe from thieves but may also protect you against fire and other accidents. Even small businesses need security services and solutions. But the question is: which security system is the best one?

Here are a few different kinds of security systems that can help protect your business, without spending too much.

Video Surveillance

Video surveillance protects the office or the entire premises of your business; not just inside, but also the area outside. You might want to consider getting this type of security system if you want to see what is happening to your office or business 24/7.

A variety of systems can now let you connect through your mobile devices, so you can see what is going on even when you’re out of the office, or even out of town. This type of security system allows you to check on your customers and employees. It can also help you have proof of activity in case you may need to file insurance claims for theft or damages.

Intrusion Detection Alarms

This alarm protects everything inside your store or the building. It also protects your business from theft, vandalism, or intruders. This system protects your business not just from burglars and even from employee theft; it also protects your employees while they are on duty. Detection alarms include different gadgets that can detect entry, such as sensors and motion detectors.

Additionally, consider a glass break detector alarm. These are sound-activated alarms that will alert you when a glass shatters after a burglar has tried to break in.

As soon as the intruder breaks your door or window, the frequency picked up by the device’s audio microphone from the shattering sound is processed first to ensure that the glass has indeed been broken. When the detector confirms the breaking of glass, it sends a signal to your alarm system’s control panel, triggering an alarm.

If the glass break detector detects the sound of breaking glass, a motion sensor detects movements. The motion sensor activates the alarm the moment a burglar walks into a room. When the intruder trips the sensor, it sends a signal to the control panel of your alarm system to alert you of the security threat.

Computer Security System

Computer security systems protect your business files, documents, customer information, and software that help you run your business. Hackers not only target large companies but small businesses, as well. You need to protect your computer system from viruses, spyware, and other cyber threats. Also, most of the businesses right now use a computer system, with most of the work usually completed through it. Imagine how much money you stand to lose when there is a loss of productivity and interruption in the business.

Invest in a good firewall and antivirus software that can stop viruses and hackers at the gateway into the network. You can also keep any information or documents safe by keeping it virtually via secure online services.

Electronic Access Control Systems

Access control protects certain areas or rooms in your building that should have limited access, or areas that should not be accessed by everyone. With access control systems you protect your establishment from a possible security breach. Instead of having a traditional lock and key system, which can pose a great risk since the physical key can be duplicated, you will need a keycard or use biometrics to enter areas that are protected by access control. Everything is digitized with this type of security system. You can control who is allowed to enter and when. You can even block access after business hours.

President Dave Sinclair was featured in Reviews.com where he discussed how to spot hidden and added home security systems costs. In the article, Sinclair shares the price for basic home security systems along with typical installation and monitoring costs.

“Users can expect to see extra fees when using different monitoring services, such as a cell unit for monitoring, mobile applications, such as using a phone as a keypad, home automation devices or cameras,” said Sinclair.

It’s important to review all of the extra services available to be aware of any additional fees. Some common fees and additional costs include:

Dave Sinclair has an extensive background in electronics and brings over 27 years as a successful business owner and President of CEI Alarm. Over the past 27 years, CEI Alarm has acquired 15 different alarm companies and has seen tremendous organic growth.

Check out the article What Is the True Cost of a Home Security System? 



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