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DIY Security and the Limits of 9-1-1 Dispatch
Home Security, Personal Safety

DIY Security and the Limits of 9-1-1 Dispatch


On August 25, 2010, Vince Hunter was visiting Connecticut when he got an alert from his home security camera showing some men burglarizing his home in Dallas, Texas.

Hunter called his wife back in Dallas and told her to call the security company, which then notified the police. By the time the patrol car arrived, the men had vanished.

You might think that the first instinct of watching your home being robbed or catching fire would be to call 9-1-1. But if you’re in a situation like Hunter, and staying several hundred miles outside your home area, calling 9-1-1 would only slow you down.

That’s because 9-1-1 calls are routed to the dispatcher based on the cell tower nearest the location you’re calling from.

Normally, that can be a good thing. But in a long-distance emergency, it can be futile at best, and disastrous at worst.

The Gap in DIY Security Systems

Hunter’s experience happened in 2010, when do-it-yourself cameras and smartphone apps were just emerging. Today DIY security systems account for nearly 34% of the home security market, in large part because the associated cost savings.

Beyond the equipment costs, any monthly fees are generally just a few dollars for services like cellular backup and video archiving.

In contrast, most homeowners who use a professionally monitored security services pay between $20 and $40 a month, and are often locked into long-term contracts. The upside of that cost is knowing that if there’s a security event on their property, the monitoring service will dispatch police or fire immediately.

But what happens when you receive a security alert on your phone? There is no monitoring service to handle emergency dispatch, meaning you’re on your own to make the call. And as Hunter’s experience demonstrates, if you’re nowhere near home when that alert arrives, you might be stuck trying to figure out who to call to alert local responders.

Imagine being across the country (or even half-a-world away) and watching someone rob your home­–or seeing your house go up in flames, knowing there’s nothing you can do because calling 9-1-1 won’t help.

Rescu Fills the DIY Security Gap

Closing that gap in the DIY security process was one of the key reasons we developed Rescu. As security experts for over 48 years, we believe that everyone should have the fastest possible access to emergency responders whenever–and wherever–the need arises.

With the Rescu mobile app you can:

  • Dispatch police, fire or EMTs with two taps
  • Silently send for police in the event you’re dealing with a home intruder
  • Send responders to any of four preset addresses from anywhere in the world
  • Immediately notify selected contacts of the emergency so they can respond appropriately

Companies like ADT and Bay Alarm rely on a business model designed to lock you into long-term monthly costs, with a typical contract lasting 24 months or more.

You may have already made the wise choice to go with a more cost-effective, self-monitored security system, saving money and any long-term commitment. But that doesn’t have to mean you can’t benefit from the direct dispatch capabilities those companies have.

Rescu turns your DIY security system into a robust emergency response system on par with professionally monitored services.

Compared with monitored services, Rescu lets you:

  • Connect directly with Alarm Relay’s 24/7 UL-Certified Dispatch Center
  • Avoid local false alarm fees in the event your alarm goes off and you can’t be reached or forget your password
  • Respond to dispatcher questions via in-app messaging–or speak–with the dispatcher after services have been requested to add information, check progress, or cancel the call, if necessary

And of course, Rescu is designed to give you that complete level of control at a fraction of the cost of the typical professionally monitored security system. And with no commitment.

So now imagine, 10 years later, if Vince Hunter saw those burglars robbing his home 1,500 miles away, but he had Rescu. In less than 10 seconds, he could send for police and notify his wife back home. All without having to worry about the limits of 9-1-1 and the fact that he’s in Connecticut while his emergency is in Texas.

Between his self-monitored security cameras and alarms and the Rescu mobile app he’d be carrying around a complete home security system with the same capabilities–and even faster response–than most any professionally monitored systems. We think that’s smart security.

Find out more about the life-saving Rescu app today, available for IOS and Android.

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