Most of the time an audible alarm is a good enough way of alerting people of a serious problem that threatens security or safety. If the alarm is loud and relatively infrequent (frequent alarms lead to the ‘boy who cried wolf’ syndrome) it is effective at getting people to react quickly, but what about other environments where audible alarms are not good enough? The solution to that problem may lie in adding a security strobe light to your alarm system. Whether an audible alarm is not an effective alert by itself or can be greatly improved, the addition of strobe lights is another way to alert people in the event of an emergency.
Strobe lights are used in many everyday applications where visibility is important. One of the most common applications is the emergency lighting on police, fire and EMT vehicles. Aviation relies heavily on them for landing lights and planes use them as navigation lights. Some traffic signals use them in areas where conventional traffic signals by themselves are not as effective. For example, at intersections of non-interstate highways and county roads, a strobe placed inside the red light of a traffic signal controlling highway traffic further alerts motorists on ‘auto pilot’ mode that the light is red and they need to stop. Strobes are also relatively inexpensive and easy to install. They often function as another device in an alarm circuit and can be added just as easily as a printer or workstation can be added to a LAN.
The increased popularity of LED lights in recent years is one of the best things that has happened to security strobe lights. These devices produce less heat and provide greater redundancy than a filament light. If one LED in these lights goes out, the good LEDs still provide light. Many strobe lights can operate in multiple modes like continuous illumination, rotating beacon or regular flashing. Look for lights that are rated for a high number of flashes or operating hours.
Although security strobe lights are very effective as an alert mechanism, many may still question why they would want to install them in their security system. In some emergencies like fires and chemical leaks, visibility can be limited. Strobe lights are a great supplement to audible alarms in these circumstances. Even if limited visibility is not an issue, strobes can help you locate something in an emergency, like a fire extinguisher or defibrillator kit or an exit. They are about the only way that the hearing impaired people can be aware of a problem and are helpful to emergency personnel when they arrive at the scene.
Although audible alarm systems are usually effective there are some areas where they are less effective or not effective at all by themselves. Security strobe lights are a great addition to almost any alarm system because they are a great supplement to audible alarms and work where in situations where audible alarms cannot. Their inexpensive price tag, ease of installation, low current draw and redundancy make it hard to exclude them from any advanced security system.
Guest writer Erik Johnson is a 20 year veteran of the home security industry. He writes to educate home owners on the steps they can take to secure their assets and better protect their family members. A low cost device like a security strobe light can heavily increase the current security measures of a home.