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Saturday, 26 September 2009

Sound the Alarum

Yesterday, the kind folks who look after the electricity supply phoned. There was to be an interruption in service – what we used to call a power cut – but it was an urgent event, a need to replace some equipment. Well, it was the middle of the day, the time of best daylight, and at least those whose contact numbers were on record got to find out beforehand.

So it was a good time to get out of the house and do something marginally more useful. I made sure that everything that might reasonably be shut down and switched off was actioned, and as I left the house the supply went off. Being outside the house, how would I know? Ah well. The same reason I knew, still being outside the house, that the service had been restored.

It was the multiple brayings of several household alarm systems, defaulting to sound when their power supply is interrupted, as this might be the act of intruders. The cheaper ones then go berserk once more when the mains comes back. Some neighbours took notice of the racket, but not so much as to make any investigation. And, unless these alarms are tied in to the local Police service, there’s little point in having them, other than the grief they cause the rest of us.

If you’re out of town, any discreet thief will be in, out and away before even your neighbours realise: best make sure you lock up and keep the windows shut. After yesterday’s double dose of alarum sounding, the number of appearances by the local Police was precisely zero.

They don’t know it’s sounding – they don’t know to turn up.

1 comment:

Allegoricus said...

It's possibly worth pointing out that the chain of notification isn't as direct as you may think. These days alarms communicate with commercial control centres, who then - provided no fault is indicated - notify the police.
It has been cynically suggested that the police will then allow a suitable period of time to elapse before responding. This ensures that they don't find themselves obstructing the escape of anyone desperate to avoid capture (a Health & Safety consideration, as this is when injuries are most likely to be incurred).