What is Alarm Visual Verification?

Alarm Visual Verification

Alarm Visual Verification combines alarm and CCTV images from inside your premises so Farsight’s Alarm Receiving Centre ARC can confirm genuine incidents that require a priority response from emergency services, reduce false alarm call-outs and helps to protect your URN status.

Alarm systems can be an effective security measure to protect premises, assets and people from intruder, fire or other emergency – whether at a home or business.  There are many different types of alarm system available, all designed essentially to raise the alarm when something untoward happens at your premises.

However, it is what happens next, once the alarm is raised, that can directly affect the outcome and this is where choosing the right alarm system AND alarm monitoring partner can give you real peace of mind in ensuring that response to an incident at your premises is accurate, timely and efficient.

These are exciting times in alarm monitoring innovation and technologies have evolved to further bolster the efficiencies of traditional alarm monitoring services with ‘alarm visual verification’ or ‘video verification’ capabilities now being made available. This aids the reduction of false alarm call outs that have plagued the alarm industry and emergency services alike for many years.

False alarms cause unnecessary waste to resources, time and expense – they can also divert resources away from real incidents where they may be needed urgently.

As a leading remote security monitoring station in the UK, visual verification in itself using real-time monitored CCTV camera footage to protect our clients’ perimeters and external spaces is nothing new.

However, to be able to utilise the latest technologies developed by our partners to allow us to ‘visually verify alarm signals’ from inside a premises by viewing internal camera footage as an extension to our fire & intruder alarm monitoring service is an exciting opportunity to consider for a complete multi-layered approach to security and crime prevention.

This makes optimised security available to a broader range of businesses and homes to bolster their alarm system efficiencies with an alarm monitoring visual verification package to suit most site requirements and budgets. This can also compliment external CCTV systems and monitoring services to give added peace of mind that a premises, assets and people are protected inside and out…


alarm visual verification by Farsight


Farsight’s Alarm Visual Verification monitoring service range brings with it the ability to significantly reduce false alarm call outs, make more informed decisions on next steps once an alarm is triggered and deliver faster, more accurate first responder support when actually needed which in turn protects URN status – the benefits of which we outline below…

out of hours call handlingWant to speak to Farsight about Alarm Visual Monitoring? Call 0845 371 0101 or email us 

What are the main methods of verifying alarms?

Other adopted methods for verifying ‘blind’ alarms are:

Audio verification –  using strategically placed microphones for operators to listen in to help discern the cause of an alarm activation

Sequential alarm verification – which identifies if multiple alarms have been triggered at the same premises which could .

Alarm visual verification – promises to be a real ‘game changer’ for the alarm industry – because after all, SEEING IS BELIEVING! 

How does Alarm Visual Verification work?

The following simple video shows how Farsight’s Alarm Visual Monitoring works…

When someone breaches the perimeter of your building an alarm is triggered. If your alarm system is not connected to an alarm monitoring station, you might only find out when it is too late to do anything about it!

Alarm Visual Verification by Farsight, a leading SSAIB accredited Category II Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), uses a combination of linked cameras and intruder alarms to visually verify what is happening at a site. Visual Verification reduces false alarm call-outs and can help protect police Unique Reference Number (URN) status.

Farsight can text you a video of the incidents so you can be part of the decision-making process in deciding what action comes next. For example, to alert emergency services or take no further action. Additional equipment and service package may be required for this feature, which can also include a unique setting to protect your privacy.

Farsight’s alarm visual verification can harness the right technology for your requirements, to deliver snapshots of an incident that has triggered an alarm to visually verify it or even a live video stream.

Farsight can recommend the right alarm monitoring package for you to improve existing alarm systems by adding a device to link your alarm signalling with internal cameras or even for new alarm system that incorporates visual verification if you are starting from scratch. We work with a network of technology partners and accredited security installers across the the UK.

Optimising fire & intruder alarms with Farsight’s Visual Verification monitoring gets the results everyone wants – except unauthorised intruders that is!

out of hours call handlingWant to speak to Farsight about Alarm Visual Monitoring? Call 0845 371 0101 or email us 

How can Visual Verification confirm the cause of an alarm signal?

The ability to visually confirm an alarm is important in supporting the credibility of an alarm signal when escalating an incident that requires a priority response from emergency services. The definition of a ‘visually confirmed’ alarm signal is as follows:

Visually Confirmed

“Status in which confirmation is confirmed by a human being at a remote location (normally an ARC) and in which the human being, after having interpreted a visual image transmitted from the supervised premises, has made a decision that there is a high probability that a genuine intrusion, or an attempted intrusion, has occurred.

To understand exactly how alarm visual verification can positively support alarm signalling to get the right level of response from emergency services, we look at how alarm response is prioritised by both police and fire & rescue services and the procedures put in place to minimise false alarm call outs.

How do the police respond to alarms?

Monitored burglar alarm


Police categorise two types of alarm systems, Type A and B alarms, with response requirements and procedures differing between these:

  • Type B alarms (Non-Police Response)

The police attendance procedure for Type B security system is as follows:

There is no guarantee of police response to Type B systems. The processing time for Type B systems will be significantly slower than that for Type A systems. The police response, if provided, will depend on the quality of the evidence received.

Typically, these are audible only alarms or hybrid alarms that do not meet the required compliance standards to achieve Type A police response and require evidence from a person at the scene that a criminal offence is in progress to indicate that a police response is required, not through a third party or monitoring centre.

The addition of electronic means or non- compliant systems to provide confirmation will not promote such systems to Type A to achieve police response. There a many such systems on the market that imply an immediate police response, but this is not the case.

  • Type A alarms (Police Response Alarms)

The police have adopted the use of confirmed alarm technology as part of the effort to reduce false calls. For Type A security systems there are 2 levels of police response.

LEVEL 1 – Immediate – Determined by the nature of demand, priorities and available resources. 

LEVEL 3 – Withdrawn No police attendance, keyholder response only.

Type A Remote Signalling Systems should be monitored by a compliant Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) such as Farsight – a leading SSAIB accredited BS 5979 (Cat II) ARC.

Unique reference numbers (URNs) can be issued by police forces for systems monitored by recognised centres, giving them direct access to police control rooms and the highest level of police response which is ‘Level 1 response.’ Activations received even from a compliant ARC/RVRC, without a current police URN, will be treated as a Type B system.

Therefore maintaining your URN status is essential to receiving a priority police response – and this is where alarm visual verification can make a positive impact to reducing false alarms.

N.B. To qualify for Type A operation police response (as above), there are many requirements and procedures that security equipment, installers and monitoring centres must adhere to which are outlined by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) – this full document can be viewed here.

How do false alarms affect URN status?

It is important to understand that Level 1 response status can be negatively affected by false alarms as well as other factors including failure to maintain accurate keyholder records.

Intruder alarm systems issued with a URN will receive LEVEL 1 response UNTIL 3 false calls have been received in a rolling 12 month period. At this point the alarm will revert to ‘Level 3 – Withdrawn’ with no police attendance, keyholder response only. 

Monitored panic button alarms or Hold Up Alarms (HUAs) issued with a URN also receive Level 1 response, however, following 2 false alarms in a 12 month period Level 3 will apply and police response will be withdrawn.

Maintaining approved security systems, updating keyholder records and ensuring ensuring relevant staff are trained in using your alarm systems to avoid accidental alarm activations are just some measures that can be taken to reduce false alarms and ultimately help to protect your all important URN status.

Alarm visual verification too helps in being able to more accurately identify genuine incidents that are of concern.

How do the Fire Brigade respond to alarms?

Monitored fire alarm


A fire in your business premises must be detected quickly and a warning given, allowing people to escape safely.  An appropriate Fire Detection and Alarm System (FD&A) will warn everyone in the building at the earliest opportunity so that they can exit the building and to also alert the Fire Brigade to allow early intervention.

Fire can be detected by people and manual fire detection, however an automatic fire detection and alarm system is normally considered necessary in most business premises. FD&A systems installed in commercial premises should be designed, installed, tested and maintained in accordance with BS 5839-1 recommendations (See the ‘Fire Industry Association’s Best Practice Guide to Fire Safety’ for more information).

There is a regional difference to how fire emergency services respond to fire alarms and it is advised to check your local fire brigade on their requirements and procedures. Many have revised their response procedures to reduce false alarms and for good reason – in the year ending September 2020 fire and rescue services across England alone recorded a whopping 226,045 false alarm calls. 

In order to reduce the amount of false alarms responded to, fire authorities are adopting an approach modelled on the police policy outlined above. To obtain a response from a monitored fire alarm system in the future, it may be necessary to have a URN issued by the fire service and this may only be available to certificated providers.

Across the 52 Fire & Rescue services in the UK, response to alarm calls differs with many regions now challenging all Automatic Fire Alarms (AFAs) with a robust set of questions to establish if a fire has actually been seen, but some have the policy for non-attendance for unconfirmed AFAs.

Remote monitoring of automatic fire alarms by an accredited Alarm Receiving Centre such as Farsight gives the peace of mind that should fire alarm be activated, especially out of hours, that there is a trained professional at hand to take appropriate action in an efficient and timely manner.

Furthermore some regional fire and recue services require a URN to be in place too.  Alarm Visual Verification can be an effective line of defence enabling Alarm Monitoring Centre monitoring operators to visually confirm the cause of a fire alarm being activated, enabling the reduction of false alarm call outs and can help protects URNs where these are required by the local fire and rescue service.

What causes fire alarm systems to trigger false alarms?

Unwanted Alarm Signals (UFAS) are recorded and range from malicious activation of fire alarms, apparatus defects, lack of maintenance or testing through to good intention causes including smoke, condensation and even power surges.

Want to know how Alarm Visual Verification can help you optimise your security?

Farsight is a leading remote security monitoring station that gives peace of mind to thousands of businesses and homes across the UK.  We partner with global leaders in security system innovation and technologies to ensure our clients’ security is fully optimised to protect premises, assets and people.

If you have questions about how Alarm Visual Verification can further strengthen the efficiencies of your alarm systems, please get in contact with our experienced team by calling 0845 371 0101 or drop us a line below: