When you’re filling out paperwork for your job, your medical office, or your security provider, you’re typically asked to provide a contact person. We all know these people are the ones who should be called in the case of an emergency or when someone is trying to get a hold of you and can’t seem to reach you. It’s usually pretty easy to pinpoint the designated contact to put down—spouse, sibling, parent—but when it comes to filling out your contact list for your home security provider, you should give it a little more thought.
Determining Who Makes the Cut
Your home security system is intended to give you a feeling of, well... security! That being said, make your contact person someone that you can trust. If you’re married or co-occupying a space, it’ll make the most sense to put both your name and your partner or roommate’s name down. In the event of a security breach, assign one main contact for the security provider to call first. The other occupant should be contacted second. Of course, you should also consider building a list of trusted friends and family that can be contacted in the event that you and/or your roommate or partner cannot.
After the initial level of contacts—people who live in the house—consider those who live nearby. It wouldn’t make much sense to list a sibling who lives in the next state over as your emergency contact. They won’t be in range to make much of a difference should a serious security breach occur. If you have a close friend or neighbor that you can trust, they might be the best option for the next-of-line contact on your list.
Having a security breach can mean something as simple as a pet overreacting to a passing car or heavy winds setting off a sensor. When a security sensor goes off and the provider looks at the list, having someone within close range to your house to take a quick look could really make the difference in the event that something serious does happen. They can confirm whether it was a break-in or a faulty sensor.
Ask Before Giving Out Their Information
Before you put someone down on your contact list, you should talk to them about it first. Sure, if it’s somebody close to you, they’ll likely give the go-ahead; but having a discussion about it is courteous. Tell them why you’re asking for their information as a contact, and talk them through what you’d want them to do if and when your home security provider ever contacts them. If it’s a trusted neighbor, you might ask that they take a quick look around the house to gauge whether there is, in fact, a break-in occurring or if it looks like a sensor was triggered by accident.
Another reason to ask beforehand is that some folks wish to remain more private about their information and aren’t comfortable or willing to give that out to a third party. In addition, maybe a neighbor or friend might feel uncomfortable being assigned a contact person, which is totally understandable. It may give them a sense of added pressure.
Home security is a whole different ballgame than a doctor’s office. When you’re drafting your contact list, be sure to think carefully about the best people to add to the list. Talk with them beforehand so that they know, understand, and agree to be added to the list. They need to be people you depend on.