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Insight: How does Keyholding and Alarm Response Work?

There are two main elements to keyholding and alarm response. The first is the ‘keyholding’ element. This is physically holding keys to enable someone access and to give the ability to respond to an event if it occurs. This is where Risk Management Security Services comes in and we can hold your keys in a secure manner, only available to authorised personnel, to enable us to attend without disturbance no matter what time of the day it is.

The second element is the alarm response aspect. This is concerned with attending a location, on your behalf, when we receive an alarm signal/call. The purpose being that we can then deal with any situations, problems and events as they occur.

Who is involved?

When you choose to have a monitored alarm, there are several different companies involved who all do very different jobs. This can often be a confusing matter if not explained properly. Therefore, in its simplest form the usual involved parties are:

  1. The System Company – they will install and maintain the alarm
  2. The Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) – this is the company who receive alarm activations
  3. The Keyholder/Security Company – this is the company who respond to the alarm


Further information on the specific roles and responsibilities of these various groups can be found below to help give you a better understanding of who does what and when.

1. The System Company 

This company will employ qualified engineers and will be the ones to install your intruder or fire alarm system. They are also the people who will maintain the system, usually conducting an annual or bi-annual service, conducting routine maintenance and fixing alarm problems.

Once the system is installed the installation company will appoint their approved Alarm Receiving Centre to monitor the alarm and act should it activate.  It is often misunderstood that the alarm company are the monitoring station as well, when in most cases the monitoring is placed with a third party.  Some large system companies do have their own monitoring stations.

Common monitoring stations that provide services for installation companies are:

  • Southern Monitoring 
  • EMCS
  • AIM Monitoring
  • Custodian

2. The Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) 

Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC’s) are also often referred to as just the ‘Monitoring Station’ or sometimes the ‘Central Station’.

The role of the ARC is simply to accept the alarm and escalate it in accordance with their instructions. The specific instructions will vary from system to system depending on what has been agreed with your systems company but usually this is a call the Keyholder/Security Company and/or the Emergency Services.  

Alarm monitoring is quick and detailed communication between your system and the ARC and advises them of an ‘event’ on the system i.e. an alarm, a fault or a failure of some description. 

3. The Keyholder/Security Company (Risk Management Security Services) 

Upon receipt of an activation the ARC will telephone the Keyholder providing the property details and what type of activation has occurred, this could be either a single/unconfirmed or a sequential/confirmed activation.

A single activation is where only one detector device has been triggered.  The Police will not attend single activations.

A sequential activation is where multiple detectors have been triggered within 30 minutes of each other and the Police will attend these alarms if you have paid for such a response through your system installer.

Upon receipt of a single or sequential alarm activation being received Risk Management Security will dispatch a fully trained and SIA Licensed Security Officer to attend the premises and follow specific instructions that have been agreed and documented with our customer. 

The Process

Keyholding-and-Alarm-Response-Process | Risk Management Security
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