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Call Us: + 353 (01) 7076011

isrg logo vds certification logo essa certification logo a2p certification logo

Call Us: + 353 (01) 7076011

  • About Us
  • Contact Us
  • Irish Insurance Rates (ISRG)
  • About European Certification
  • Services For Insurers
  • Safe Lock Videos
  • Testimonials
  • Blog

Alarm Integration And Monitoring For Safes

We Provide Cost Effective, Certified Monitoring And Intruder Detection Solutions For Jewellery, Cash, Data And Precious Metals

An increasing number of people now choose to link their home or business safe directly with an intruder alarm system, with the use of seismic sensors and to a lesser extent duress signalling being the most popular options. Even if you do not intend to do this straight away, or your insurance company has not requested this integration, it is always a good idea to make sure the safe and locking device you choose is certified and prepared for intruder alarm, seismic sensor and duress to future proof your investment. Most of our certified safes come with certified internal alarm cable tracks and seismic sensor mounting preparation as standard. A built in alarm cable track can also be quite useful for running watch winder and interior lighting cables.

Our expertise has been relied on by:

N.A.T.O. Europe, The U.S. Air Force (Europe), The National Treasury Management Agency (Ireland), The Department Of Communications (NCSC Cyber Security) (Ireland), The Revenue Commissioners, Electricity Supply Board (Cyber Security) (Ireland), The Danish Defence Forces (Afghanistan), PayPal (Worldwide), Grant Thornton, The Insurance Institute of Ireland, The Royal College Of Surgeons, BFC Bank, Interxion Data Centres, The Private Security Authority, Isle of Man Gold Bullion, Brown Thomas, Bvlgari, Boodles, Druids Glen, The Shelbourne Hotel, and many others ....

Our seminars on safes, strongrooms and HNW secure storage have been part of Continuing Professional Development for underwriters and insurers having been awarded CPD points by the Insurance Institute of Ireland and the Chartered Insurance Institute (UK).

Insurance Institute of Ireland Insurance Institute of London nato cage code


Correct Installation Of Alarm Monitoring Cabling In Safes

Choose A Safe Or Strongroom Prepared For Alarm

Before we look at popular alarm integration options, we need to take a quick look at a common issue that can compromise security whatever type of alarm integration is being considered, and that is external wiring, an unacceptable security risk when monitoring a certified safe or strongroom. Most quality European certified safes and strongrooms come prepared for alarm integration wiring with mounting points for seismic sensors and factory made alarm cable channels or routes, as well as door loop mounts on the inside of the safe or strongroom, all accessible via factory installed ports. Purchasing a safe or strongroom without this kind of basic preparation should not be entertained as it is very difficult, expensive and often impractical to integrate alarm monitoring with secure storage later on. Unfortunately, it is also demonstrably evident that the majority of alarm installers and “safe technicians” do not know how to do this work correctly, as shown in the photo below:

Wiring Should Be Invisible

A critically important aspect of the addition any type of alarm integration is that all wiring and alarm monitoring devices are kept inside the safe protected from tampering and unauthorised viewWiring on the outside of a safe is both an unnecessary and unacceptable security risk. It should not be accepted for the following reasons:

  • External wiring advertises the presence of alarm monitoring and the possibility of duress signalling to anyone who sees the safe.
  • Provides the opportunity to circumvent or tamper with the alarm devices or wiring.
  • If it is necessary to connect to a safe lock many technicians will drill through the barrier material of the safe, even the safe door, severely compromising the safe’s security as well as its certification for burglary resistance.
  • The possibility of accidental damage to the equipment, particularly in a commercial setting.
  • It is not the most attractive approach particularly for a residential or luxury safe.

In the case of the safe shown below there is no need for a door loop to carry cables within the safe as this particular model has an integrated VdS certified alarm cable channel. This safe is shown with a draw cable and in the second picture fitted with alarm cable housed inside a stainless steel cable protector.

draw cable Safe Alarm Cable


Popular Alarm Monitoring Options

Seismic Sensors

In the context of a safe, a seismic sensor is a small high security alarm signalling device that monitors vibration and temperature, specifically configured to detect prising attacks, drill attacks, cutting discs as well as hydraulic and thermal tools. When using seismic sensors on a safe, it is important to understand that these devices should be configured by an alarm installer to always be on, even if the alarm is switched off. Seismic sensors will not be triggered by normal safe use. At Certified Safes Ireland™ we recommend the installation of two EN50131 compatible seismic sensors as An Garda Síochána (Irish Police) alarm response guidelines require two verified intruder alarm sensor activations to trigger an alarm response. Having two sensors located inside the safe should therefore ensure you get response to an attempted burglary, even if the local alarm system is switched off.

Duress (Silent Alarm)

Most certified digital locks can be monitored via an alarm system via a certified and compatible Alarm Module. With an alarm module in place if you are put under any type of duress the addition of a digit to your normal access code when opening a safe will trigger a silent panic alarm. This is a very powerful tool if you are in a position where you may be held-up at home or work.


Additional Due Diligence Issues

Why We Do Not Recommend Wireless Sensors For Safe & Strongroom Monitoring

The vast majority of alarm components installed in Ireland and the UK today are wireless and the reason for this is obvious. Although wireless components are generally more expensive than wired, installing a wireless alarm system is a lot less labour intensive with installation time for the average home taking a few hours rather than a few days. Wireless components do however have serious drawbacks that make them particularly unsuitable for safe or strongroom monitoring. The first most obvious problem is that alarm monitoring components and wiring for a safe should be kept inside a safe or strongroom to avoid tampering or circumvention but due to the nature of wireless devices the signal from a wireless component will not penetrate the body of a safe or a properly constructed strongroom. If batteries run low, the responsiveness of wireless devices can decrease as can signal strength due to a variety of environmental reasons. As hard wired systems provide the highest level of reliability, safe or strongroom monitoring should always be hard wired even if all other sensors in an intruder alarm system are wireless.

The Danger Of Uncertified Alarm Components

All components used in a monitored alarm system in Ireland are required to be compliant with the European alarm standard EN50131. This is to ensure the integrity and security of an intruder alarm installation, most specifically to ensure that alarm activations can be relied on by monitoring stations and police. It is illegal in the Republic of Ireland for an unlicensed business to install a monitored intruder alarm system, however, this has not stopped some UK businesses fitting alarm signalling devices to safes or strongrooms sometimes built into uncertified safe locks and connecting these devices to licensed alarm systems or even monitoring such devices through unlicensed monitoring centres in the UK. 

An illegal intruder alarm system not only leaves the installer and monitoring company open to prosecution, but also leaves the client of such providers open to penalties. In order to guarantee Garda Síochána (Irish Police) response to activation of an alarm, it must have a Unique Reference Number (URN) issued by the Gardaí. These numbers are only issued where the alarm system: 

  • Complies with European standard EN50131. 
  • Has been installed by a PSA licensed installer. 
  • Is monitored by a PSA licensed monitoring company.

Recent Example Of An Uncertified Alarm And Locking Device Being Sold

Click on the image below to view letter from ESSA (European Security Systems Association based in Frankfurt) regarding one such uncertified safe lock and alarm signalling device from the UK called Pro-Sync which was recommended by many insurers to their clients. Pro-Sync was withdrawn from the Irish market in 2020 when Certified Safes Ireland™ highlighted the fact it was uncertified as a safe lock (EN1300) and an alarm signalling device (EN50131).

Pro Sync Letter ESSA


Electronic Locks, Alarm Integration And Monitoring

 A Digital Lock Is The starting Point For All Electronic Integration

The starting point for EN50131 compliant alarm integration of a certified safe is of course a certified digital lock. Most certified digital safe locks from class "B" upwards come with a range of basic features which will include alarm module compatibility. Listed below are a range of features, some found as standard in a digital lock and some optional extras that can be achieved with various lock and alarm integration combinations. All options listed are certified compliant with the EN1300 safe lock standard and the EN50131 alarm standard.


Penalty Lockout (Standard Feature)

The penalty lockout feature on a certified digital lock shuts the lock down for ten minutes if four or more incorrect codes are entered in a row making manipulation and random code entry attempts virtually impossible. This is a standard feature with all certified digital safe locks which has no equivalent with any mechanical lock type.

Multi-user Codes (Standard Feature)

Most certified digital safe locks have multi-user codes which means no two people have to use the same code to access a safe. In a commercial setting this means an individual code can be removed at will by management. No need to worry that keys may have been copied etc....

Dual Codes (Standard Feature)

Most certified safe locks will allow or have a version that allows for dual code operation, which means two codes have to be entered to open the lock. Ideal in situations where dual person operation is preferred.

Duress Silent Alarm (Extra Module Required)

Many certified digital locks can be added to your alarm system via an Alarm Module. With an Alarm module in place if a hold-up occurs addition of a digit to the normal access code will trigger a silent alarm.

Time Delay Option (Standard Feature Class B,C,D)

A programmable time delay of 1 to 99 minutes is another standard option in all but the most basic electronic lock models with a time delay opening window that can be set from 1 to 15 minutes. This is a powerful anti hold-up measure.

Time Lock (Keypad Type)

Time Lock gives you all the benefits of a bank level high security time lock system with built in audit. You can control when your safe can be accessed, by whom and download access logs from the lock telling you who opened the safe, when, and how long the safe door and lock was open. Up to 30 holidays can be programmed that override the normal schedule. Automatically adjusts for daylight saving time. We can even program a time lock schedule that restricts specific people’s access.

Audit Trail (incorporated into most time locks)

A powerful feature of many digital locks is an audit trail which can be easily downloaded to a USB drive once you have the correct download code. This tells you who opened the lock, for how long, time, date and if there were any attempts to open the lock with an incorrect code. The standard audit trail is 1000 events. An audit trail can also be downloaded remotely directly from a compatible alarm system using an alarm module bolt position interface.

Seismic Sensor (Extra Module Required)

As a properly anchored safe is secured to at least 5 tons, and a certified digital safe lock cannot be manipulated open, power tool attack or a prising attack is the only option left for a professional burglar. A Seismic Sensor will detect prising, cutting, drilling and heat attacks, but is not triggered by normal everyday use of the safe. What is particularly convenient about a seismic sensor is it is tamper proof and works 24/7 even when an alarm system is switched off.

One Time Code (requires special lock type and set-up)

Easily retro fitted onto most existing safes or strongrooms, a One Time Code system (OTC) means that opening and closing is controlled by single use codes generated by a certified monitoring station after the identity of the person requiring access has been verified. The person accessing the safe or strongroom also requires their own personal code and a special key fob that records the opening and closing state of the lock. Time and date specific one-time codes can be issued in advance by the monitoring station for use within a 15-minute window, weeks, or months in advance.


Protecting Your Confidentiality

We Understand The Need For Confidentiality

As Government and NATO contractors Certified Safes Ireland™ understand the need for confidentiality and will always respect yours. We guarantee the confidentiality of all of our clients. Any photos taken for survey purposes have location data removed and are erased directly after use unless directed otherwise by the client. All booking records and client information pertaining to completed work is anonymised across all of our systems at the end of each month in compliance with the G.D.P.R.

Confidential Safe Delivery And Installation


 For Advice Call: +353 1 7076011

Alan Redd Certified Safes Ireland NSAI

Certified Safes Ireland™ director Alan Donohoe Redd is a member of the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) Working Group responsible for writing European Standards for safes, strongrooms (vaults), secure cabinets and physical data protection for the European Union. A registered NATO supplier and a longstanding member of the European Security Systems Association, Alan has a vast range of experience spanning almost 40 years and encompassing installation of safes, strongrooms, physical data protection, CCTV, alarms, access control, secure storage control systems and Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) specification, design, and installation.

Alan is an expert on standards and fraud issues related to secure storage in Europe and the UK, has had articles related to these subjects published by The Law Society Gazette and Irish Broker Magazine, has forced retractions of multiple false claims related to secure storage offerings to the public, including some published by the Irish Times, and has been pivotal in having misleading standards and practises recognised and withdrawn in Ireland, the UK and at a European level.


Due Diligence Notes

 Most Locksmiths Know Very Little About Safes

Contrary to what many people may believe the profession of "Locksmith" has long been recognised as one almost completely separate from the supply and installation of safes and strongrooms in the E.U. With most insurers and An Garda Síochána (Irish Police) advising against the use of mechanical locks on safes due to the ease of opening via non-invasive manipulation, the last connection between these two professions is quickly disappearing. There are exceptions to every rule, and a locksmith may have the necessary knowledge to correctly specify, survey for, and anchor a certified safe, however, most locksmiths have very little knowledge in relation to European standards for safes and The Private Security Authority (PSA) does not require any qualifications to issue a locksmith license.

Pitfalls & Scams In The Safe Supply Industry

Ireland and the UK are notorious black spots for fraud and misrepresentation in the safe supply sector. Well-known safe suppliers being penalised for tax evasion and having served time in jail are just some indications of a wide range of malpractice and illegal activity throughout the safe supply industry. We strongly encourage due diligence before engaging a safe supplier or having someone survey your home or business, irrespective of who recommends them.