Fat Cat Banker is busy on the phone, negotiating certain unspecified personal favors from his mistress in return for clothing and certain items of jewelry. Unknown to Fat Cat Banker, a hungry, laid-off auto-worker has chosen this very moment to rob the bank. The teller has managed to both raise her hands and push the panic button, so the security system has begun to dial the cops. But there is a problem. Because business at the Building and Loan has been sub-prime lately, Fat Cat Banker decided to cut expenses by reducing the number of phone lines coming into his back to one the one he is currently using. Will the security system be able to dial out and call for police assistance? Or will Fat Cat Banker satisfy his mistress only to discover that his down payment has just been stolen?

The cops will be on the way to preserve Truth, Justice and the American Way if the security system installer did his job and wired the alarm panel for line capture. The alarm panel will hang up on Fat Cat Banker right when he's starting to talk dirty and dial out to let the police know that a crime is being committed! Soon the Long Arm of the Law will stretch out and apprehend the desperate, hungry robber.

A modern Fire Alarm is required to be able to independently contact a monitoring agency, and report any and all problems or alarms with the system. There are exceptions to this rule, but almost always a Fire Alarm system must be capable of summoning the authorities by itself if needed. A security system can do the same. The most popular method is by phone line, as phone lines are still everywhere. They're reliable, don't depend on cell towers. In many commercial, industrial or government buildings the phone lines used by the system to dial out are dedicated, meaning they serve no other purpose. But it is not necessary to let a phone line (which does cost money) lie fallow when the building is not burning. The line may be used by the building occupants provided the line is wired so that the panel may capture the line for its own use when needed.

Wiring a panel for line capture is really pretty easy. For each phone line, you need two pairs of wires. One pair is attached where the phone line first enters the building and becomes available for occupant use. That place is known as the demarc. You then attache it to the panel at the telco or ring terminals. The second pair is attached to the tip or premises terminals and returned to the demarc. There it can be connected to the rest of the building phones, creating a wiring layout like this:

Ma Bell------>Alarm Panel-------->Fat Cat's Desk Phone

Because the Panel is wired before the phones the panel can interrupt anything downstream in case of an alarm, including Fat Cat Banker's seductions. But if the alarm tech is lazy and simply hooks up the line to the panel like any other phone Fat Cat Banker will continue to enjoy his aural encounter while the crook gets away with the loot. This happens because his active phone has the line, and has it until he hangs up. The panel is unable to do more than beep now and then. For this reason all alarms are supposed to be wired for line capture.

Some readers may ask if the alarm bells and sirens might let Fat Cat Banker know that he ought to hang up and tend to business. And they will if the system is wired and programmed that way. Certainly a Fire Alarm will sound whether he's on the phone or not. But a security system may not. Panic buttons are often programmed to make no outward change in the system at all, not even a change in the keypad display, lest the robber be spooked and do something stupid. Like shoot.

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