In an ongoing effort to reduce the number of false alarms our customers and non-customers experience, we have compiled a list of preventative measures to aid in eliminating false alarms.
Why are false alarms a problem?
- False alarms take police away from real emergencies and other life-threatening situations.
- False alarms can be audible and are a nuisance to you and your neighbors.
- False alarms may make you reluctant to arm your system, thus exposing your facility and property to undetected theft and fire.
- False alarms can cost you money. Almost all cities and towns assess costly fines for excessive false alarms.
What causes false alarms?
- Seventy percent of false alarms are caused by user error.
- Open, unlocked or loose-fitting doors and windows.
- Balloons, banners, signs, large insects, and rotating holiday decorations that move in front of motion detectors.
- Drafts that move plants or curtains.
- Noise sources such as compressors or time clocks. Kids, neighbors, relatives, visitors, repairmen, maid services etc. entering your home or business without being aware of your security system.
- Wandering pets.
Before you purchase your alarm system.
- Make sure your alarm company is licensed by your state. Many contractors are not licensed alarm companies. Only purchase from reputable and stable companies that use state of the art equipment designed to prevent false alarms.
- Cheaper is not always better. Cheap equipment and basic alarm packages do not provide enough security in most situations. A motion detector and a door contact switch are inadequate protection for most homes and businesses.
- All points of entry should be covered by the alarm system providing a total security solution. This means when the door or window is opened, the alarm should activate. If these areas are not covered, it means a burglar must walk into a room where a motion detector is located before the alarm will sound.
- Video and voice verification. Both video and voice verification reduce the number of false alarms a customer has. Be sure that your choice of alarm companies has these abilities as Guardian Alarm does with our exclusive Voice Link and Video Link products.
Before activating your system.
- Turn off all noise sources – radios, compressors, televisions, printers etc.
- Lock all protected doors and windows.
- Make sure everyone with a key to your home or business knows how to turn the alarm system off using the keypad code and how to reset the alarm. They should be familiar with how the alarm system works and the authorization pass code. This includes kids, neighbors, relatives, temporary and permanent employees. (You can assign temporary passwords for temporary users.)
- Be sure they also know the phone number to the monitoring station and their authorization pass code, so the monitoring station can cancel the police if necessary.
How can I prevent false alarms?
- Have all users practice canceling an accidental alarm. Call ahead to the monitoring station to have the system put into a test mode. This will ensure the police are not sent during testing.
- Be very careful when entering the last number of your code. In some systems, if entered incorrectly, it can send a silent panic signal.
- Don’t try to beat the system. If you need to re-enter after arming your system, disarm and rearm the system again. Don’t rely on the entry or exit delay time to give you enough time to get in and out. Have the monitoring station adjust the entry or exit delay time if you don’t have enough time when entering or leaving the premise.
- Call the monitoring center if you hire domestic help. On most systems, we can easily add a special keypad code for that person to use.
- Keep motion detectors, clear of insects and spider webs.
- Check for drafts that can move plants, curtains, signs, holiday decorations, helium balloons, and other things in motion sensor areas. Fans, heaters, air conditioners, and ceiling fans can cause drafts.
- Change batteries regularly on wireless devices.
- Regularly test your alarm system to make sure that it’s functioning properly and you are arming it correctly. Don’t forget to contact your monitoring center first so they may put your system in a test mode.
- Supervise and confine pets to areas without motion sensors. When the system is designed, choose other protection other than motion detectors if you have pets such as glassbreak detectors and door or window contacts.
- Check to make sure protected doors fit and latch securely. Loose fitting doors can cause alarms when there are high wind conditions. When you leave, make sure the door is tightly closed.
- Call your monitoring station if you are planning remodeling projects, changing phone systems, installing skylights, ceiling fans, or if you are spray painting or fumigating.
- Keep your notification list current and include homeowner’s cell phones. We then can call these numbers before the police if instructed to avoid unnecessary dispatches.
- Upgrade aging or outdated equipment. Older systems are more prone to false alarms. Alarm wiring should also be checked to see if it needs to be replaced.
What if my alarm accidentally activates?
- Determine if there is really a fire or actual break in. If it is an actual break in, remember to use the panic feature on the alarm system so the monitoring station can determine that it is an actual alarm.
- Don’t panic – If the alarm was accidental, disarm your system by carefully pressing each number of your keypad code. Keep in practice so you know your code when you need to disarm the system.
- After you have reset the alarm system, call your monitoring center to report the accidental activation of your alarm. The monitoring center will then attempt to cancel the police or fire department if they were already sent. Your alarm system is designed to take over your phone system, so when the monitoring center tries to call, they may encounter a busy signal.
- Don’t leave the facility until you have spoken with someone at the monitoring center and you have given them your proper authorization pass code.
- Rehearse alarm cancellation with anyone who might use your system.
- Make sure anyone who has a key to your facility knows how to operate the alarm system.
- Tell all users to call the monitoring center when the alarm activates and present their authorization pass code.
- Keep your alarm owners manual and alarm monitoring center phone number handy. Study it from time to time.
- Cancel all alarms that don’t need emergency response.
- Update the monitoring center if you change you phone number or anyone on your call list changes their phone number.