Preventing False Alarms: Effective Strategies for Alarm Owners

Preventing False Alarms: Effective Strategies for Alarm Owners

Understanding the Impact of False Alarms

False alarms continue to pose a significant challenge despite advancements in security technology. These non-emergency events place a strain on local emergency resources, costing taxpayers millions of dollars each year. Moreover, the activation of burglar alarms contributes to a considerable volume of calls received by emergency responders, with as many as 96% of them turning out to be false alarms. The costs associated with false alarms go beyond the obvious, impacting various aspects of emergency services. In this article, we delve into the causes of false alarms and provide practical steps to prevent them.

What Causes False Alarms?

Pinpointing the Culprits

False alarms can be attributed to several factors, including simple user error, installation mistakes, and inadequate system maintenance. Approximately 50% of false alarms occur due to user error, making it the most common cause. Other contributing factors include faulty installations and neglecting routine system maintenance.

Preventing False Alarms: Key Strategies and Proactive Approach

Entering the Correct PIN Code

To prevent false alarms, ensure that you enter the correct PIN code promptly. While choosing a secure PIN is crucial, it is equally important to remember and enter it accurately. Most alarm systems activate after multiple incorrect attempts or when a specific time limit is exceeded. To enhance security, select a PIN code related to a memorable event not widely known, or save it securely in your phone's Notes app.

Training and Familiarization

Train yourself and others who may operate the security system, especially in business settings with multiple employees. Develop an action plan outlining the necessary steps to take in case of malfunctions or difficulties in arming or disarming the alarm. Ensure that all employees understand the process to avoid triggering false alarms. This plan may involve designated contacts and troubleshooting measures to ensure the system functions properly.

Securing Doors and Windows

Depending on your alarm system, some may not detect open doors and windows. Consult your alarm provider to determine if your system offers this feature and how it can be optimized. For systems with this capability, they can display the status of doors and windows, helping to prevent false alarms. Even if you believe all access points are secure, double-check them to eliminate any possibility of triggering an alarm unnecessarily.

Installing and Configuring Motion Sensors

Improperly installed or configured motion sensors can result in false alarms. Place motion sensors strategically near entryways and areas of interest, such as back-office inventory rooms. Most motion sensors activate the alarm in response to motion or heat. To prevent false alarms caused by authorized personnel or pets, adjust the sensitivity settings of the motion detectors if necessary. Seek guidance from a professional security provider to determine optimal sensor placement and settings.

Regular System Maintenance

To prevent false alarms caused by weak batteries or power outages, regularly check the status and operation of battery-powered security devices. Ensure that battery-powered devices have sufficient power, replacing batteries as needed. Some security providers offer battery backups for devices connected to power outlets, ensuring system functionality during power disruptions. Test backup batteries periodically, particularly for older systems. Additionally, consider alarm monitoring which provides verified emergency response when alarms are activated.

Responding to False Alarms

The Right Steps to Take

If your alarm accidentally activates, remain calm and take the following steps to prevent unnecessary dispatches of emergency responders:

  • Attempt to reset your alarm by entering the correct PIN code at the alarm control panel.
  • If you cannot reset the alarm or it reactivates, promptly contact your security provider or monitoring service to inform them of the false alarm situation. Provide your account password and ID number if requested.
  • Always consult your security provider before re-arming the system to ensure they are aware of the false alarm and there is no need for police dispatch.
  • Remember, contacting 911 during a false alarm event is unnecessary. Reach out to your security provider instead.

False Alarms When You're Away

If a false alarm occurs when you're not present, refer to the protocol established with your security provider during system installation. Typically, the alarm monitoring center contacts the owner or authorized individuals before alerting law enforcement.

Ensure that your provider has multiple contact numbers to reach you or designated individuals for verification before dispatching authorities.

If the cause of the false alarm remains unclear, contact your security provider for assistance. Understanding your security system's operation can significantly reduce false alarms and enhance overall effectiveness.


Partnering for Reliable Security

False alarms persist as a challenge, but implementing preventive measures can significantly reduce their occurrence. By following the strategies outlined in this article, you can prevent false alarms caused by user error, installation mistakes, and inadequate maintenance.

At CAVES, we recognize the importance of minimizing false alarms. Our 24/7 live alarm monitoring services aim to provide accurate emergency response, ensuring that genuine alarms receive the attention they deserve. Contact us today to learn more about our decades of experience protecting people like you.

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