Tips For Preventing False Alarms

June 1, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Home Security Solutions

If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

police-siren-911-1What intimidates or scares you most about putting in a home security sytem?  The number #1 reason I heard during my 20 years as a Security Consultant was that homeowners were concerned about false alarms.  Without understanding how a security system worked, they automatically assumed it would be too difficult to learn and people would be accidentally triggering the alarm.  They also thought the security system would accidentally trigger due to a system malfunctions.

It didn’t really matter what the reason.  What mattered was that the police would be dispatched and arrive only to find there wasn’t a problem at all.  In most areas there is a false alarm fee that is charged for 3-false alarms within a years time.  If there is a 140 decibel outside alarm siren, it may be programmed to sound in the neighborhood for 5-10 minutes.  This can be very annoying to anyone in the immediate area.  If you have too many false alarms, it can make your neighbors very cranky.  Don’t let that happen.  Fix a small false alarm problem before it turns into a big one!

Twenty some years ago the number of homeowners who had alarm systems were relatively small compared to the number today.  Even with the steadily growing increase in home security systems across the U.S., the number of homeowners who DO NOT have security systems in their home is still very HIGH.  Again, some of the reasons why people don’t get security systems are their concerns for false alarms.

Don’t let the fear of “false alarms” scare you off because there are ways to prevent false alarms from happening to you.  Over the past 19 years in our current home, I can count on a hand and a half how many false alarms we have had.  (This was even with 2 adults and 2 children/teenagers).  A few of our alarms were set off by family members/friends in the beginning and some were actual malfunctions.  However, even the police will tell you 5-8 false alarms in 19 years is not bad at all.  There were many years that we didn’t have any false alarms. 

No one wants a false alarm because it is embarrassing, puts the police on high alert, can be costly, and can be frightening.  However, I talked to many customers who had false alarms and they sheepishly told me they were “sort of glad to know the police had responded so quickly and that the process worked like they were told it would.”

Here are some False Alarm Prevention Tips  so you avoid unncessary false alarms coming from your home:

1.  Get into the habit of testing your security system at least monthly or quarterly.  Before you go out of town for an extended time, e.g., vacations, business trips, be sure to test your system.  Check with your alarm company and see if they offer a Quality Service or Extended Warranty.  Have your alarm company do a yearly maintenance check on your system.  If you have a device that accidentally trips the alarm once then twice, my recommendation may be to replace it.  Your service technician can help you make that call.

2.  Make sure everyone using the alarm system knows the 4-digit access code to turn the alarm OFF/ON.  Also make sure everyone using the alarm knows the password (identification code) in case they accidentally trigger the alarm. When the alarm company quickly calls to verify, they will ask for the alarm password or identification code.  If they don’t get the correct code, they will immediately dispatch the police.  Education and training are keys to using the security system properly.  MOST false alarms are generated from the homeowner or someone using the security system who is not properly trained.

3.  Remember pets in the house and make sure motion detectors have been set up properly for pets.  Dogs are fairly easy to adjust a pet sensor with.  However, cats may prove to be more difficult and can cause more false alarms due to their jumping into the range of the motion sensor.  The newer technology pet sensors are supposed to be much better and pretty much false alarm free.  Keep party balloons out of the range of your motion detectors as this can potentially trigger a false alarm.

4.  If you are having any interior work done in your house such as painting, remodeling, sanding, drywalling, replacing doors or windows where this is a sensor, changing the phone systems, or any work that might affect the burglary or fire alarm part of your security system, be sure to notify your alarm company.  They can make a notation in your computer information not to dispatch the police that your system is in a TEST MODE for whatever time period.

5.  Contact your alarm company if you need to update your Emergency Contact List by adding or deleting people.  Make sure all contact names and  phone numbers are kept current. This is very important because once the police are dispatched someone from your emergency contact list will also be alerted to meet the police at your home. 

6.  As your security system ages you may find your system having more false alarms.  Your service technician will let you know when it may be time to upgrade.  Parts for outdated systems will be harder to find or not available at all.   As your security system approaches 10-15 years, it will be time to update to a new security system.  Just like a car, your security system will eventually run out of steam and give up.

If you follow these False Alarm Prevention Tips, you will find your security system will be easy to live with and do exactly what you want it to do - alert you to a break-in, make a lot of noise to scare off an intruder, and alert your monitoring company to immediately get the police to your home.

Take care, stay safe, and protect your home & family!