False alarms are not only irritating, but can result in hundreds of dollars worth of false alarm fees from your local authorities. They can also seriously scare and eventually annoy your neighbors, not to mention startling your pets. Reoccurring false alarms may make you hesitant to use your home security system and that’s just what any burglar wants. Save law enforcement resources and keep your hard earned cash in your pocket by taking these simple steps to help prevent false alarms.
A false alarm is defined as any signal that elicits a response by police, fire, or emergency medical services for which there is no evidence of any activity that justifies an emergency response. With an estimated 25% yearly increase in alarm systems nationwide, emergency responders are becoming overwhelmed with false alarms. This is resulting in stricter ordinances, more severe fines, and limited or no response policies. Help us reduce false alarms through the proper use and maintenance of your alarm system and by testing your alarm system monthly. Your alarm has been programmed with a 60-second alarm cancel period. If you activate your alarm, but disarm it with your code within 60 seconds of activation, the monitoring station will be notified that an authorized user has disarmed the system—the activity will be logged, but no further action is taken. If you do not enter your code within 60 seconds to cancel the alarm, our monitoring station will call your home to ask for your verbal password BEFORE we dispatch police, fire, or medical personal. This gives you another opportunity to avoid false alarms if you or your family accidentally set off your alarm system.
Major Causes of False Alarms:
- User error
- Unlocked or loose doors or windows
- Kids, pets, neighbors, visitors, repairmen, cleaning crews, etc.
Preventing a False Alarm:
Here are some tips to help you make sure you are not only able to stop a false alarm, but also prevent one from even happening in the first place. Simple follow these simple steps!
- Make sure you securely close and lock all protected doors and windows.
- When leaving, make sure the exit door is closed tightly and locked. Keeping windows and doors shut is not only a smart security practice, it can also help prevent false alarms. Before you activate your home security system, be sure all windows and doors are shut. Prior to opening a window or door, disarm your system.
- Keep pets, balloons, fans, heaters, etc. away from motion sensor areas.
- Know and rehearse the procedure to cancel an accidental alarm. Be sure you know all of your user codes. An overwhelming majority of false alarms are caused by the user entering an incorrect keypad code. Create an alarm code that every member of the family can remember. Use caution that is isn’t a code the burglar might guess (such as your house number). If you change the code, inform everyone who knows the code. Because it’s easy to forget who has your alarm’s code, we advise you keep a list.
- Anyone with access to your home should know this procedure. If your guest is staying with you for a while, be sure he or she feels comfortable with how to arm and disarm your home security system. Don’t forget that the babysitter, house cleaner and dog walker also need to be trained how to operate your home security system.
- Be aware of how much time you have to exit your home after you arm your system and how much time you have to disarm your system when you return.
- Be sure you’re testing your Protect America home security system on a monthly basis. Your alarm system will warn you when the system batteries become weak. Changing the system batteries on a regular basis can help prevent a false alarm. You’ll be happy to know that many wireless home security systems are outfitted with batteries that can last up to five years. For more information on testing your system, click here.
What to Do if You Set Off the Alarm Accidentally:
If you accidentally set off your home security alarm, it is important that you do not panic. Carefully enter your disarm code to deactivate your system. Call the monitoring station toll-free at 1-877-274-0604 immediately. Be prepared to give your password. Tell the monitoring station that you had an accidental alarm activation and ask them to cancel the dispatch. DO NOT CALL 911. Do not leave until you have spoken with the monitoring station and cleared the issue.
We hope that this blog has helped you think about the possible triggers for a false alarm, and in turn prevented one from happening in your home! If you ever have any trouble with your system, you can always refer to this guide.