A home security system today is more reliable than they’ve ever been in helping protect your home. However, even these high-tech systems can trigger false alarms. While it’s nice to know your system is working, it’s important your security system is calibrated correctly to avoid false alarms and guarantee your peace of mind.
False alarms can cause many problems for you and others, however, they are easy to diagnose and fix before the problem gets out of hand. With this easy guide, we can help you prevent false alarms, and how to properly respond if one occurs.
What Are False Alarms?
False alarms are quite simply any time an alarm is triggered for no apparent reason. Definitions may become more specific based on the situation that caused the false alarm. For example, if your alarm system triggers randomly and the motion detector went off for no reason that would count as a false alarm based on a malfunction on the part of the system. Most false alarms are caused by human error including forgetting to turn the alarm on or off in specific circumstances, or even having one of your pets trigger the motion detector.
Why Worry About False Alarms?
False alarms are not only difficult for you to deal with but can cause problems for first responders and others in your community.
When a false alarm occurs, your system and company may immediately trigger a response from police and fire departments. This means wasted time and money responding to what is typically a very simple mistake. Additionally, many communities expect first responders, especially the police, to respond quickly to these alarms without asking questions to prevent wasting time in the case of serious emergencies. False alarms cut down on resources available to our first responders and may limit their ability to respond to future emergencies quickly. In some cases, false alarms may even cost you a fine.
Common Causes of False Alarms
- Human Error: Most false alarms are caused by simple human error when operating a home security system. This can include forgetting to turn off the system when you know someone is coming over without you home. Leaving children or pets inside with the system active can also lead to motion detectors being tripped and causing false alarms. Oftentimes, these false alarms can also be caused by a lack of education about the security system. This includes improper set-up, maintenance, and failing to ensure all individuals entering your home are aware of the system and how to deactivate it. SafeStreets wants to ensure you’re comfortable with your system and will take the time to help educate you about your security system.
- Faulty Equipment: If false alarms are continuing to occur even after you have attempted cleaning your system and ensuring there is nothing else triggering the alarms, you may have faulty equipment. Today, many systems use high-quality materials to ensure their systems are reliable. However, faulty equipment is always a possibility as it ages or from an unknown circumstance like incorrect installation or mishandling. However, professional installation from SafeStreets can help prevent these types of false alarms.
- Dust in Filters: Dust settling in, on, and around parts of your system can cause them to trigger false alarms. Dust in smoke detectors and motion detectors is often the culprit here as the dust makes it difficult for the system to properly identify smoke in the home or even movement as the dust shifts from simple breezes in the home.
- Low Batteries: Low batteries can also cause false alarms in wireless systems. Typically these systems use auditory warnings, like chirps, to warn of low batteries. However, if the problem is ignored for too long the system can malfunction and cause false alarms as the power becomes weaker.
- Incorrect Installation: If the installation of your system was done incorrectly then false alarms may be a common occurrence. This is especially common for those attempting DIY home security installations. It is always suggested you get the help of a professional to ensure your system is set up correctly.
What to Do if You Accidentally Activate Your Alarm
If a false alarm is triggered at your home there are a couple of easy steps to take to ensure the situation doesn’t become more of a problem than it already is.
First, DO NOT leave your home or business until you have spoken to your security provider. This ensures they can quickly talk directly to you and confirm you are safe and that it was indeed a false alarm. This will prevent them from contacting first responders or allow them to reach first responders before they reach your home.
Additionally, DO NOT call 911 to report the false alarm. This further hinders the ability of first responders to do their job. Instead, simply wait for your security provider to call and speak to them.
What you should DO in the case of a false alarm is reset your alarm and speak to your security to confirm the false alarm and provide your alarm permit number. After the false alarm has been handled, it is time to take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
How to Prevent False Alarms in Your Home
False alarms are unfortunately easy to trigger, but luckily, they are just as easy to fix and prevent with a few simple steps.
- Properly Secure Doors and Windows: Always ensure all the doors and windows in your home are secure before the alarm is armed. This way you can be sure nothing is accidentally triggering your system without being tampered with.
- Require dual verification: Dual verification is a secondary process your security provider can take before dispatching first responders to your home. Many providers will receive video and audio feeds after an alarm is triggered. Requiring them to receive secondary confirmation from these feeds, or from you to confirm the alarm is legitimate can help cut down on the impact of false alarms.
- Schedule regular maintenance: Be sure to schedule regular maintenance with your security provider to keep your system working properly as well as regularly test and check your system yourself. Many problems can be solved with a quick cleaning, but if you are concerned about how your system is operating then contact your security provider so they can check your system and keep it in tip-top shape.
- Ensure everyone who uses the alarm system is properly trained on its operation: Finally, everyone that will interact with the system is properly trained to operate the system. This is one of the most important steps as most false alarms are caused by simple human error because people don’t know how to work the system in their home. Proper training and consistent follow-ups on its operation will help prevent these simple mistakes from happening.
False alarms can be a sour surprise for anyone. Luckily, taking simple steps to prevent them from happening can save you time, money, and stress. SafeStreets believes your home should be protected, which is why we work tirelessly to provide the best for our customers. Get a free quote to start enjoying the peace provided by a home security system!