Common Causes of False Alarms and Tips to Reduce Them
Do you remember the story of the boy who cried wolf? That boy called in all of the villagers multiple times to help run off a make believe wolf. He thought it was entertaining to watch everyone scramble. But, when he really did see a wolf, and really did need help, no one came.
In a recent study by The Herald of Washington it was found that over 90% of alarm activations that trigger a police response are falsely tripped. 90%!!Thankfully emergency responders will always come to your aid regardless of how many times you request them. But are you aware that roughly $2 billion in police resources are wasted every year because of false alarms? The majority of those charges are paid for by you and I through our tax dollars. And if that doesn’t hit home for you, consider the fact that many towns and cities charge a fee for falsely triggered alarms which can add up.
Alarms are put in place to help keep your home and business safe. Hopefully you never need the response teams that are sent when an alarm is activated, but those teams are specially trained to respond with speed and efficiency to help you in an emergency.
False alarms due to faulty equipment or acts of nature are rare. The single largest cause of false alarms is human error.
Common Causes of False Alarms:
- Failure to secure doors and windows once the alarm is turned on
- Incorrect keypad codes
- Failing to train authorized users
- Wandering pets
- Re-entering the home just after leaving without disarming (assuming the exit delay is long enough to compensate)
- Objects hanging by or around motion detectors
- Weak system batteries
Tips for Reducing False Alarms with Your Home Security System
False alarms from security systems can be a hassle for homeowners and law enforcement don’t particularly appreciate them either. Sometimes, false alarms can signal police that there is a real emergency happening within a home, which unnecessarily uses up valuable time for law enforcement officers. Not only that, the time and effort it takes on homeowners to reset, learn, and work around the errors can be far from pleasurable. Fortunately, there are things any homeowner can do to reduce the incidence of accidentally inducing an alarm signal, whether it be user error or a misunderstanding within the system’s functioning.
More than 3,000 municipalities in the United States have a fine for a false alarm, making it crucial to homeowners on a budget to know their security systems inside and out. Reducing the incidence of a false alarm is not very difficult, especially if certain precautions are taken before, during, and after installing a security system. Here are three tips any homeowner with security systems can do to prevent a false alarm:
- Train Residents How to Use the Security System. All family members should know how to operate the home’s security system, including all relevant pass codes and how to turn on/off the system. Any member that cannot operate the system may increase the risk of a false alarm. Properly train all users (e.g., babysitters, relatives, children, visitors, etc.)
- Keep Security Companies in the Loop. If going on vacation, hiring help, or getting work done on the house, notify the security company who installed the security system beforehand. This way they can be prepared for regular system interruptions during the time period. Inform the monitoring center of new pass codes and arming codes, and new or removed authorized users
- Check System Monthly. Always test your system to ensure that it is functioning properly. Also, have a professional check by your security system company. This can prevent any short circuits or malfunctions in the future. Service and maintain the system (including batteries) properly
To avoid fines and preventable hassle, there are a number of ways any homeowner can prevent a false alarm in their security system. Owners of a security system should contact their security company to gain further education on how to work their system and should always keep their phone number close in case a pertinent question arises.
Have you ever experienced a false alarm with your security system? What do you do to prevent false alarms? Please share with us your thoughts on our Facebook page!