The sound of an alarm system instinctually creates panic, and most people would rather avoid it. However, it’s very important to test these systems to ensure they are working if and when you need them most.  The test itself is a fairly simple process, but you’ll want to perform it correctly. After all, what is the point in having a system if you’re not sure it’s working?  Here are the ways you can test your home security system and how often you should be thinking about it.

Communicate the Testing to Affected Parties

Prior to running a test on your home security system, alert everyone in the house. This will help avoid any panic or disrupt any daily activities.

Additionally, consider alerting your neighbors if they live nearby and if your system is especially loud, so they don’t suspect suspicious activity in your house. To give the neighbors peace-of-mind, select one day a month that you’ll test the system and notify them of this date. Then, don’t be too casual with talking about your selected time period. Potential thieves could take advantage of that knowledge.

Finally, ask your security company about whether or not they should be alerted for the test. They will be thankful that you are trying to help avoid false alarms, which keep emergency responders away from where they’re needed most.

Frequency of Tests

The first alarms you should test are your fire alarms and smoke detectors. Three out of five deaths caused by fires are from properties without a working fire alarm.

The U.S. Fire Administration has a few useful tips for when to test them.

You know fire alarms and smoke detectors should be tested once a month, but what about the rest of your security system? Aside from regular tests, there are other times to investigate the status of the system.

How to Test Effectively

Work with your security provider to ensure you are properly educated on system testing. They’ll have the best knowledge and tips. These are the best practices on learning how to test: