What is a false Alarm?   Anytime a monitoring station receives an alarm signal that is caused by user error, accident, or a malfunction, it is considered a false alarm. If it cannot be verified by the operator it can result in a “Dispatch” of the authorities. Fire and/or Alarm dispatches can result in significant financial penalties.

Did you know that more than 80% of false alarms are related to preventable user errors? Did you know that 80% of false alarms are caused by 20% of users?  Unfortunately false alarms cost all of us. They take Police away from legitimate and sometimes life threatening matters. They become a nuisance to you and your neighbours, they make your system less reliable, and make you reluctant to use your system.  Any costs associated with False Alarms are the responsibility of the account holder, usually the home/business owner.

To prevent False Alarms we need to know what causes them.  Some very common causes include:   Inadequate training of people using your system, weak system batteries, doors and windows that are open, unlocked, or loose fitting, and drafts from heaters and air conditioning systems that move plants, curtains, balloons, wall hangings etc.

In most cases some simple things can keep your home or business false alarm free.   Start a habit of keeping your doors and windows locked whenever possible.  Educate ALL users on how the alarm system works.  To prevent infrequent users from forgetting the code, let them pick their own code. If you see a trouble light or are planning renovations, speak with your alarm company first on how to keep your alarm system in good working order.  Learn how to protect sensors from excess dust, smoke, steam etc. If you see a ‘low battery’ indicator don’t ignore it. If you are thinking of changing your phone service in any way speak with your alarm company service department for tips on preventing problems.  Keep your emergency contact list and YOUR emergency contact information current. The monitoring station operators cannot be helpful if they cannot reach you or your contacts due to outdated or out of service phone numbers.

Know what to do if you set off your alarm by accident.  First, don’t panic. There is time, enter your disarm code slowly and methodically to stop the alarm and then to reset your system. Never let anyone see your disarm code.  Do not leave the premises until the Monitoring station has called to verify, or call in yourself, with your ID ready, to speak with an operator.

Make sure that ANYONE that has keys to your premises is familiar with alarm use, and has proper ID.  Keep a list in a secure place of all alarm users, keep them informed of any changes you make to the account that would affect how the system works.

False alarm penalties can be in the hundreds of dollars and can escalate rapidly. Please take the time to review these few simple tips.  If you have any questions on how any of these tips affect your account please call our service department for assistance.

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Allan Baum
Security Industry veteran with over 30+ years in the industry. Founded family owned and operated Protection Plus in 1994 with his wife and has overseen its growth since. In addition to working with his wife and son, Allan has assigned the role of Chief Canine Officer to his trusted dog Waub, who joins him at the office every day.