Top 10 Ways to Avoid False Alarms
Accidents happen. Life does go on. So why should you be concerned about false alarms? Because false alarms affect you, your neighborhood, and your community. For example, the alarm system that cries "wolf" one too many times may find that neighbors and police won't respond when there is an actual emergency. Also, the police precinct that thinks its police force is using too much of its time responding to false alarms will institute fines. Or worse, refuse to respond.
The good news is that the majority of false alarms are caused by simple human error, which means that we all have the ability to make a difference in this area. Read these tips to avoid unnecessary sirens, annoyed neighbors, and undesired police dispatches.
- Know your pass code and your password.
- Call your central station immediately if you have a false alarm.
- Be sure everyone using your alarm system has been trained.
- Consider adding extra verification phone numbers.
- Beware of moving objects and animals.
- Expecting someone? Plan Accordingly.
- Be sure doors and windows are tight-fitting.
- Remodeling, Spray Painting, or Fumigating? Call us first!
- Call us if there's smoke, but no fire.
- Keep younger children away from keypads, sensors, and remote units.
This seems simple, I know, and you may be thinking that it shouldn't be the first thing on the list. However, this is actually the most common reason police are dispatched on false alarms. Always have your pass code and password memorized and ready.
Be sure you have our central station's phone number in your phone and around your alarm system so you can easily call us. Do not call 911 unless you have an actual emergency. If your alarm sirens are blaring and you don't need the police, call us right away and let us know. Be sure to follow item #1 and have your password and information ready. Can't remember what your direct central station phone number is? Here it is:
Whether you have seasoned employees or a twelve year old arriving home from school, be sure they all have had a chance to learn how to use the alarm system. It may be helpful to call our central station and put your system in test, then let them arm and disarm the system so they can get used to it. Once they have a grasp on usage, be sure to put your alarm system back online with our central station.
Also, keep your emergency contacts updated and review your contact list and phone numbers with us regularly to be sure everything is correct and up-to-date.
If you know that your system is vulnerable to false alarms, it may be a good idea to add an extra verification person or phone number to your call list. This would be an additional number to call BEFORE burglary dispatch. This extra contact number could be your personal cell phone, a nearby neighbor, a family member, or the manager of your business.
If you are in a situation that would have you at a higher risk of an actual break-in (i.e. high crime area or assault victim), we would not advise this extra verification step, as a faster police response time would be critical under these circumstances.
Motion sensors are important for catching movement when a burglar breaks in. However, your motion detectors will also catch your party balloons, free roaming pets, and movement caused by running space heaters and open windows. Before setting your alarm, be sure to put your pets or balloons in a room where they will not set off motion detectors. Also, turn off space heaters and close those windows before setting your alarm and leaving.
Another option for your pets is to invest in a special pet motion detector which is programmed to ignore the movements of your furry friends but is still smart enough to detect a human being.
Real estate agents, cable company, pest control, deliverymen . . . you get the idea. If you have a traditional alarm system that you arm and disarm at your premises, and you know that you cannot be there to let them in, keep your alarm off. However, if you have our Mobile Access plan or a smart automation security system, you will have the ability to keep your alarm system on until your expected guest arrives. Just be sure your visitor lets you know when they arrive so you can disarm your alarm system remotely before they go inside. An added benefit to a smart automation system is the automated locks, which would allow you to lock and unlock your doors remotely as well.
Doors loosen over time. Check to make sure your strike plates and hinges are secure so that your doors move no more than 1/4 of an inch when pushed or pulled in a closed position. This will keep your door sensors well connected.
With everything that needs to be done for a remodeling project, the last thing you may think to do is call your security company, but you should actually call us first. We can advise you about the best way to proceed with your security system during remodeling. Some projects may need some minor adjustments to alarm responses, while others may need the alarm system placed in test or disengaged. Also, be sure to cover your smoke detectors before starting heavy construction projects to keep your detectors from being contaminated by flying debris. Contaminated smoke detectors can send false smoke alarms long after your remodeling project is complete, so take this extra step to protect them BEFORE beginning construction.
Call the central station right away if you have smoke building up in your home or business but there is no need for a fire department response. You can place your fire system on test until the smoke clears and then call us once everything is back to normal.
There are plenty of older children that you can teach to use your alarm system. For the others, wait until they are older or mature enough and keep alarm components out of their reach until then.
Now that you know the top ten ways to avoid false alarms, you will be less likely to have them. The next time you host a birthday party at your home, for example, you will see those floating balloons much differently than you did before. If you ever have problems with false alarms and cannot figure out how to solve it, please call us immediately at 541-389-0015.
Stay tuned for more safety tips brought to you by East Cascade Security.