I am sure our readers have heard about the familiar story of the boy who cried wolf and what happens to someone when they raise false alarms. This however, is not child’s play, and false alarms can cost millions and put significant strain on police resources.
One common problem with false alarms is that it can make the homeowner hesitant to use their home security system and that is exactly what any burglar wants. If you stop using your security system through fear of false alarms, it is an open door for burglars.
One of the leading causes of false alarms is human error which is actually good news for us as it means that there are ways that you can prevent or reduce them from happening. So how do you do this? Read on as we take a look at some of the top tips to reduce false alarms with your home security system.
The most important thing that you can do is work with your security system provider. A flase alarm, as defined by law enforcement officials, is any alarm that is triggered by human error or equipment malfunction that leads to a police or security company response.
- 1 What Causes False Alarms to Happen?
- 2 Tips to Reduce False Alarms with Your Home Security System
- 3 How to Handle False Alarms
- 4 Final Thoughts
What Causes False Alarms to Happen?
Whether you hear a beep and expect it to be a real threat or you hear a beep and expect it to be a false alarm, every beep should be treated the same. They are there to alert you, your neighbors, people around, and the police for the right reasons. If it is a false alarm, it means that the alarm has been triggered by something other than a threat like a burglar.
Such things that could trigger a false alarm include:
- Faulty Equipment
- Low battery or inconsistent power source
- Doors that should be locked but aren’t. The same goes for windows
- Forgotten password by the owner of the property
- Pets, rodents, and insects
It should be a top priority to understand what triggers false alarms and what you can do to avoid them. Don’t be the boy who cried wolf. In some areas, a false alarm can end up with the homeowner receiving heavy fines which in our opinion is absolutely ridiculous, especially since even an insect can set them off.
As citizens in the UK here know, statistics here are not accurate by any means and the police don’t record a lot of action so I am going to use stats that I have found in the US. The surprising thing that we found was that according to a report by the Urban Institute, between 90 and 99 percent of alarm calls to police end up being false. Believe me, you wouldn’t want to be paying any of that lost money just because of a false alarm.
Tips to Reduce False Alarms with Your Home Security System
Below you will find some simple tips that can help you to stop or reduce the false alarms with your home security system:
1. Be Careful What You Place Near Motion Detectors
It is common sense that anything placed near a motion detector is going to set it off and this needs to be thought about. If it is christmas time then be careful where you place your christmas decorations but it isn’t so much about decorations. You also need to be mindful about such things as your pets.
If your motion sensors are being activated then you need to take a close look at what could be causing it. Are there any items that are hanging or placed near the sensor? remove them. They could remain still but as soon as a door or a window gets opened or the air con comes on, it could blow them into the area of the sensor.
Before you say that you can’t control where your pets roam, a reputable company will understand how to position the sensors so that your pets can freely roam without setting off the sensors.
2. Always Make Sure That Fresh Batteries are Installed
In most cases, a home security system will alert the homeowner when the batteries are running low. The problem is that many homeowners ignore this warning. When batteries run low they can give off false alarms until you replace the batteries. As soon as the security system alerts you to the batteries running low, change them. If you can’t do this yourself then you need to immediately contact your security provider so that they can do it for you.
Most wireless home security systems nowadays are fitted with batteries that will last up to five years.
3. Make Sure That All In the Home Understand the System
If you have a security system installed, it is no good you understanding the system but failing to let anyone else know or understand how to work it. If you are away from the home and the sensors are accidently triggered, how is anyone in the family supposed to know what to do unless you tell them? Everyone must understand how they are to cancel any inadvertant or unnecessary alarms as well as know the password for the system itself.
You would be surprised at just how many false alarms are caused by the homeowner themselves entering an incorrect keypad code. When you create a code, make sure that it is one that each member of the family can remember. Don’t let anyone enter it into their phones otherwise if someone gets access to the phone they have access to the home.
The most fundamental way to prevent false alarms is by using your home security system on a regular basis. When your family uses the security system consistently, they’ll get comfortable with how it works, and that means there’s less likelihood of a false alarm.
4. If the System Doesn’t Work Properly, Alert the Monitoring Company
When I was growing up, the security system that we had installed in our family home faile, my parents were tired of the false alarms and so my father just ripped it off the wall. We were never broken into at the house but who’s fault would it have been if we had of been? It would of been my fathers. Instead of him contacting the monitoring company he just took things into his own hands which put us at more risk. Simply put, if your security system is not working as it should, contact your monitoring company. It is what you pay them for.
5. Pet Immune Sensors
We have already mentioned pets briefly in the first tip but you can actually get pet immune sensors that are designed to ignore the presence of pets up to a certain weight. Many good reputable companies offer these types of sensors to those that have pets although I have personally never tried them as I feel that they could easily be bypassed although I am not too sure that your usual burglar would know how.
6. Tell All House Guests
If you are having people stay over at your house even just for the night, let them know when the home is armed. If they are staying for a while, make sure that they are comfortable with how to arm and disarm the alarm if needed. This includes the babysitter, the dog walker, the cleaner or anyone else that spends a lot of time in the home. Also, don’t forget that anyone who has the alarm pass code also knows the monitoring station phone number just in case the alarm is accidently activated.
How to Handle False Alarms
False alarms can and do often cause panic to homeowners and the community. How you personally respond to them matters more than anything else. Here are our top tips for handling false alarms:
1. Remain Calm
You panic and other people will panic, simple. Not just your neighbors but people in your household. You must remain calm and reassure everyone that it is only a false alarm.
2. Disarm the Alarm
Obviously if you know that it is a false alarm then you need to disarm the alarm as calmly as possible. Don’t forget tip 3 above and always remember your pass code.
3. Call Your Monitoring Company
Not everybody that has an alarm has a monitoring company but if you do then you need to contact them to let them know that it is just a false alarm. Make the call as soon as you turn the alarm off. The reason for this is that they may have already called the police and if so, they can cancel the dispatch as soon as possible.
4. Issue an Apology
You don’t have to do this but I believe it is very beneficial. If your alarm goes off and the neighbors realise that it was just a false alarm, they may be more inclined to ignore it the next time when it is really needed. Issue an apology and they can see that you really are sorry and the next time they are more likely to take notice.
It does not matter where you live, having a home security system is incredibly important. Don’t ever be one of those that believe that because it has never happened before, it will never happen. You don’t know when a criminal is going to target you or strike your home so it is important that you are always on your guard and that your home security system works correctly. It is not about the fact that they might steal your TV, you and your families loved ones’ safety is at stake. Be smart!