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False Alarm Reduction
- Before selecting an alarm system, consult licensed alarm companies to discuss the type of system and features that will be appropriate for you and your living/working environment.
Ask each alarm company how the system they propose avoids false alarms.
Ask how you can operate it in order too avoid false alarms.
Ask the FARS what the false alarm rate is for the companies you are considering.
- Review procedures with your alarm company that you expect them to follow when an alarm activates. Do you want them to make two calls; one to the location and one to your cell, before requesting police dispatch? Do you only want the police notified if an exterior and interior alarm activates? Put your instructions in writing?
- Fully educate and train every person with access to your home or business on the precise operation of your alarm system. This may include domestic/cleaning crews, children, neighbors, caretakers, employees, and temporary staff.
- Be aware that cleaning and repair crews do cause false alarms for which you will be responsible.
- If you give them a key, give them a code! Be sure that all individuals with authority to operate your system have been given their own personal password or pass code. Notify your alarm and/or monitoring company of any changes in authorized persons and codes.
- Keep door and window frames in good condition-sagging, warped and loose fitting doors and windows may prevent a tight connection with the alarm contacts. Consider using wide gap contacts on all doors.
- Always keep doors and windows locked when the alarm is in the "ON" mode to reduce the chance that friends, neighbors or customers may enter and cause the alarm to activate.
- Check for drafts that may move curtains, hanging objects or holiday decorations, which can cause motion detectors to activate.
- If you have pets, take special care to purchase an alarm system that is pet friendly. You many not want to purchase motion detectors if your pets have free run of the house when the alarm is on. Cats + motion detectors= a false alarm every time! Be sure to discuss pet concerns with your alarm company.
- Power surges and lightning strikes should not cause false alarms. Use surge protectors suppressors on both the alarm system and the phone line sending the alarm signal to the monitoring center to avoid false alarms.
- If you acquire new furniture or do extensive rearrangement of existing furniture, be mindful of interior sensors that may be affected.
- Confirm that spcial consideration has been given to the installation of motion sensors or detectors in high bay areas with overhead doors, large exhaust fans or ceiling vents, which allow birds to enter.
- Before activating your alarm system, be sure to securely close and lock all protected doors and windows.
- Have your alarm system inspected by a licensed alarm company on an annual basis.
- Have an alarm technician replace the batteries in your alarm system as per manufacturer's specifications. wireless systems may need battery replacement more often than wired systems.
- Regular maintenance, such as checking the battery, cleaning motion sensors, replacing door/window contacts and testing the overall operation of the equipment will help alleviate costly false alarms and extend the life of your alarm system.
- Test your alarm system regularly. Be sure to notify your alarm/monitoring company first so that no request for police dispatch is made. Do not set your alarm off for the purpose of testing! You will be charged with a false alarm.