16 Jul 2015
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Alarm systems bring a sense of security and peace of mind in a multitude of homes in America. After all, you are assured of emergency responders should your alarm sound off. However, false alarms — those that are triggered when there is in fact no burglary or emergency — make up a huge percentage of the calls that the police receive, exhausting their limited resources. To reduce false alarms, measures have been put in place to register alarm systems and to charge alarm service providers.
For instance, the police in Seattle used to receive 25,000 calls a year with 97 percent false alarm rate. But now, the false alarms significantly dropped to less than 11,000 a year. More than avoiding the false alarm fees that your alarm company may pass onto you, learning how to prevent false alarms help the authorities quickly respond to real and urgent emergencies. These eight tips will walk you through how to tackle the problems that cause false alarms.
Pick the Right Alarm System Based on Your Needs
An alarm security system is a big-ticket investment that will protect your home or business. With this, take your time in shopping around and doing your research so you can get one that will cover your unique needs. Learn about the different kinds of alarm systems so you can decide if you want a wired, wireless, or hybrid system. Knowing what type to buy will help you determine in advance what kind of installation and maintenance you will need to do. For instance, a wired setup usually requires professional installation while a wireless one can be done through the DIY route. Some wireless systems heavily consume battery so you’ll have to check the battery levels every now and then. Also, if you have a pet, get pet-friendly sensors that are built to distinguish between intruders and pets.
Go for a Smart Alarm System
Some alarm systems help filter false alarms with their two-way communication and dual verification features. Two-way communication helps you communicate with dispatchers if there is really a need for emergency responders and vice versa. On the other hand, with dual verification, dispatchers need to see or hear what is happening in your premises to assess if they need to send out people.
See to It that the Alarm System is Correctly Installed
It is crucial that all the components of the alarm security system are installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations. These are designed to align appropriately so that the alarm system will function accordingly. Otherwise, the system will detect a glitch that can lead to a false alarm. If you are not that confident in doing DIY installations, you can have a professional come out to do it for you so you can reduce chances of incorrect installation. But remember, if you are having a professional installation, oversee the process and monitor your alarm system for some time after it is installed.
Monitor Your Alarm System after the Installation
Most alarm companies understand that it may take some time for you to get used to the new alarm system so there is usually a familiarization period after the installation. During this period, false alarms will not have dispatchers coming over or bills for police services being charged to you. Think of this as a grace period and a perfect opportunity to learn everything that you can about your alarm system. Should false alarms occur, determine what set off the alarm so you can do something about it and prevent it from happening again. If the problem is not on your end, contact the alarm company.
Make Sure Everyone with Access to your Alarm System Knows How to Use It Properly
Most alarm systems are designed in a way that can be easily used and navigated even by non-technical users. You just need to take time to learn about how the alarm system operates. This is not only to get the most out of your investment, but also to avoid unknowingly triggering the alarm. Start with yourself so you can properly orient everyone in your household and business about the alarm system. Everyone with permission to be in your premises and to access your alarm system should know how to arm and disarm the system, put in codes, cancel unintentional alarms, and so on. In the same way, keep components away from those who do not have your permission — or the capability — to use your alarm system. For instance, panic buttons should be kept out of the reach of children.
Troubleshoot Problems Right Away
Common problems that trigger false alarms include low batteries and power loss. In case of low batteries, if there was a recent power outage, wait for the batteries to recharge first after the power comes back on. If 24 hours have passed and the batteries are still not fully charged, then it is time for battery replacement. In cases of power loss from the AC, check to confirm that the transformer is plugged in properly and is working well. Most alarm systems make beeping sounds as a way of letting you know about these battery and power troubles. These beeps, as inconvenient as they may be, also communicate other problems that need to be fixed immediately such as communication and sensor troubles. Because of this, you should learn how to troubleshoot beeping problems.
Properly Lock All Your Doors and Windows
Making sure that your doors and windows are properly locked is not only a common sense habit that you should ignore just because you have an alarm system. It is also a way to avoid false alarms as unlocked or loose doors and windows can interfere with the system. Close your doors and windows properly, repair loose connections, and use deadbolts to better secure your entry ways.
Observe Proper and Regular Maintenance
For your alarm system to work in an optimal state, keep it clean and efficient according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Dust can disrupt fire alarms and dirt, rodents, and insects can trigger motion detectors, so clean your premises. Periodically test your alarm system if it works as designed. However, before you proceed, give your central station a call to give them a heads up. Units perform less effectively over time so you should replace or upgrade accordingly.
Homeowners with alarm systems in place should make it a habit to follow these eight simple steps in avoiding false alarms. These tips will not only spare you from extra fees, but also contribute to more efficient emergency responders so you can be assured of quicker response should a real emergency occur.