How to Avoid False Alarms
False alarms are a headache for all parties involved in the process. They cause stress on the home or business owner, they trigger unwanted action at your monitoring station, and they can lead to consuming the resources of your local fire and/or police department. False alarms can also lead to fees/fines that can hurt your bottom line. Although they are unfortunate, there are some steps you can take to proactively avoid false alarms from happening.
After a false alarm, you want to quickly diagnose the root cause. You do not want to simply get the alarm reset and ignore the reason why it happened in the first place, it is worth your time and energy to get to the bottom of why.
Commercial Security False Alarm Causes:
Poor Training/Onboarding of New Employees
Typically, most new employees receive little more than “This is our keypad, punch your code in here and hit enter”. There is a lot more to understand about your commercial security system. They should be trained on what to do when an alarm goes off, where the sensors are located, and who to contact if there is an emergency. We recommend having your security provider review your protocols with your staff on an annual basis.
Improper Installation and/or Unmaintained Equipment
When choosing a company to work with to install your security equipment at your business, you should have an extensive vetting process. This is the safety and security of your business after all. There are many poorly trained and uninsured fly-by-night security “companies”. Make sure you ask your provider if they are insured, have proper certifications, ask for references and understand what their training process is.
Home Owner Security False Alarm Causes:
Incorrect Keypad Codes
It’s easy to understand how people can forget, misplace, or just don’t know their keypad codes. Once an alarm sounds and your adrenaline starts going, it can be hard to think about what your code is. Make sure your codes are somewhere you can reference easily but securely and provide each user with a unique code that they can remember.
Improperly Securing Doors and Windows
Turning a home security system on before making sure the doors and windows are secured is an all too common way to cause a false alarm. At Tasco Security, we always review where our sensors are located and how the windows and doors should be set BEFORE you set the alarm. It only takes a minute to review but this simple step can be overlooked.
DIY Home security kits like Ring for doorbells, Simplisafe, and Arlo are easily accessible and cheap. Their attractive marketing tactics make them seem easy to install and use. However, we find that we are consistently having to replace these systems for new clients because the installation was done improperly. Many homeowners have issues getting the cameras to cover the areas they want and getting them to properly synch with the right technology is not as easy as it looks on the box. Leave the security of your home to the pros, not a slick-looking camera in a box.
Pay attention to your door and window contacts, these are a crucial part of your security system. If the gap between the magnet or transmitter is too big this can lead to a false alarm. Additionally, using tape to attach a magnet or transmitter is not advisable and is a sign of poor installation standards.
Preventative Steps to Reduce False Alarms:
In conjunction with your local security provider, like Tasco Security, come up with a training plan and document that you can share with stakeholders. Review and update the plan regularly.
Work with a reputable and professional alarm installation company
We can’t say it enough, vet your security provider. Ask them for references, make sure they are insured, and have them show you how an alarm is handled when tripped. Also, make sure you understand your contract before signing it.
Keep your monitoring center updated on changes in codes and/or users
If you add users or if you change your codes want to make sure your monitoring center is aware of changes like this. Monitoring centers do a fantastic job, but they go off the information provided to them. Make sure you keep them up to date. A video camera system is also great to verify false alarms.