An alarm system can bring you a sense of security and peace of mind and is effective with proper installation, adequate training and regular maintenance.
Poorly used, installed or maintained systems can cause significant problems for the consumer and public safety officials alike. Therefore, it is important for alarm users to do their homework before buying and installing an alarm system.
For More Information on how to avoid false alarms visit the FARA Alarm User Site
User Training Video
NESA worked with the North Texas Alarm Association, Texas Burglar & Fire Alarm Association and the False Alarm Reduction Association to create a video that can be used to train alarm users about false alarms.
What is a False Alarm?
- For A Burglar or Holdup Alarm: A false alarm is notification of an alarm to law enforcement when the responding authority finds no evidence of criminal offense or attempted criminal offense.
- For a Fire Alarm: The activation of any fire alarm system which results in a response by the fire department and which is caused by the negligence or intentional misuse of the fire alarm system by the owner, its employees, agents or any other activation of a fire alarm system not caused by heat, smoke or fire.
False Alarms Are A Problem
- Cost You: False alarms cost system users $$$.
- Waste: False alarms waste valuable public safety resources.
- Delay Response: False alarms can delay response when you really need it.
- Complacency: Frequent false alarms tend to make responders complacent. Complacency leads to carelessness. Carelessness injures law enforcement & firefighters.
- Cry Wolf: Can desensitize the community to actual incidents and lead occupants and others to ignore the alarm when it goes off.
- Can discourage use of alarms: False alarms make owners reluctant to use their system, exposing their home, facility or business to fire and property damage.
How Can I Reduce False Alarms?
There are several successful false alarm reduction techniques that have been proven to reduce the likelihood of false alarms.
Train all Users
Fix Any Problems
Use ECV - Enhanced Call Verification
Update Contact Info
If You Give Them A Key - Give Them the Codes
Follow the ANSI/SIA Control Panel Standard (CP-01)
Take Care With Pets
Check On Any Displays
Take Care When Rearranging
Check Before Remodeling
Check Your Batteries
Use Video or Audio Verification
False Alarm Questions & Answers
Here are some common questions and answers
Should Storms Cause A False Alarm?
How Should I Use Duress, Hold-Up & Panic Alarms?
When NOT to use your duress, hold-up or panic alarm:
- When you need fire or medical assistance
- To check to see how long it takes law enforcement officers to respond
- When someone has shoplifted merchandise
- To report a fight in the parking lot
- When an underage person attempts to buy alcohol
- To report that a vehicle has been stolen
- Any other circumstance in which you are not in a life-threatening or emergency situation
When it is appropriate to use your duress, hold-up or panic alarm:
- In emergency situations when you are unable to dial 9-1-1 for law enforcement assistance
- During a robbery or hold-up in progress
- When you are physically threatened
What is Video Verification?
Video can also be sent to an alarm users cell phone to allow the user to see what is going on. This allows the user to cancel an alarm if they know it is a false alarm.
What Is Audio Verification?
- Listen-in Audio: When a security device has been activated, such as a door contact or motion detector, etc., the listen-in device is also turned on to allow the monitoring center to hear what is happening at the protected premises.
- Two-Way Audio: A hands free communication session takes place between the alarm user and monitoring center to assist in determining the cause of an alarm activation in the protected premise. This method is most commonly used with the alarm user’s keypad.
- Impact Activated Audio: Sounds are transmitted to the monitoring center from the protected premise by an audio sensor, which is capable of hearing the sounds of an actual intrusion as it is taking place. This is different from the listen-in capability in that no other security device needs to be activated for this technology to function.
How Can Disasters Impact Alarm Systems?
- If you install a generator to prepare for power outages, discuss with your alarm company how to connect the alarm system, as well as the procedures to follow before a disaster occurs.
- Ensure that your contact list and information is always kept current. You should contact your alarm company at least once per year to update.
If you relocate in an emergency, contact your alarm company with phone numbers of where you can be reached and provide them with the phone number of a contact person outside the immediate area, if available.