Why are False Alarms a Problem?

False alarms take police, fire, and emergency personnel away from real emergencies. These unnecessary alarm responses can endanger responding authorities and your whole community.

This information is designed to help you assist us in reducing the instances of false alarms and help answer some of the questions you may have.

What Causes False Alarms?

A large majority of alarm calls are user error. This doesn’t mean you do not understand how to use your alarm, but circumstances happened to cause the false alarm. False activation of your system could result from:

  1. Air conditioner or heater coming on and quickly changing the temperature.
  2. A ceiling fan running in the area of a motion sensor.
  3. Open, unlocked, or loose fitting doors (These could be opened and resealed after alarm activation.)
  4. Drafts that move large leaf or runner plants, chandeliers, and curtains.
  5. Pets in an environment not properly set up for animals (Motion sensors with pet immunity are available.)
  6. Helium filled balloons and party decorations.
  7. Cleaning services not familiar with the system operation.
  8. Children playing with alarm controls.
  9. Activation of your alarm system and not having a valid code or password.
  10. Forgetting to notify your alarm company of contact number changes and important user information.

How Can You Help Prevent False Alarms?

  1. Make sure everyone using your security system understands how it works. Anyone who has a key to your home should know how to operate your system and the passcode.
  2. Know how to cancel your alarm if the system activates accidentally. Notify your alarm company immediately if you think your system isn’t working properly.
  3. Know how to bypass areas in need of repair.
  4. Have your alarm company check and service your system regularly. Routine maintenance can help prevent many false alarms. Remove any insects or foreign materials away from motion sensors (Also check behind.)
  5. If you do not understand features of your system, contact your
    alarm company, they are glad to help you understand your system.

Before Activating Your System:

Keep pets, balloons, electric fans, and heaters away from motion sensor areas. Lock all protected doors and windows. Allow adequate time to exit the door prior to the alarm system activating.

Call Your Alarm Company or Refer To Your Manual If You Plan To:

  • Replace doors or windows
  • Hang drywall
  • Paint or plaster
  • Sand floors or furniture
  • Install or remove wallpaper or carpet
  • Add air conditioner or insulation
  • Test your system
  • Sell your home or business
  • Get a new pet
  • Hire a cleaning service
  • Install attic flooring
  • Add DSL service or changing phone lines
  • Fumigate

Be Prepared:

  1. Rehearse alarm cancellation with anyone who might use your system.
  2. Know how to use your passcode when you contact or when you are contacted by your alarm company.
  3. Make sure that anyone with a key to your home knows how to use your system and has access and operation instructions.
  4. Keep your alarm system users manual and contact numbers for your alarm company handy.
  5. Cancel all false alarms, since they do not need emergency response.

Your community’s police officers and firefighters are ready to help when your system calls, but they need your help to prevent false alarms!

What If My Alarm Goes Off Accidentally?

  1. Don’t panic. Remember your alarm code.
  2. Determine if there really is a fire or an intruder.
  3. If the alarm activation was accidental, carefully turn off your system without delay. Carefully press each number of your user code.
  4. Know your alarm company’s dispatching procedures. You may have to wait for a call or make the call to the dispatch center yourself. Get this information from your alarm company before your alarm goes off.
  5. Be prepared to identify yourself with your passcode or abort code number. Without this information, your alarm company MUST dispatch.
  6. Don’t leave the premise until the situation is resolved and the alarm is canceled.

This information was prepared by the Houston Gulf Coast Alarm Association, Inc.