Alarm systems: How to avoid false alarms

Intruder alarms are a great way of alerting that someone is trespassing on your business. However, if your business is equipped with an intruder alarm, there is a chance that you will experience a false alarm.

False alarms are a lot more than just a nuisance-they can put a strain on emergency services and could potentially incur costly fees.

So, what are the causes of a false alarm?

User error

It’s estimated that 70% of false alarms are caused by user error. This is both a good and a bad thing. On the positive, this means that 70% of false alarms can be eliminated and quickly dealt with – with proper training.

To reduce the number of user errors and false alarms, it’s important that staff are properly trained (especially those who are earliest in and the last to leave) and informed of the most up to date passcodes, as well as showing them how to unlock and lock your business properly, arm and disarm the alarm, and silence any false alarms.

Motion detectors

Motion detectors are a great way to ensure that you have no unwelcome guests walking around inside your business. However, sensors now are incredibly sensitive to the slightest of movement – which can cause issues.

People aren’t the only things that move. Falling objects (unbalanced paper, umbrellas, coats, etc), object such as blinds or balloons moving in a breeze and even large insects have been known to set off motion detectors.

To minimise the chance of false motion detection, you should ensure that your office is clean and tidy if anything that could potentially activate the sensor before leaving. Moving objects from air conditioning and remove any insects as soon as possible.

Unsecured doors and windows

Most alarm systems will be connected to censored doors and windows. If one or of these doors or windows is poorly fitted, a false alarm may be triggered. This is because ill-fitting doors and windows may be able to move the slightest (even when closed) triggering sensors especially if there is bad weather conditions or someone slams a door somewhere else within the building.

To reduce the chance or windows and doors setting off your alarm, make sure that all doors and windows are properly fitted. Meaning that when they are closed there is very little to no movement when pushed or pulled.

How to reduce false alarms

Even though the main culprits for false alarms have been highlighted, there are some other things you can do to reduce the chances of experiencing a false alarm.

Carry out routine maintenance – False alarms can be triggered by a fault within your systems. Simple things like batteries running out, short-circuiting or damage. Carrying out regular checks can ensure that these don’t happen. If you have an older alarm system – it may be liable to falsely alerts so it may be a good idea to upgrade to a newer system.

Keep everyone in the loop – if you make any changes to your system, it is best to notify your monitoring service provider. This includes adding or changing passcodes, adding or removing authorised users and making changes to arming times/locations.

Enforce entry/exit procedures – it’s important to inform employees of which entrances and exits they are permitted to use and what times. Make sure that employees lock all doors and windows correctly before leaving and show authorised users how to properly arm the system before leaving.

Log all false alarms – If your alarm system is falsely alerting on a regular basis, make sure that you record the time and dates of every occurrence. This will help you work out why your alarm system is falsely alerting and allow you to put measures in place to prevent it from happening again.

Make sure your system is properly installed – when having a new alarm system installed, ensure it is being installed by a certified security provider. An alarm system that hasn’t been installed correctly is far more likely to falsely alert.

A&R Security services provide alarm response and secure key holding services to businesses in Cardiff, Swansea, Newport, Bridgend, RCT, and South Wales. For more information about our services call us on 01656 333343 or visit our security homepage.