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On average, between 94 and 99% of all alarm activations are false alarms. This means that reaction officers spend most of their day responding to false alarms.
Stuart Clarkson, Managing Executive of Fidelity ADT says since false alarms are so prevalent, the resources security companies have available to respond to emergencies are placed under pressure.
“The six most common causes of false alarms are: faulty equipment, human error, low batteries, doors and windows not secured correctly, incorrect installation, and pets, rodents or insects triggering the alarm,” he points out.
“Most, if not all, of these causes can be addressed so I urge residents and business owners to speak to their security provider and assist in the reduction of false alarms. Residents definitely need to become more conscious about the impact of false alarms.”
Clarkson says getting the right security system and learning how to use it correctly is essential. He also says that appropriately training those with access to the system will greatly reduce the chances of regular false alarms.
“After a false alarm occurs, it is important to take the time to determine what triggered the alarm and to implement measures to ensure that the action is avoided in future. If the false alarm cannot be determined, you should monitor the situation and ascertain a pattern such as weather conditions, time of day etc,” he says. “It is also important to regularly test your alarm system and all its components. Contact your security provider to have old and faulty equipment replaced.”
Clarkson offers the following tips on how to further reduce the chances of false alarms:
- Ensure all windows and doors are secure before setting the alarm.
- Spray insect repellent around sensors and detectors frequently.
- Periodically test the home security system to ensure equipment is working appropriately.
- Ensure that panic buttons or other emergency activation features are out of reach of children.
- Check the batteries of any wireless devices and the backup power to the primary keypad.
- Make sure to read and familiarise yourself with the alarm user manual. Store this in a place where you can access it at any time.
- Be mindful of environmental changes (new pets, plants, decorations etc.) that may affect the system or its sensors.
- Inform your security provider if you expect to be away from home for an extended period of time.
“We realise that false alarms will happen from time to time. Cancelling the alarm call out telephonically before a response vehicle is dispatched, will greatly assist in reducing the pressure caused by false alarms. Ultimately, however, you want to get to the root of the problem. Please remember that you would want the fastest reaction time in the event of an emergency so help us provide this by reducing false alarms and ensuring our resources are deployed where they are needed most – to emergencies,” he concludes.