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The Big Deal About False Alarms

October 3, 2011


What is a False Alarm?

An alarm distpatch request to a law enforcement agency when the responding law enforcement officer finds no evidence of a criminal offense or attempted criminal offense.

What is the big deal about False Alarms? 

Though alarm systems are effective with proper installation, training, and maintenance, false alarms are a tremendous drain on public safety resources and can cause strained relationships between you and public safety. 

False Alarms exhaust the resources of police, fire and emergency personnel and keep them from responding to actual emergencies.

False Alarms increase costs for taxpayers, security service providers and users, requiring additional personnel to respond to alarms.

False Alarms can carry fines and can lead to denial of service.

This is what you read on The Edmonton Police Service website:

False Alarms

When an alarm system generates four false alarms within a period of twelve months, the alarm permit co-ordinator will suspend the alarm system for a period of three months.

An application for reinstatement, along with an application fee of $30, is required before the permit will be reinstated.

If the response fee is not paid within 30 days of receipt of the police notice indicating that the Edmonton Police Service responded to a false alarm at the permit holder’s residence or business, the alarm system permit is terminated.

Consumers need to take responsibility for their alarm systems and be aware of the ramifications of false alarms and how they affect public safety response.

The 10 Most Common Causes of False Alarms

  1. Errors by employees, cleaning crews, friends, caretakers, maintenance employees, delivery personnel, contractors, landscapers and apartment management.
  2. Relatives with a key to the home who have no knowledge of your alarm system.
  3. Pets, rodents, bugs and/or wildlife.
  4. Items within your home or business that move into the path of a motion sensor, i.e., balloons, signs, curtains, holiday decorations, etc.
  5. Open, unlatched or defective doors or windows.
  6. User error.
  7. Faulty, defective or malfunctioning equipment.
  8. Lack of adequate training.
  9. Lack of proper maintenance, including battery replacements.
  10. Questionable system design and equipment installation practices.

You can be part of the solution and avoid becoming part of the false alarm problem by asking some simple questions.

3 Important Questions to ask Alarm Companies before buying an Alarm System

  1. Ask each alarm company how the system they propose avoids false alarms.
  2. Ask how you can operate the alarm system in order to avoid false alarms.
  3. Ask your local police department what the false alarm rate is for the company you are considering.

The Edmonton Police Service website recommends the following:

Helpful False Alarm Reduction Tips

  • Please be aware that Key Fobs in pockets & purses quite often get pressed in error causing false alarms.
  • Don’t allow your infants to play with your keys, as they may set off a PANIC ALARM from your Key Fob.
  • Ensure that if you give someone your Home or Business key, you give them your ALARM CODE.
  • Teach everyone in the Home or Business how to use the alarm.
  • If your ALARM is set off in error CALL YOUR ALARM COOMPANY ASAP to let them know it was an error.
  • If your telephone rings after you have set your alarm off by accident, ANSWER IT, it may by your alarm company trying to verify that everything is ok at your Home or Business.
  • Most importantly KEEP YOUR CONTACT NUMBERS UP TODATE WITH YOUR ALARM COMPANY. (Cells, work numbers, key holder information).

False Alarm Reduction Tips

An alarm system will bring you a sense of security and peace of mind and is effective with propber installation, adequate training  and regular maintenance.

Poorly used, installed or maintained systems can cause significant problems for the consumer.  Therefore, you want to do your homework before buying and installing an alarm system.

If you don’t have a security system, if your current system is not monitored or if you are not happy with your current security provider, call me for a free, no-obligation consultation.
You will be glad you did!
Ulli Robson, Security Specialist, (780) 288-2986

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  1. len permalink

    The main issue with police is not the fact that a majority of alarms are false but the fact in approx 25-30% of the alarms. The police or alarm companies can get ahold of a person to deal with the alarm. It is important to have a contact number/name just in-case someone is needed to check on the alarm or to assist police in securing their property. Also to keep the contact list up to date with the alarm company.

  2. Hey Friend,

    Well put together blog. I will post a link on my facebook page.

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