How To Prevent False Alarms

False alarms can be caused by a variety of factors. Situations such as user error, low/dead batteries, improper installation or lack of maintenance on equipment can all contribute.

Not only can this lead to unwanted dispatch to your home or business but can lead to costly false alarm fees from your local municipality. Nobody wants that. So what can be done to help prevent false alarms?

Below is a list of examples outlining common false alarm causes and how to prevent them.

Knowing the panel’s Disarm Code
Oftentimes, false alarms occur when someone who should be on site does not know the disarm code. A big first step is having each person who should have access be familiar with the disarm code and how to use the panel to disarm.

  • Familiarize everyone on how to enter the code to disarm the panel, especially when the alarm has been tripped and the siren is sounding (with your central station account on test) to get a feel for a real life situation.

Understanding how the panel’s Duress Code works

Many panels have a user code called a Duress or Panic code. This code, when entered at the disarm panel screen, will disarm the system but also send a panic alert to the central station. This is commonly used to combat a holdup type situation.

Entering this code will cause police to be sent to your location and can be a huge headache when unexpected. Check your panel’s instruction manual to see if a Duress code is optional and in use.

  • For 2GIG panels the Duress User Code is User Code 8
    • On the Go!Control/GC2, there is a “Secret Duress Button.” By clicking on the logo button (Installer Toolbox) while the system is armed, you can disarm with any code and send a duress.

Know your Professional Monitoring account verbal password(s)

This is another big one that gets overlooked. Whether you choose to use one universal all clear password or one assigned to each contact on your list. These passwords get forgotten when long periods of time pass between the need to relay these codes to monitoring operators.

  • Make sure everyone knows their verbal password and review it regularly
  • Should a password be forgotten, it can be viewed or altered via the System Manager feature of your Surety account dashboard, through the Professional Monitoring tab.

Motion Detectors and Pets

Motion detectors are a great way to monitor the area for unwanted motion, however, they can also be the cause for unwanted alarms as well, especially when pets are involved.

  • With dogs, look for a PIR motion detector for pet immunity, especially with a weight selector to help rule out your dog based on its size.
  • The higher a pet is physically in relation to the detector, the more likely it will set it off regardless of pet immunity. Cats are hard to keep from setting off motion detectors.
    • If pets tend to climb on furniture in view of the detector, false alarms will occur. If this is the case, adjusting the detector so that the furniture the pet climbs on is out of range is a good option.

Motion Detectors and the Environment

Because of how motion detectors function, keeping its field of view clean and clear is very important. Always be sure to follow the sensor’s mounting instructions and keep in mind the following:

  • When mounted near hvac vents, be sure to keep the motion pointed away from the vent as the heat coming out can actually cause a false alarm.
  • Keep the Motion Detector clean! It’s very easy for cobwebs to crop up, especially around typical mounting locations for Motion Detectors. Moving cobwebs, or even bugs on the lens, can trigger false alarms.

Battery Levels

While not as obvious as some of the others on this list, a low battery in a sensor has been known to trigger a false alarm when the panel is armed. Always be sure to follow the instruction manual when it comes to battery life and battery type and be sure to check battery levels every so often.

Be Sure to Follow Up on False Alarms

So a false alarm occurred, it happens, but what you do going forward is crucial. Ascertain and understand what part of your system caused the false alarm to occur so that you are less likely to have that false alarm again in the future. Should you be unable to determine the root cause of the false alarm, just let us know so we can provide more insight.