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Alarm Tips

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A cruiser looking at a house

What is a False Alarm?

A false alarm is an alarm call for service in which police determine the alarm was caused by anything other than a criminal offence, medical or fire emergency.  The most common causes of false alarms include user error, faulty equipment and household pets.

How Can I Prevent False Alarms?

  • Ensure everyone using the alarm system is aware of how it operates.
  • Ensure that service workers know you have an alarm system.
  • Secure all doors and windows before turning on your alarm system.
  • Be aware of changes in environment (i.e. seasonal decorations, plants, design changes, pets, etc.).
  • Replace batteries in panic buttons and wireless sensors at least once a year.
  • Replace the battery in the control panel every three to five years.
  • Have your alarm system routinely inspected and maintained by qualified service people.
  • Provide your alarm company with a complete and current list of key holders and up-to-date contacts.
  • Notify your alarm company if you have any new pets.
  • Check all door and window contacts and ensure they are tight and secure.
  • Dust around motion detectors on a regular basis, making sure there are no bugs or spiders inside motion detectors.
  • Test your alarm system connection with the central station once a month.
  • Contact your alarm company prior to testing your system.

Alarm System Checklist

It is important for consumers to do their homework before purchasing an alarm system. Please review the following checklist before making the investment:

  • Have you talked to more than two different alarm companies?
  • Will they provide references?
  • Are the installation company and the monitoring company ULC listed?
  • Do you know how and where the alarm system is monitored?
  • Have criminal background checks been completed on the installers and sales personnel? Is there an operating manual offered with the alarm system?
  • Is there a five to ten day testing period available during which you can practice using the system without police being dispatched? Statistics show that there is a higher rate of false alarms during the first few days of installation.
  • What are the verification options and the dispatch cancellation procedures?
  • Will the alarm system be able to identify which area the signal is coming from? This allows service to target the problem area to be addressed.
  • Does the alarm system have an audible device? This is not only a deterrent but, also notifies you of an alarm situation.
  • Is the system equipped with dual action panic buttons (not just one) to minimize an accidental trip?
  • Have they advised you of the York Regional Police Alarm Response Policy?