False dispatches: A nightmare for alarm companies, a nuisance for police officers, and a costly mistake for you. Here’s what happens when a false dispatch occurs and how you can prevent it from happening to you.
Consider this situation: You’ve purchased a brand new monitored alarm system. Everything is installed, you have your pass codes and you know how to use it—or so you think. A few weeks later you come home from work and mindlessly punch in the wrong code. Immediately you hear the audible alarm confirming the error. You try the code again and again. Thirty seconds have gone by and now your alarm monitoring company has been notified. The monitoring company thinks an intruder has entered your home. If you answer your phone when the monitoring company makes a verification call, you can avoid a penalty. You give your monitoring company your pass code and they disarm your system with the click of a mouse. However, if you can’t get to your phone and the monitoring company can’t verify that there is an emergency situation, they will immediately contact the police department on your behalf. Soon, you will see a police officer pull into your street and then it’s your turn to explain the accidental alarm. When the police or fire department responds to an alarm and does not find an emergency situation, it is considered a false dispatch. Depending on your city’s laws on false dispatches, you may be facing a fine of $50 or more.
Of course, user error isn’t the only way an alarm is accidentally triggered. Some other causes include unlocked or loose doors, people who have access to the home or office but don’t know how to operate the system (new employees, children, visitors, repairman, housekeepers, etc.), and wandering pets.
No matter what the cause is, each false dispatch wastes valuable time and resources of your community. Here’s how you can do your part to reduce false dispatches caused by accidental alarms:
- Make sure everyone in your home knows how to use the alarm system. Give temporary pass codes to repairmen who will be in and out of your home when you are not present.
- Keep hanging objects away from motion detectors.
- Before you arm your system, make sure all doors and windows are closed and locked.
- Regularly service and maintain your system. If you suspect something is wrong with your system, contact your alarm company immediately.
- Use video or audio in conjunction with your alarm system. This will allow the monitoring company to hear or see the premises and verify an intrusion or fire.
Above all, you are responsible for your alarm system. By using these tips, you can eliminate the risk of an accidental alarm and reduce false dispatches in your community. Click here for more ways to prevent accidentally triggering your alarm system.