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How To Eliminate False Alarms

False alarms are a problem for everyone. If every alarm user has just a few false alarms, Scottsdale will end up with thousands of false alarms and waste hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of police resources.

Here are 40 ways that an alarm user can eliminate false alarms in their home or business. Following these steps will save vital police resources and improve the effectiveness of everyone's alarm systems.

Alarm Installation

  • Have your alarm installed by a qualified company, which is licensed by the City of Scottsdale. Check references, and get a business address of the Alarm Company. You may want to visit the Alarm Company's facility to ensure that they are a well-established company who will be around after the installation is complete.
  • Use dual technology sensors whenever possible. This is where the sensor has more than one type of detector, which must be activated before an alarm signal is sent.
  • Make sure all motion detectors have a second sensor on the same circuit to verify the first sensor in the event of false
  • Install an alarm system with two-way voice communication. This will allow the Alarm Company to hear what's going on when the alarm is activated.
  • Make sure your alarm system is installed with at least 22 AWG conductors. (The National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association Standard).
  • Program door alarm sensors to have at least a 45 second delay before they activate.
  • Make sure that any panic buttons are not accessible to children, who might push them out of curiosity.

Alarms System Operations

  • Have your alarm system maintained and inspected once each year. During this inspection, make sure that all door and window contacts meet properly and all batteries are checked or replaced.
  • Inspect your motion detectors, door and window contacts, alarm screen or any other alarm components for dust, spider webs, moisture or anything else that might interfere with proper operation.
  • In the event of a false alarm, find out what caused it and take steps to ensure that it does not happen again.
  • Be especially watchful and alert after any unexplained alarm activation.
  • Rehearse alarm cancellation procedures with anyone who might use your alarm system.
  • Cancel all false alarms immediately.
  • Do not use 1+ duress alarms. This is where only one number to signal a duress call changes the usual alarm activation code.
  • Have the alarm system user's manual available to all users.
  • In businesses, make sure you immediately switch off any answering devices and your alarm system upon opening so that the Alarm Company will not call and get your answering machine after alarm activation and send out the police.
  • Make sure the alarm panel transformer is plugged into a 24-hour outlet. If you power is to be off for more than 10 hours, call your alarm company.
  • Make sure that your alarm system can send a signal to the monitoring facility informing them of a power outage at your residence or business.

Alarm Company Dealings

  • Have your alarm company provide you with an orientation and training.
  • Make sure your alarm company verifies all alarm activations.
  • Instruct your alarm company to not call in alarm responses for the first 1 to 4 weeks after your alarm is installed. This will give you time to work out the bugs in the system, as well as develop you own routines for using the alarm system. This may also save false alarm service fees due to user error.
  • Work with your alarm company to test you alarm system monthly.
  • When construction or repairs are scheduled on your home or business, call your alarm company and alert them not to dispatch during the construction period.
  • Give your monitoring company detailed instruction about who to call when your alarm is activated, and what they should do when they receive and alarm signal.
    Periodically check with your monitoring company to ensure that your call list is up to date.
  • Notify monitoring facility of unscheduled business openings and closings.
  • Notify your alarm company if you will be away from home for an extended period of time. Also, notify them when you return. Give them your revised call list for the period while you are away.
  • Verify alarm cancellation procedures with your alarm company.
  • Confirm any unusual agreements with you alarm company in writing.

Home and Building Management

  • Make sure that pets are not loose in a room that has motion detectors.
  • Do not leave balloons or other movable items in a room that has a motion sensor.
  • Be aware of changes in your environment and how they affect you alarm system. New pets, design changes, new houseplants, air conditioning usage, and promotional or holiday displays can all set off an alarm system.
  • Make sure that all your doors and windows latch securely to eliminate false alarms from wind or from someone accidentally jiggling your door.
  • Install and use dead-bolt locks.
  • Eliminate any rodent or other pest or insect problem from your home or business. These are common cause of alarm activation.
  • Quickly repair broken windows or holes in roofs to ensure that birds, cats, or other animals can't enter and set off your alarm.
  • Ensure that everyone who uses your alarm system has been trained in its operation and knows the code word. This includes employees, janitors, delivery personnel, domestic help etc.
  • Call a reliable locksmith and ask for an evaluation of the locking devices in your home or business.
  • Attend Alarm School. This is a two-hour class where you can learn more about eliminating false alarms, alarm system operation, and the City's alarm ordinance. Those who attend alarm school and have a valid permit can have one false alarm fee waived. (View Alarm School schedule)
  • Finally, call your alarm company or the Scottsdale Police Alarm Coordinator at 480-312-5087.