Commercial establishments have unique circumstances, which contribute to the false alarm problem. These circumstances include frequent employee turnover, constant public access, daily opening and closing procedures, working with multiple goods and service providers, and use of janitorial services.
Actions you can take to reduce the costs of false alarms to your business and the community:
- User training
- Ensure alarm system components are proper for the environment
- Install an audible alarm which will sound at the site when the system is activated
- Talk to your alarm provider and become educated on the design and use of YOUR security system.
- Ensure your alarm system identifies to the monitoring company the device that caused the alarm activation and its location.
- Ensure stock is securely stored on shelves.
- Communicate business hours to your monitoring company.
- Install equipment to make activation easy when needed, but safe from accidental trips.
- Consider the use of internal verification procedures. For example, upon an alarm activation (including robbery, holdup, duress, or panic alarms), the monitoring operator contacts your location to obtain a code word confirming or discontinuing the alarm activation prior to requesting law enforcement dispatch.
- Have your monitoring company use Enhanced Call Verification (ECV), which means that if no phone contact is made at the alarm site, they call a responsible party at a second phone number prior to requesting a police dispatch.
- Identify if problems are occurring during specific opening and/or closing times.
TIPS FOR BUSINESSES
- Fully train new system users! Hold monthly training sessions to teach proper operation and how to cancel accidental activations.
- Thoroughly train temporary holiday employees to avoid holiday-related false alarms.
- Look for items that can move within the “view” of your motion detectors, causing false alarms.
- Give special consideration to the installation of motion detectors in high bay areas with overhead doors, large exhaust fans or ceiling vents, which allow entry of birds.
- Ensure all doors and windows are secure and locked before arming your system.
- Ensure that floor mounted contacts are not being used on overhead/rollup doors. Instead, use track-mounted wide gap contacts on BOTH sides of the door. Require activation by BOTH contacts to trigger the alarm.
- Don’t change pass codes and/or arming codes without advising your authorized users. If a pass code is changed notify your alarm company.
- Your central monitoring station should not request a law enforcement dispatch for power outages, low battery signals or loss of telephone connections.
- Immediately contact your alarm provider if you alarm system is not working properly.
- Service and maintain your system (including batteries) regularly before false alarms occur.
- If your business requires hold-up protection, use dual-action devices only.
- Upgrade old alarm systems to current equipment that conform to Security Industry Association (SIA) false alarm prevention standards.