After a False Alarm

What to Do After a False Alarm

When an alarm is activated, most systems will send a signal to a monitoring station. If the alarm is a mistake, it is important for the user to communicate with the monitoring station to make sure that no police dispatch request is made.

To Call or Not to Call?

Unfortunately, the alarm system often uses the same phone line to send in the alarm signal that the user would use to call the monitoring station. This is why many alarm companies will instruct users to wait for them to call after the alarm. Some companies want users to call them as soon as the line clears. Tell the alarm users to learn what their company’s procedure is so they will be ready if they have an alarm.

Stay Put

Users should not leave the alarm site until they have spoken with their monitoring station and assured them there is no emergency.

Be Prepared

When you make contact with the monitoring station, you will need to verify that the user is an authorized user. All alarm users should know how to identify themselves to the alarm company.

It May Not Be Too Late When The Alarm Sounds

If the user enters their disarm code fast enough, some systems will stop the alarm signal before it is sent to the monitoring station. Other systems may change the type of signal that is sent so that the monitoring station knows there is no emergency. In any case, turning off the alarm as fast as possible after a mistake is a good idea.


Users should follow-up after each alarm to determine what caused it. Was it a simple user error or is it a problem with the system that might cause another false alarm? Users should not set the alarm system after a false alarm until the fault has been identified and rectified.

Take Corrective Action

Users should talk with their alarm company and take action to do their best to prevent another alarm. Users should be retrained and/or the system should be changed to address the problem.

Update Records

Users should make sure that the alarm company has the best phone numbers to call to reach someone in the event of an alarm.

Implement Enhanced Call Verification

Users should make sure that their alarm company makes a second call to an authorized person (preferably a cell phone) before making a dispatch request.

Consider Cross Zoning

This is an alarm monitoring technique that requires more than one zone in your burglar alarm system to fault or trip before public safety is notified.

  • For example, a perimeter and an interior motion alarm would both have to trip within a specified period of time in order to summon public safety. In this situation, if an interior motion trips but the perimeter does not, the alarm company will not request a public safety dispatch.
  • The reasoning behind cross zoning is that an actual burglar at the alarm site will trip more than one zone, whereas a loose pet, decoration, balloon or insect may not.
  • This technique is most helpful when there is an unidentified problem with the alarm system or when you are waiting for service or repairs but still desire alarm system protection.
  • Call your alarm company to discuss if this option is right for you.

How to Deal with Storms

  • Power surges and lightning strikes should not cause false alarms!
  • False alarms caused by lightning strikes are controllable through the proper grounding of alarm systems and the use of power AND phone line surge suppressors.
  • Power outages or interruption of power should not cause false alarms!

What to Do

Contact your alarm dealer and follow these simple steps:

  • Use of surge suppressors greatly reduces false alarms by redirecting and dissipating electrical current to the ground.
  • Repair loose fitting doors and windows.
  • Ensure that all alarm contacts are firmly in place.
  • Use wide-gap door and window contacts.
  • Use surge protectors/suppressors on both the alarm system and the phone line sending the alarm signal to the monitoring center.
  • Ensure that the battery back-up protection is in good working order, is fully charged and will hold that charge for a minimum of four hours.
  • Ensure that your alarm system is properly grounded.