Alarms FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some questions and answers to help you prevent false alarms.

Q. What is a False Alarm?

A. A false alarm means the activation of an alarm system where in the opinion of the Alarm Coordinator, no emergency or evidence of criminal activity exists at the premises at which the alarm system is installed and includes the activating or testing of an alarm without notification and alarms triggered by natural causes or conditions.

Q. What are the common causes of false alarms?

A.  The common causes of false alarms are as follows:

  1. Inadequate training of people allowed to access your security system (children, neighbours, cleaning personnel, real estate agents, guests, relatives, babysitters, service and delivery personnel, etc.)
  2. Weak system batteries.
  3. Open, unlocked or loose fitting doors and windows.
  4. Drafts from heaters and air condition systems that move plants, curtains, balloons, etc.
  5. Pets

Q. Why are false alarms a problem?

A. Alarms were originally designed to protect lives and property. Properly installed, used and maintained, alarms are a real asset. When misused, they become a liability. Police as well as the security companies, must spend a significant amount of time and money reacting to false alarms. The system users also experience the inconvenience of false alarms and the assessment of fees.

A false alarm can endanger responding officers and the whole community. It may delay the officers from responding to a real emergency.

False alarms can lead neighbours to ignore your alarm when it goes off. In effect, your security system becomes less reliable and less credible.

False alarms make you reluctant to arm your system, in effect exposing your home or business to undetected theft or damage.

False alarms cost you.

Q. How can I help prevent false alarms?

A. To prevent false alarms, before activating your system, please do the following:

  1. Lock all doors and windows.
  2. Keep pets, balloons, fans, heaters, plants, curtains, seasonal decorations, or other obstructions away from motion sensor areas.
  3. Know how to cancel the alarm if the system activates.
  4. Educate all of your alarm system users.  All users, key holders or any person with legal access to your property must be thoroughly trained in how to operate your system, including knowledge of correct arming codes, pass codes, telephone numbers and procedures for canceling accidental alarm activations.
  5. Have your security company check and service your system regularly.  Routine maintenance can help prevent many false alarms.
  6. Notify your security company if: you think your system isn't working properly, if you plan any remodeling, including replacing doors or windows, hanging drywall, sanding floors, installing attic flooring or basement ceiling, if you are changing phone systems, installing intercoms, siding, ceiling fans or skylight, fumigating, installing wiring for cable or other electronics, installing anything near the system control panel or keypads.
  7. Also notify your security company if you hire service providers, get a new pet, plan to sell your house, or are testing your system.
  8. Your central monitoring station should not request a police dispatch for power outages, low battery signals or loss of telephone connections.
  9. Replace old police direct-connect monitoring equipment with newer, high security monitoring technology. Dirty or wet phone lines, telephone repairmen and service interruptions do not require police response.
  10. Upgrade old alarm systems to current equipment conforming to Security Industry Association (SIA) false alarm prevention standards, further reducing false alarms.


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