According to the NFPA, in 2012 the U.S. Fire Department responded to 2,238,000 false alarms. From 2012 until 2018 there has been a 464% increase in response traffic to alarm systems. That’s about 40 million calls on average per year. Two billion dollars each year is spent responding to false alarms, and it takes two police twenty minutes for each call. False alarms can take an incredible toll on your local emergency department resources. There are plenty of proactive, routine actions each and every alarm system owner can take to reduce false alarms, and their impact on community first responders. We can all do our part!
As Michigan’s largest family-owned alarm systems provider, we wanted to give you some ideas about how you can minimize false alarms in your home or business.
Understanding your system
In both commercial and residential areas the most common cause for false alarms is confusion about the functions of the security system and how to disarm it. Reducing false alarms can be as simple as understanding the procedure your security provider follows during an alarm and being prepared to respond when you are contacted by the monitoring center; specifically our 24/7/365 award winning EPS Security Monitoring Center and Operator staff.
Fire alarm procedure:
- An alarm event signal is sent to the EPS Monitoring Center
- The EPS Monitoring Center immediately dispatches the fire department
- Any listed contacts for the fire alarm system are then contacted
Intrusion alarm procedure:
- A signal is sent to the monitoring center
- The Monitoring Center will call the listed contacts of the EPS alarm system to verify the alarm and dispatch emergency responders or authorities as necessary
- If the contacts cannot be reached authorities will be dispatched
- Note: you can customize your intrusion alarm procedure to dispatch immediately without calling the listed contacts prior to dispatch
If you accidentally set off your alarm you should immediately disarm the system and be prepared to answer the phone when the EPS Monitoring Center calls. This allows our operators to verify a false alarm and the customer to refuse dispatching of police.
All alarm system customers should routinely update their contact list with EPS so the correct person is contacted immediately during an alarm event. We suggest updating this list at least twice a year or whenever changes occur. EPS Customers can find a copy of their contact list (and modify it) by logging into My Account.
Additional Note: The primary user of the security system should be present when it is installed as the technician will be able to give you an overview of the system, its functions, and will answer any additional questions so you can be knowledgeable about your security system and how to use it.
It’s a good idea to test your system regularly to check for low batteries, or trouble conditions, and you can do this yourself! By setting your system to test mode and setting off the alarms, everything will work as it normally would in a real emergency, however, it will not contact the monitoring center or dispatch authorities. You should be changing your batteries ever three to five years, so regular testing allows you to make sure your batteries and alarm system are functional for the event of a real emergency. Low batteries in an EPS system will not cause false alarms. However, if you do have a low battery a notification will be sent to our monitoring center and we will contact you in order to change the battery and do a regular inspection. Be prepared! A low battery puts your alarm system at risk… If EPS receives a low battery signal, we will be contacting you.
Commercial systems can be tested for battery life by our technicians. We recommend you have a technicians check your EPS Security System while they are performing your routine fire alarm testing. It is critical to have your alarm system checked regularly to ensure it is functioning properly.
Lyric: EPS Security customers with a Lyric™ control panel can access battery life and signal strength indicators on their touch screen keypad under the “devices” menu.
- Inform your guests of your security system if they will be there when you are not home! If you are expecting guests and your alarm system is armed you can either share the arming code with them so they can disarm it upon arrival, or you can turn it off remotely via Total Connect. Some EPS Customers create special “guest” codes with restricted rights for house cleaners, babysitters and other non-family persons who may access the home. Many false alarms are caused by welcome guests being unaware of an active alarm system.
- Everyone who lives in your household should know how to use the alarm system. Busy schedules means everyone is in and out of the house at different times. If your family knows how to arm and disarm the system the possibility of setting off a false alarm decreases.
- Update your system. Over the past decade security systems have improved a lot in terms of safety and security. With mobile communication, higher quality technology, and more sensitive motion detection, up-to-date systems are made to be more selective in determining threatening and non-threatening events. Simply updating your system could make the difference in reducing false alarms.
- Include the EPS Monitoring Center as a listed contact in your phone. If the EPS Monitoring Center is attempting to contact you directly, it’s probably a time sensitive or emergency call and should be treated as such. Adding the EPS Monitoring center as a contact reduces the risk of treating a call as an unknown caller.
- Store your alarm system passcode on a secured device such as a password protected cell phone for quick reference.
Why chose EPS Security?
Choosing the right company to install your security system plays a big role in reducing false alarms. EPS Security will install your security system the right way the first time and we will teach you how to use your system so you are fully aware of its functions. By minimizing or eliminating false alarms you are helping your community’s emergency response team help people when it really matters.
For more information about how we can help you, click on the links below!