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A false alarm occurs when your security system signals your alarm monitoring company that there’s a problem at your house, when there isn’t one. That company might call the police, who come to your home for nothing. Learning what causes false alarms is a good first step toward preventing them.

Here’s how to prevent false alarms:

  • Teach everyone in your family how to properly use the alarm system and what to do if someone sets it off by accident. Make sure everyone knows the passwords for the alarm’s keypad. Punching in the wrong code can trigger an alarm. 
  • Keep the phone number for your security monitoring company near the phone or the alarm’s keypad so you can call it in a hurry to cancel a false alarm.  
  • Lock all windows and doors before you arm your system. An unlocked entry can trigger a false alarm. A tip: Extreme heat can cause window and door frames to swell or bow. That can loosen your lock and trigger a false alarm. Check yours regularly.
  • Regularly update your contact information with your monitoring company so you’re easy to reach if your home has a problem. If the company can’t reach you, someone there probably will call the police.
  • If you have cats, don’t use motion detectors. Cats trigger tons of false alarms.
  • So do balloons. Don’t leave a balloon in a room that has a motion detector.

Like many cities, Phoenix and Tucson may issue a fine to the homeowner, when police or fire officials wind up responding to a false alarm triggered by a security system.


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