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Ways to eliminate false alarms

False alarms are a problem for everyone. In the City of Los Angeles, approximately 11% of the Los Angeles Police Department’s patrol force is wasted responding to false alarm calls. Following these steps will save vital police resources and improve the quality of police service to everyone in the City.
  1. Educate family or employees on the operation of the alarm system and the importance of eliminating false alarms. Make the alarm user’s manual available. Ensure that everyone who uses your alarm system knows the code and password.
  2. Rehearse alarm cancellation procedures with family/employees. When a false alarm occurs, deactivate the alarm system immediately.
  3. Submit an updated call list to your alarm company. Give detailed instructions to your alarm company about who to call when your alarm is activated. Notify them if you will be away for an extended period of time. Provide them with your revised call list for the period that you are away.
  4. Clarify the verification procedures on burglar alarm signals with your alarm company. Confirm in writing any special arrangements.
  5. Check motion sensors to be certain they are free of dust, spider webs, moisture or any mobile objects that may cause false alarms.
  6. Confine all pets to a room without a motion sensor. Do not leave helium balloons or other mobile items in a room with motion sensors. Be aware of changes in your environment and how they affect your alarm system. New pets, design changes, new house plants, heating or air conditioning usage and promotional or holiday displays can set off your alarm system.
  7. Eliminate any rodent, pest or other insect problem from your home or business. Quickly repair broken windows or holes in roofs to ensure that birds, cats, or other animals do not enter and set off your motion sensor.
  8. When construction or repairs are scheduled on your home or business, instruct your alarm company not to dispatch the Los Angeles Police Department during these periods.
  9. Latch all doors and windows securely to eliminate false alarms from wind or from someone merely jiggling the door.
  10. Have your alarm company extend the enter/exit delay times to at least 60 seconds.
  11. Have your alarm company eliminate the "+1" duress button on your alarm system. This means the usual alarm activation/deactivation code is changed by only one number to signal a panic or duress call. Make sure that panic buttons are not accessible to children who might push them out of curiosity.
  12. Check the standby battery backup to verify it is in good condition.
  13. Keep a regular maintenance schedule for the entire alarm system.
  14. In the event of a false alarm, find out what sensor activated and what caused it to activate. Take steps to ensure that it does not happen again.



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