False Alarms

Print
Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

False Alarms

Print
Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

FALSE ALARMS – TOGETHER WE CAN PREVENT THEM

Professionally installed and monitored alarm systems are a proven way to deter crime. By purchasing an alarm system and having it monitored, home and business owners are investing in peace of mind and protecting their loved ones and property.  However, with ownership comes responsibility.  Every police response to a false alarm takes officers away from real emergencies. The subscriber must take every precaution to prevent false alarms through education and proper operation of their individual systems.  This article provides guidance for you, the alarm subscriber, to help prevent false alarms and needless additional false alarm fees.

False alarms annoy neighbors and startle household pets. They take police manpower away from citizens in need and repeated false alarms may make you hesitant to use your security system. In order to ensure proper compliance and responsible alarm ownership, the Village of Hoffman Estates Ordinance assesses fees for repeated false alarm activations. False alarm fees encourage subscribers to take a proactive stance on their prevention. False alarm fees can get expensive for those subscribers who repeatedly have false alarms, raising the overall cost of alarm operation. 

Below is the current VOHE’s schedule of fees for false alarm responses within a twelve month period:        

0-2 False Alarms:   $0
3-5 False Alarms:   $100 each
6 or more False Alarms:   $200 each

The Village of Hoffman Estates also reserves the right to revoke an alarm user permit if more than six false alarms are recorded in a calendar year. Alarm subscribers may within ten days of receiving a bill for false alarm fees submit a written report to the Village Alarm Administrator specifically stating which false alarms were caused by circumstances beyond the subscriber's control. The alarm subscriber should be prepared to submit documentation to support the report and specifically state what steps have been taken to prevent further false alarms.

Other important reasons why false alarms are a potential problem:

  • They cause undue strain on Public Safety resources.

  • False alarms incur unnecessary fees to the home or business owner.

  • Someone could get hurt.  According to a seventy-one page report published by the International Chiefs of Police (IACP), police officers and firefighters have been injured responding to false alarms.  Not only does this result in a reduction of personnel resources, but also opens the door to potential liability claims against the alarm subscriber.

  • False alarms diminish the efficacy of a responding police officer.  After multiple false responses, police may sacrifice a tactical advantage in an effort to quickly move on to other calls for service.

With this information in mind, here are some helpful tips on how you can reduce or prevent false activations:

  • Have your alarm installed by a qualified company licensed by the State of Illinois. Check references and obtain the business address of the alarm company.  You may want to visit their facility to ensure they are a well-established company who will be around after the installation is complete.  Also be sure to obtain the required Village permits so that your installation can be inspected by a qualified professional.

  • Use dual technology sensors whenever possible. This is where the sensor has more than one type of detector, which must be activated before an alarm signal is sent.

Alarms System Operations:

  • Have your alarm system inspected annually. Schedule a preventive maintenance inspection with your alarm company.

  • Inspect your motion detectors, door and window contacts, alarm screens or any other alarm components for dust, spider webs, moisture or anything else that might interfere with proper operation.

  • In the event of a false alarm, find out what caused it and take steps to ensure that it does not happen again.

  • Rehearse alarm cancellation procedures with anyone who might use your alarm system.

  • Cancel all false alarms with your alarm company.

  • Know your duress/ambush code.

  • Have the operation manual available to all users.

 Business owners:

  • Make sure the alarm company has a way of contacting you by an alternate number or cellular phone number.

  • Make sure the alarm panel transformer is plugged into a 24-hour outlet.  If your power is to be off for an extended period of time, notify your alarm company.

  • Notify the monitoring facility of unscheduled openings and closings.

Interaction with alarm company representatives:

  • Have your alarm company provide you with orientation and training.

  • Make sure you understand verification procedures.

  • Discuss end user monthly test procedures.

  • When construction or repairs are scheduled on your home or business, notify your alarm company in advance.

  • Give your monitoring company detailed instruction about who to call when your alarm is activated, and what they should do when they receive and alarm signal.

  • Notify your alarm company of any system user changes.

  • Notify your alarm company if you will be away from home for an extended period of time. Also, notify them when you return. Give them your revised call list for the time you are away.

Home and Building Management:

  • If you have pets make sure that your motion detectors can accommodate them.

  • Do not leave balloons items in a room that has a motion sensor.

  • Be aware of changes in your environment and how they affect you alarm system. New pets, design changes, new houseplants, air conditioning usage, and promotional or holiday displays can all set off an alarm system.

  • Make sure that all your doors and windows latch securely to eliminate false alarms from wind or from someone accidentally jiggling your door.

  • Rodent or insect problems are causes of false alarms.

  • Quickly repair broken windows or holes in roofs to ensure that birds, cats, or other animals can’t enter and set off your alarm.

  • Ensure that everyone who uses your alarm system has been trained in its operation and knows the code word. This includes employees, janitors, delivery personnel, domestic help etc.

  • If you have a question about your locking mechanism contact a professional locksmith. 

Lastly, your alarm is not a replacement for calling 911!

When you believe you need a police officer to respond, your alarm system is not a replacement for calling 9-1-1. Pushing a panic button when you think you heard a prowler can potentially be a lower priority call than if you called the police directly. The panic button should be used when you cannot make that call.