- $399 for a GE home security system package ($1,080 value)
####Preventing False Alarms: Extra Peace of Mind
Alarm systems are a great tool for home protection—when used properly. Check out our guide to making sure your system never cries wolf.
Home-security systems are a great way to protect your family and property, but false alarms can threaten the safety of the entire community. When emergency responders have to roll out due to a false call they leave a potential gap in response time should a true emergency occur. Additionally, a 2002 study found that the monetary cost of responding to false alarms—the majority of alarm-related dispatches—totaled $1.8 billion nationally in a single year. Luckily, there are a few steps homeowners can take to make sure the police can focus on the real task at hand—guarding the bank from scorpions.
Be a Master at Arms: It’s especially easy for new alarm users to forget their codes or overestimate the amount of time they have to disarm it. Make sure to practice using your alarm and teach anyone who might need to use it, from a houseguest or babysitter to Great-Grandpa’s ghost. If anyone does accidentally set off the alarm, communicate with the security company right away—put it on speed dial—to prevent a call to first responders.
Be Mindful of Dangers Within: Forget intruders—plenty of things within the home can inadvertently set off the alarm. This includes pets, billowing curtains, drafts from unsecured windows and doors, balloons, and holiday decorations. You can minimize the risk of false alarms with strategic positioning of motion detectors (keep them away from vents and houseplants, for instance) and by disarming any zones where you might want to open a window or two in the summer.
Care for Your Equipment: Although power outages and surges shouldn’t normally trigger a false alarm, homeowners will want to ensure their system has a working backup battery. You can also schedule regular checkups with your security company to make sure your tripwires are taut and any falling cages haven’t rusted through.