False Alarm Prevention
What is a false alarm?
Alarm is incident where there is no evidence that an unauthorized entry or unlawful act has been attempted or made into, on or respecting a building, structure or premises and includes, but is not limited to:
an alarm incident where there is no evidence that an unauthorized entry or unlawful act has been attempted or made into, on or respecting a building, structure or premises and includes, but is not limited to:
A "false dispatch" is defined as "notification of an alarm incident to the law enforcement agency and there is no evidence of a criminal offence or attempted criminal offence."
- The activation of a security alarm system during its testing;
- a security alarm system activated by mechanical failure, malfunction, or faulty equipment;
- a security alarm system activated by atmospheric conditions, vibrations, or power failure;
- a security alarm system activated by user error."
Q: What is a false alarm?
A: A false alarm is a request, directly or indirectly, to provide police response to a signal from an alarm system indicating that criminal activity or imminent threat to personal safety has occurred where no such situation has taken place.
A false alarm includes:
- an alarm system activated unnecessarily, improperly or for a purpose other than for which the alarm device or system was installed, carried or worn;
- the alarm company or alarm system user testing an alarm system without the prior knowledge of Communications Services;
- where no evidence exists of criminal activity or imminent threat to personal safety, which the system was installed/utilised to warn of;
- an alarm system actually or apparently activated by mechanical failure, malfunction or faulty equipment;
- an alarm system activated by negligence or carelessness;
- an alarm system actually or apparently activated by atmospheric conditions, excessive vibrations or power failure.
Q: Why are false alarms a problem?
A: Alarm systems were designed to protect lives and property. Properly installed, used and maintained alarm systems may be a real asset. When misused, they become a liability. Police, as well as security companies, spend a significant amount of time and money responding to false alarms. The system users experience the inconvenience of false alarms and the assessment of fees.
False alarms may:
- delay police officers from responding to a real emergency;
- lead neighbours to ignore your alarm system when it activates;
- cause the system user to become reluctant to arm the system thus exposing the home or business to undetected theft or damage;
- cost the system user to incur a false alarm fee.
Q: What are common causes of false alarms?
A: The common causes of false alarms are as follows:
- Inadequate training of system users (i.e. children, neighbours, cleaning personnel, real estate agents, guests, relatives, babysitters, contractors, etceteras)
- Weak or low batteries
- Open, unlocked or loose fitting doors and windows
- Drafts caused by heating and air conditioning systems that move plants, curtains, balloons, signs, etceteras
- Wandering pets
Q: What should I do if I have a false alarm?
A: Should you experience a false alarm, you need to determine why the alarm activation took place. Contact your alarm company after each alarm activation, whether police attended or not. The alarm company should be able to provide you with information regarding the alarm activation.
If the cause of the alarm was USER ERROR, make sure that all users are properly trained on how to operate the system, this includes all third party users such as cleaning staff, dog walkers, contractors, etceteras. Contact your alarm company for training information.
Source: Toronto Police