5 Tips for Florida Businesses to Reduce False Security Alarms
Among the 45,000+ yearly alarm calls that police receive from Florida businesses, 98% are false. At such an astounding rate, this is a major problem, as it puts undue strain on our emergency personnel.
In response, many major cities in the state established False Alarm Reduction Programs, including Jacksonville and Vero Beach, to curb the problem. These programs required businesses to register their alarms, pay a registration fee, and pay fees for false alarms. Companies with unregistered alarms will pay higher fees.
In this blog, we’ll talk about the five most common causes of commercial false alarms in Florida and how to prevent them from happening at your business.
- Human error
- Lack of maintenance
- Poor design
- Outdated equipment and training
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Bates Security has provided Florida businesses with security alarm system installations and monitoring for over 50 years. We’ll assess your business and design an alarm system that fits your needs, property, and budget. With our 24/7 alarm monitoring, remote smartphone features, and verified video response, we’ll protect your business from intruders, false alarm fines, and lost productivity.
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The majority of commercial false alarms are due to human error. Since businesses have multiple people responsible for arming and disarming a complex alarm system, they are up to 3x more likely to have false alarms than residential alarm systems.
Companies implementing proper security training protocols for their employees and auxiliary staff are less likely to experience false alarms. Employee onboarding is a great time to train new staff members to use your company’s commercial security system. They should be aware of the following:
- What access control credentials do they need to use and what do they have access to on the property
- How to arm and disarm the alarm system if they’re the first one in or the last one out (e.g., wait a few minutes to check if it arms properly)
- What to do if they set off the alarm by accident (e.g., they enter their keypad code incorrectly) and how to call the alarm company
- What to do if there is a legitimate reason for the alarm
- How to secure all doors and windows before arming the alarm
Ensure all authorized users, including custodial and delivery personnel, receive security system training. Each training session will greatly reduce the chances of a false alarm for your business and help you avoid fines.
Adding verified video response can also help reduce the chances of false alarms for your business by providing authorizers with more information. Your property manager and central monitoring station can check what activated the alarm. From there, they confirm that there is an emergency. In the case of a real alarm, they can provide authorities with any critically needed information, enabling faster response times as well.
Lack of Maintenance
Regularly maintaining your security system is critical to preventing false alarms. You can do so by replacing its batteries frequently and scheduling an inspection.
Have the alarm inspected by a professional security company at least once a year. This maintenance can prevent any minor faulty or damaged equipment from snowballing into major issues or false alarms.
Refresh your alarm sensor’s batteries and check that it is charging properly. A dead or weak battery can trigger a false alarm or cause the sensor to malfunction. Make this a scheduled task on the office calendar. Always replace the batteries after a power outage. Also, regularly wipe your motion sensors clean of dust, cobwebs, and debris.
Another maintenance item for your alarm system is checking all contacts on your doors and windows every six months. They should adhere well to the surfaces. If not, they need repair or replacement by your security company.
Bad Sensor Design
Bad sensor design is a major contributor to false alarms on Florida commercial properties. For example, sensors too close to fans, vents, fans, open windows, blinds, curtains, and cooking areas can all lead to false alarms. These problems need a security professional to reinstall the sensor to a suitable location that won’t trigger false alarms.
It’s good to be cautious about the activity around sensors. Any hanging or moving objects in front of a motion sensor can set off an alarm. The sensor can pick up seasonal decorations, plants, helium balloons, and roaming pets. You can fix this problem by:
- Avoid placing decorations or balloons directly in front of a vent or close to a fan because airflow can cause the decorations to move
- Ensure there is enough space for a pet to move around without activating the alarm
- Keep portable fans and heaters away from motion sensors
Outdated Equipment & Training
It’s important to update your security training constantly. Ongoing education and communication with employees are essential to preventing human error, which significantly impacts false alarms. It’s best to hold a monthly meeting to review the current security system and address any protocol changes, then relay these changes to your security provider.
Keep your employees and/or security provider informed about:
- Changes to an authorized personnel list, including name changes and new or terminated employees
- Company-wide password or credential changes and what can be accessed by who
- New security system installations
- Company policy or protocol changes
- Faulty equipment problems, such as panels, detectors, or keypads
- Unscheduled business openings and closings if you normally have a set schedule
Another thing to continually update is your equipment. Older equipment tends to cause more false alarms because it isn’t as sophisticated as new equipment or lacks modern features that prevent alarms or turn off alarms before they alert authorities.
New smart commercial equipment is better at determining real threats. For instance, passive infrared motion detectors can now differentiate between humans and animals. Modern security systems also have failsafe features that prevent false alarms, such as remote arm and disarm abilities and monitoring notifications. The property owner or manager can remotely assess the situation via smartphone before the monitoring company contacts the authorities.
The more familiar your employees are with the commercial security system, the less likely they will panic when the alarm goes off. Calm employees won’t make mistakes and forget to disarm the alarm or contact the security provider to tell them it was an accident.
While onboarding and ongoing education help, employees can easily forget these instructions in the case of an emergency. You’ll want to provide them with information on staying calm during a false alarm and give them step-by-step instructions on carefully disarming and resetting the security system to cancel the alarm. Also, you’ll want your employees to know they should wait until the system resets or your security provider calls.
Protect Your Florida Business from False Alarms With Bates Security
Bates Security has been offering commercial security alarm system services and expertise for over 50 years to Florida businesses. We help companies in the area prevent false alarms with our custom-designed, high-quality security system equipment and installations. We’ll also help train your employees and auxiliary staff on properly using it and their access control credentials.
Our professional monitoring experts are on-duty 24/7 and know the difference between a real and a false alarm. We make it easy for businesses to arm and disarm their properties with Bates Connect remotely and to confirm the threat with a verified video response.
Call us at (800) 403‑9471 or click the button below to receive a free consultation!