Electronic security alarm systems can be an effective crime prevention tool for your business. They can alert other people in the area, a monitoring company and or/the relevant authorities about possible suspicious activity at the business address.
This site will provide you with information about the different types of alarm systems available, what you should consider before purchasing an alarm system and the common problem of false alarms as follows:
Note: Alarms in Queensland are NOT monitored by the Queensland Police Service
There are a number of electronic security alarm systems available including:
- Movement detectors (ultrasonic, microwave infra-red) that react to movement and/or heat and can be placed in strategic locations around your home or business.
- Magnetic Reed Switches - electro-mechanical devices that are activated when the electronic circuit is broken.
- Duress or panic assistance in the form of a fixed button, coded pad pin alert, or a portable device connected to an alarm.
If you have a pre-installed electronic security alarm system or are considering purchasing an alarm in the future, there are some key points to keep in mind including:
- Having a complete understanding of why you want an electronic security alarm system installed
- Be clear about what you want the alarm system to do
- Have a budget in mind but remember the cheapest is not always the best and don’t forget to take into consideration any ongoing costs
- Decide if you want the alarm system monitored or if you want it to activate a siren and strobe at your premises
- Consult reputable companies and or security industry associations
- Obtain several itemised quotes from different suppliers/installers
- Ensure the system meets Australian Standards
- In the event of alarm activation, decide who will attend
- Be aware of false alarm activations
- Decide if you want the alarm to be audible or silent
- Ensure the alarm system has a battery back up
- Investigate whether the system resets itself after a fixed period to minimise annoyance to neighbours
An area of concern to the Queensland Police Service is the large number of call-outs to false alarms. These calls absorb a significant amount of police resources taking police away from their core business of preventing and detecting crime.
To lessen the impact of false alarms it is important to be aware of possible causes and take precautionary steps to minimise these activations. False alarms can be caused by:
- Insects, pests and pets
- Power failure or surges
- Telecommunications failure
- Poor or incorrect installation
- Inadequate maintenance program
- Incorrect equipment for the application
- Old equipment
- Objects hanging in front of a sensor
- Drafts or breezes from open windows or air conditioners
- User error
How to Reduce False Alarm Activations
Electronic security alarm systems do require periodical servicing and maintenance in order to perform properly. For servicing and some maintenance of the alarm system, a specialised technician may be required. However there are some basic steps you can take to minimise not only false alarms but also repeat service calls by those responding:
- Ensure spider webs are cleaned away from the sensors and other alarm equipment
- Avoid leaving pets inside when the alarm is activated (internal audible sirens can cause pets undue distress when activated)
- Consider an effective pest control program as vermin and birds can activate a false alarm activation
- Close windows and doors and switch off air conditioners as drafts can move items causing them to be detected by alarm sensors
- Avoid hanging mobiles and other items from the ceiling as these can trigger a false alarm activation
- Ensure an alarm technician completes periodical services
- Ensure all users of the alarm are competent in operating the system
- Conduct regular system tests (monthly)
- Advise the monitoring company of any changes to users or the system
- Repair any problems immediately
- Change alarm codes on a regular basis or when there is a change in users
- Ensure duress buttons are located in a position that cannot be easily bumped by people or other items
If in doubt about the operation of the alarm system, contact the installer. When testing the system, ensure the monitoring centre is advised.