How to Reduce False Alarms in Apartment Complexes

Thursday, April 23, 2015 by under Safety

False security and fire alarms at apartment complexes are a nuisance for local responders, property owners and residents.

As a property manager, employ these tips to reduce unfounded calls at your buildings.

Rely on a Reputable Company for Installation and Maintenance

In many cases, false alarms are a result of faulty system installation or equipment, or inadequate maintenance. Many of these issues can be alleviated by employing a reputable partner to design, test and manage your system. When vetting vendors, ask about:

  • Past experience with similar installations.
  • Their knowledge of fire and building codes.
  • Maintenance processes and upkeep requirements.
  • How regularly the alarm system will be tested.

In addition, if you spot something suspicious between inspections, such as exposed or cut wiring, be sure to alert your alarm provider accordingly.

Educate Yourself, Employees and Tenants

Human error is another common cause of false alarms. Ask your provider to teach you how to arm/disarm your system, and cancel an alarm.

Then, set up a training meeting to teach authorized employees proper procedures. For example, perhaps the alarm must be disarmed within a certain timeframe following entry. Document these procedures for future reference.

Depending on the complex, tenants may also be able to install their own security systems within their units. If allowed, make sure that they know they are responsible for preventing false alarms, and encourage them to follow best practices.

Cancel False Alarms Promptly

If an alarm is triggered, your monitoring center will first try to contact the building owner or property manager to verify the threat prior to dispatching emergency personnel. That said, if an alarm was accidentally triggered, wait for this call with your passcode ready, so that the warning can be cancelled promptly.

It’s also advisable to have a backup contact listed with the monitoring center, in case you are unavailable when the call comes in. Keep these emergency contact lists regularly updated with your monitoring center.

Proper system use and education are the first steps to eliminating the headaches and costs associated with false alarms. What other tips have you found helpful at your apartment complex? Share below.

Image Source: Rob Young via Flickr


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