What to Do When an Alarm Sounds

What to Do When an Alarm Sounds
Photo by Emre Can Acer

Once you have a home security system set up, the wish is that you’ll never hear it go off. The good news is that research suggests just having a home alarm system may decrease the risk of intruders by up to three times. That’s awesome! They’re especially effective if they include outside cameras, motion detection, and lighting. Yet security systems can also be triggered for smoke, CO2, water leaks, and more. So, what do you do when an alarm sounds?

The first step is to determine why your alarm is sounding. Is it due to an intruder? A guest, pet, or family member accidentally triggering an alarm? Or is it a fire alarm that’s been triggered due to a blackened piece of toast or a legitimate fire? Is there a CO2 leak? Or is the device malfunctioning?

It can be maddening if an alarm starts constantly beeping, and you don’t know why. Here’s what to do, depending on what alarm sounds.

  • Security System:

Having an alarm system can provide peace of mind. But if you (or a pet or family member) accidentally set off your alarm by opening a door or window when the alarm is set or neglecting to turn off the alarm when you arrive home, you could trigger it yourself.

If the alarm sounds, a trained professional will call you within 10 seconds. Have your password ready, so you can verify it’s you immediately. The monitor will then assess the situation by asking questions, such as the location and if you need help. They’ll also be able to see which window or door sensor or camera triggered the alarm, so they can find the breach. (If you put in your code quickly enough, you won’t get a call from your agent as there is a short grace period that helps prevent false alarms.)

If the alarm was not falsely triggered, the agent will immediately dispatch the appropriate emergency service to assist you—whether that’s fire, police, EMT, or others. They will also let them know what’s happening at the location and which sensors were triggered, so they’ll be prepared before they arrive.

Once the emergency has passed (or if the alarm was falsely triggered), you’ll need to clear and reset your alarm. This process can vary per system. So, you’ll need to look at your security system manual for instructions or call for assistance.

Remember, you cannot rearm your security system if a door or window remains open as it will continue tripping the alarm. If, however, a sensor has detached, you can set up the system to temporarily bypass that zone until you can reattach or repair it. You’ll want to do so as soon as possible to protect your home.

  • Carbon Monoxide Detector:

Because this odorless, tasteless, poisonous gas is so dangerous, it can be scary to hear the siren.

Step 1) Don’t panic. Instead, check in with how you’re feeling and how the rest of the people in the house are feeling. If anyone is dizzy or feels like they have the flu, get outside immediately. Then contact emergency services directly to check for leaks.

On the other hand, your device may make a chirping sound every 30 seconds to every 5 minutes. If you don’t have a continuous screech, relax. You may just need to replace the battery or check the device, especially if you’ve had it for more than seven years, which is the typical lifespan. Your CO2 monitor may be warning you that it’s time for service, dust cleaning, or replacement.

Check the device for any error messages or codes and then reach out to the manufacturer for your next steps. If it does need a good dusting (as the sensors are blocked), avoid using water or a cleaning solution, which could damage the detector.

  • Glass Break Detector:

These detectors are set to detect certain frequency sounds associated with breaking glass. Unfortunately, on rare occasions, they may go off when a door is slammed, a dish is broken, keys are jingling, a dog is barking, or during home repairs or remodeling. You’ll want to check to see if a window has, in fact, broken to determine the next steps.

Again, your home monitoring agent can help walk you through the process to ensure it’s not a false alarm.

What to Do When an Alarm Sounds
Photo by Jarek Ceborski on Unsplash
  • False Alarm:

Unfortunately, some events can trigger an alarm or affect your security system, including:

    • Phone service changes
    • New internet services
    • Home repair or remodeling
    • Power outages
    • Loss of Wi-Fi in your area
    • Household pests, such as animals, bugs, and spiders, which can interfere with motion detectors or damage wiring
    • Home decorations or holiday ornaments, especially if they blow around in the wind in front of a sensor
    • Loose wires or low battery status

What Not to Do When an Alarm Sounds

Every situation is different. Your alarm may have been accidentally triggered, there may be a malfunction in the system, or you may be facing a real emergency. There are a few things you’ll want to avoid doing when your alarm sounds, including:

  • Deciding what to do only after the alarm has sounded. Take time to think through possible emergencies before you ever hear an alarm. Discuss it with your partner, family, or housemates before you’re in an emergency situation, the alarm is sounding, and you are filled with stress.
  • Turn off the alarm immediately. Yes, you can turn it off if you know it was falsely triggered. But until that point, the siren may be scaring off a would-be intruder. Let it do its job and continue blaring until you’ve spoken with emergency personnel and you know your home and family are safe.
  • Call for help on a cell phone. Typically, your cell phone won’t provide location information to 911 operators. If you have one, use your landline to call for emergency services. Landlines provide emergency services with your exact address, whereas cell phones do not pinpoint your location. If you do call on a cell phone, be prepared to provide your address, cross streets, landmarks, or other information, so they know where to find you.You can also use the nearest control panel for your security system to contact the police immediately by hitting the panic button to dispatch help now. Your security service agent will have the information on your location and is trained to know how to respond to your situation.

An ADT (now Telus) monitored alarm system from Alarm Guard will keep you feeling secure and protect your home and family during emergencies. Plus, it could help you save on homeowner’s insurance! Check out our packages and call now for a free quote at (888) 660-2814 and talk with an expert about the best smart home solutions to fit your needs.

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