Installing a new home security alarm system is a good step for keeping your home safe. It is important that everyone in your household understands how to use the system and what to do if it is triggered accidentally. 10 to 25 percent of the calls to local police are false alarms from home security systems. In some cities, police departments charge the homeowner for these false alarms because they take up valuable resources that could be used elsewhere in the city. Here are some tips to increase the effectiveness of your home system and reduce the potential for false alarms.

1. Have each family member get training from the alarm company technician.

Don't just pass the information along to the other family members. Have them work with the installation technician and practice the different ways they will use the system.

2. Make sure everyone masters disarming the alarm.

Most home systems give you a grace period in which you can disarm the alarm by keying in a code. This allows time to unlock the door, enter the house, walk to the security system panel and key in the code before the alarm is triggered. Make sure everyone practices this until it is second nature.

Also talk about what to do in special cases. For example, one of the kids enters the house after walking the dog but the dog pulls loose from the child holding the leash. The natural reaction of the child may be to run after the dog, but this may mean the alarm goes off. Talk about the best approach to take with these situations.

3. Make a plan for what to do if the alarm does go off accidentally.

You can still stop local law enforcement from responding to a false alarm by calling the alarm company and giving them a special password. Every family member needs to know the number of the alarm company to call and the password. Do not post this near the security system panel as it gives a home burglar the ability to continue their activities by canceling the alarm. Do place this information in a hidden place that everyone can get to in case they forget the phone number or password.

4. Be careful if using motion sensors.

Motion sensors give you added security but can also generate false alarms. They must be positioned properly and adjusted so they aren't triggered inadvertently by such things as:

  • pets jumping up on furniture
  • furnace vents blowing on curtains making them move
  • a balloon from a birthday party floating through a room

For more tips and information, visit Digital Security.