Your Ring Alarm system is designed to keep you safe, but as with any home security system, false alarms can occur. A false alarm is when your Alarm is accidentally triggered and a dispatch request is made to the police or fire department, but there is no actual security threat, fire, or carbon monoxide event.
False alarms waste the valuable time of police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel, preventing emergency responders from handling real emergencies. To lower the number of false alarms, many towns and cities have implemented deterrents, such as:
- Expensive Fees: False alarms can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars per false alarm.
- Permit Revoked: Having an excessive number of false alarms can lead to getting your alarm permit revoked or suspended. This means there may be no emergency response to your home in a real emergency.
- Poor Emergency Response: If your home address has a reputation for false alarms, the local authorities may not prioritize dispatch requests from your home, and you’ll experience a slower response by emergency personnel during a real emergency.
These false alarm consequences can seem scary, and make some homeowners and renters nervous about using professional monitoring with their Ring Alarm.
Don’t worry, though. When you understand the causes of false alarms and how to prevent them, you’ll be able to eliminate the risk and feel comfortable keeping your home secure.
What are the causes of false alarms?
False alarms are most often caused by human error. These mistakes often include:
- Using Entry and Exit Delays that are too short.
- Not answering the phone when the monitoring center calls.
- Not remembering the verbal password.
- Forgetting to share your verbal password with designated emergency contacts.
- Poorly-planned device installation, such as placing a Motion Detector across from a busy window or a heat source.
- Improperly mounting Contact Sensors.
- Not testing to see if your large pet will trigger the motion detector.
- Arming in Away Mode instead of Home Mode when you’re at home.
- Placing a smoke detector with a Smoke & CO Listener in the kitchen close to the stove/oven, if you frequently create a lot of smoke while cooking.
- Not providing caregivers who access your home (including dog walkers and babysitters) with a Guest User Alarm code, and not teaching them how to arm and disarm correctly.
- Waiting too long to cancel dispatch of emergency responders after triggering the Alarm by accident.
How do you prevent false alarms?
Preventing false alarms is a matter of taking a few simple steps to reduce or eliminate the chance of having them.
Easy ways to prevent false alarms:
- Make your emergency contacts Shared Users on your account so they can arm and disarm and check on your Ring Alarm.
- Choose an easy-to-remember verbal password, and share it with your emergency contacts. If you or your emergency contact forgets the verbal password, you won’t be able to cancel the dispatch when the monitoring center calls. You have a greater chance of being able to cancel an emergency responder dispatch for a false alarm if you remember and can quickly say the verbal password.
- Make sure that everyone in your home is comfortable arming and disarming the Alarm with the keypad, using a 4-digit access code. Many false alarms happen when someone enters the wrong keypad code and knowing your verbal password will let you stop a false alarm in its tracks when called by the monitoring company. If you can quickly disarm your alarm and answer the call from the monitoring center, you may be able to cancel the dispatch and the false alarm.
- Make sure your guests, visitors, and caregivers can also disarm your Ring Alarm using their own 4-digit guest user access code. If you have someone staying with you for a while, make sure they're comfortable arming and disarming the system. Don't forget people like the babysitter, house cleaner, and dog walker too. Anyone who can enter your house when you're not around should have a code to operate the system.
- Save the Ring monitoring center phone number (833-209-2159) as a contact in your phone as “Ring Alarm”. Give this number a unique ringtone to help ensure you don’t miss the call.
- Use your 7-Day Practice Mode to really learn the ins and outs of your Ring Alarm. When you first sign up for professional monitoring, the system goes into a 7-Day Practice Mode so you can learn the system without triggering false alarms. If you set off a false alarm during the 7-Day Practice Mode, you'll receive an automated call from the monitoring center. (If it's a real emergency, you can speak to a live agent and request help.) The purpose of Practice Mode is to have you and your Shared Users practice using the system as much as possible. You should Arm and Disarm the Alarm, and tweak the settings on your sensors. When the 7-Day Practice Mode ends, your Ring Alarm will automatically be professionally monitored. At this time, if your Alarm is triggered, you'll get a call from a live agent, and help will be dispatched.
The following articles can offer some examples for you to practice with:
- Pet-proof your alarm system so they don’t trigger false alarms. Your Ring Alarm comes with pet-immune motion detectors that should ignore animals in your home up to about 50 pounds. If you have a larger animal, you may need to make some special accommodations to make sure they don't set off your alarm.
- Ensure elements within your home won’t accidentally set off motion detectors. This can include helium balloons, rotating fans, shiny objects, flickering lights, and curtains placed over an air vent. Any movement within your home can trigger the motion detector when your Ring Alarm is Armed Away, setting off a false alarm.
- Replace low batteries and faulty equipment immediately. If your Ring Alarm sends you a notification that a Contact Sensor has a low battery, we recommend that you replace it immediately. If a device breaks in some way, bypass it when you Arm your home and replace the battery as soon as possible.
With a little care and attention to detail, you can make sure that false alarms never happen in your home.