False alarms are proving to be a big issue for the RCMP.
Last year in Alberta, there were just under 15,500 false alarms, which is equal to about 8,000 human resource hours that could have been dedicated to more urgent calls. They also tie up 911 lines.
An extensive review found that most alarms that were only triggered once were false alarms. The RCMP has now changed their policy to make their system more efficient.
"In the case of a one-hit alarm, a property rep, key holder, a property owner or an alarm response officer, if that community has that service, would have to verify what's going on at that property. If there are any issues, then the police will be called," explained "K" Division Corporal Chris Warren.
This new policy will not cut down on any response to verified alarms, multiple hit alarms, glass breaking, panic alarms, holdup alarms or domestic violence alarms. Anything that happens at a school or a financial institute during business hours will still be prioritized.
Tips for preventing false alarms include:
- Ensure that your alarm system and equipment are located properly in the residence, and tested to make sure it is working regularly and it is unlikely to be triggered by false alarms like animals or debris.
- Ensure everyone that uses the equipment knows the proper alarm codes for the system.
- Windows and doors are all secured.
- Batteries are checked regularly.
- Report any damage or faulty equipment to the alarm company.
"This just reaffirms and lays out a clear policy for our members responding to calls and just expectations of the public, so that we know that our resources are being deployed effectively, and they're not being spent on frivolous alarms which in turn ties up our 911 system," said Warren.