jonny_gogo's profile

Thu, Mar 18, 2021 1:58 AM

What do you do when the alarm goes off in the middle of the night?

Walk me through this scenario.

Here's the situation. Me, wife, 10 year old son and 8 year old daughter are home. House is in a typical suburban development. Everyone sleeps in separate bedrooms on the second floor.

And the alarm goes off at 2am.

What do you do?

Captain

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@Jonny Gogo Want to confirm you have monitoring plan, either the 14.99 or 24.99 plan.  (If you don't have the 24.99 total command interactive plan, suggest you get it.)  I don't know how you have your alarm set up, but here's mine, and what I have done.

First, suburban area like yourself, two story colonial. There are entry sensors on every basement window, motions in every room on first floor, on all doors and several glass breaks. (Let's skip any environmental sensor for now -water, temp, freeze, co, smoke etc.) ALL sensors are armed to instant trigger, except the normal entry door from the garage to the kitchen. In home mode entry and exit delay is set to 0/0. That is, when we go to bed on the second floor we expect no one or no thing on the first floor. ZIP.

If the alarm goes off, I have 3 Simpliscams that cover the front, back and side of the house internally, and we opt in for monitoring to access the cameras. So...

Alarm goes off, monitoring calls we say dispatch. Period. Done.

Now if a smoke, co2 etc I will investigate myself while they are on the phone prior to them dispatching fire dept.

Hope this helps. I am sure others will post.

Advocate

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Re a second story fire escape, having solid stairs puts you at additional risk of unauthorized entry.  They have roll up ladders which mount to the window which serves escape without allowing second story entry.

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Correct. Not solid stairs. The type that mount inside your house, just below the window. Open the window, deploy the ladder and escape from whatever you might need to escape from.

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I don't have the system,  but am trying to decide if it's the right choice.

One thing that concerns me, is that the likelihood of a false alarm seems far higher than a real event. I regard it as inevitable that at some point in the next five years either a stray balloon, or bird strike on a window, or heat from a vent would set off a sensor.  

And so, if we get the system, we need an idea of how to react to an alarm. I know how I'd react to hearing glass breaking in the middle of the night. That is an unambiguous, and extremely unlikely, situation. The alarm going off in the middle of the night, on the other hand, seems a bit more ambiguous and more likely.  It's an interesting dichotomy.

A false alarm during the day while no one is home is also ambiguous but less urgent. We could just let the police respond as they will, and I assume it would be a low priority call and they'd be slow to respond, but I'd figure and real burglar would flee upon hearing the alarm. So, I'm fairly comfortable with a potential false alarm when no one is home.

I'm more concerned about a potential false alarm while we ARE home. I'll scar the kids for life if we have to hide in the house. Remembering, the likelihood of a false alarm is MUCH higher than a real burglary.

I am most concerned about a potential false alarm while I am away on business and the wife and kids are home alone. They'll all be terrified.

We have had a couple burglaries in the neighborhood over the past 5 years or so, seasonal burglaries of cars in driveways and on the streets, but always into empty homes.  Except once, not exactly in our neighborhood but within a couple miles, someone was home alone and some thugs crashed through their back door, totally randomly, and basically abducted him for a short time.  That was crazy and those thugs were eventually caught.

All that being said, getting an alarm system is going to drastically increase the likelihood that we'd have to react to a potential break in.

Anybody ever have a false alarm while home?

Captain

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@Jonny Gogo we had a Brinks system for 5 years, and when ADT bought them out, another 5 with them. We are about 3 weeks short of being with Simplisafe 9 years. Yes, we had false alarms on all 3 but it is manageable, especially now with the cameras and phone app.  In my experience, once you get a system you wonder how you got by without one.

We had one false alarm with ADT while we were in Europe on vacation and our neighbors  laughed when they went into our house after the police went in and found a very large spider on the kitchen motion sensor.   I won't bore you with the details but we have chalked about about 4 false alarms in almost 20 years. Yes, they are unnerving but overall I would get Simplisafe all over again.

Good luck with your decision.

Advocate

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Yes, false alarms happen.  If you cause it, you know it is false and can respond appropriately.  If your system is set up correctly, (ie, no motion detectors active while you are home), then the odds of a false alarm while you are in bed is fairly low.  If you are away, and there are active motion detectors, the odds of a false alarm are greater.  Note that most police departments will charge you for multiple false alarms.

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Thanks for the thoughts and comments.  Much appreciated.  One thing I am glossing over, and which was pointed out above, is that the sensors most likely to trip a false alarm are probably the motion sensors, right?  And those are not turned on usually when the alarm is in the "home" mode.

Captain

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@Jonny Gogo  two things. First, motions are most likely to go off in error, but if located and calibrated properly, they work fine. Second, by default they are off in home mode, but can be customized.  I have six sensors on the first floor and one in the garage, and they are all on in home mode. Also, entry/exit for home mode on my system is set to 0/0. We sleep on the 2nd floor, expect non one of the first floor and no one coming in. If someone does come in, I certainly didn't invite them and want to know about it!

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Hmm, but there is a post of someone's glass break sensor going off for now obvious reason in the middle of the night - twice. Seems the entry sensors are the least prone to causing false alarms - except for those cases where a user messes up the code, or forgets the system is armed, etc.

Captain

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@Jonny Gogo glass breaks, unless defective, are not an issue.  In nine years for two systems we have experienced 3 false alarms, one from a bad tape on my part and the other two dirty smoke sensors (and my wife will blame me for not reading the owners manual.

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I'll pitch in my two cents here for whatever its worth.  I've been a SS customer with the $24.99 monitoring plan for the past five and a half years.  In that period of time, we've had a handful of false alarms . . . probably six.  All but one were caused by motion sensors.  All but one happened in the middle of the night.  All scared the bejeezus outta the household.  

I should point out that probably the first four false alarms caused by the motion sensors happened during the first six months of owning the system.  Like Captain11, we have a two story and the motion sensors are located downstairs, where there should be no activity once we've retired for the night.  Let me tell you, when you're awoken at 2:00 AM with that darn siren screaming, you're on your feet and in motion before you really have time to think, let alone analyze the system to find what triggered the alarm.  This is where the monitoring came in handy as each time they were able to tell us exactly which sensor faulted the trigger.  Each time, while armed, we were able to "clear" the house without having police dispatched though we never let the SS dispatcher end the call until we were satisfied it was safe to do so.  

I think it was after that 4th false alarm that we got SS tech involved with diagnosing just what the heck, was causing the motion sensors to trigger the alarm.  Honestly, they never really did figure it out, but had us change the internal settings in the motion detectors to a less sensitive setting.  Since then, we had just one more false alarm before we repositioned that sensor to somewhere that seems to have been more agreeable for it.  

The final false alarm happened in the middle of the day and was triggered by a smoke detector.  We kept dispatch on the phone until we successfully verified there was no smoke or fire and then replaced the battery in that unit later that day.  Yes, it would have been REAL nice to receive some advance notice that the battery was running low on juice, but such is life.

Overall we've been pleased with the system and, as another poster mentioned, now can't imagine life without at least some type of alarm.  The world is just getting too insane.

Hope this helps!

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In our ~5 years using SimpliSafe we have not had a false alarm. If your alarm goes off while at home with the kids, you should probably take the precaution to react as if it's a valid alarm, until proven otherwise.