False Alarm... What I learned

This is a discussion on False Alarm... What I learned within the Home (And Away From Home) Defense Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Friday night I failed to completely close my shop door (which is wired as part of our alarm system) and one of the cats managed ...

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    Member Array Boudin's Avatar
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    False Alarm... What I learned

    Friday night I failed to completely close my shop door (which is wired as part of our alarm system) and one of the cats managed to push it open and set the alarm off at 1:30 AM.

    Here's what I learned.

    Nothing prepares you for how jarring that alarm is when you are in a dead sleep.

    Keeping your bedside gun and flashlight in the exact same place every time is a good thing. I was able to arm myself in seconds (before I was fully awake) by muscle memory alone. I don't even remember thinking "get the gun" it just happened automatically.

    Had I been awake, I probably would have went for the Shotty that I have behind the headboard. Coming out of a dead sleep, I went for what I could get my hands on the quickest. It wasn't a conscious decision, that's just the way it happened.

    An extra alarm panel in the bedroom would be a good thing. The panel will tell you what sensor was activated, but if it's accross the house, it can't help you.

    Once we realized what happened and my heart rate went down to a reasonable level, I looked at my wife who has her cell phone in her hand, and asked her where her gun was?? In the nightstand....
    Obviously, we need more training. In fact, I think I'm going to put together a specific plan and have us practice it fire drill style. (she's gonna love that)

    All in all, I'm glad this happened. It told me alot about our state of readiness that I couldn't have figured out in another way. Hopefully it never happens for real, but if it does I think we will be more prepared.
    perfection likes this.

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    Array WHEC724's Avatar
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    It's nice to get a safe wake-up call every now and then.

    I am more and more frequently reminded of the false sense of security that we tend to have.
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    Senior Member Array ep1953's Avatar
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    Not too sure I would recommend the fire drill approach if your wife is asleep. That might get you shot! (By accident or on purpose!!! )

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    Member Array 91wm6's Avatar
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    Good advice always having gun and flashlight in the same place. I'm not sure handling it before being fully awake is good though...

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    Member Array marinevet1994's Avatar
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    Anything you can learn from without harm is a good thing. Glad it was only a "drill". You might want to unload the wife's gun prior to any future drills. My wife would shoot me if I started running midnight drills.
    Disarming innocent people does not protect innocent people.


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    Member Array Boudin's Avatar
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    No... I wouldn't pull the drill on her while she was asleep. The whole point of this is to stay alive, and that wouldn't be a good start lol. We will have some sort of agreed upon plan so at least we know what to expect out of each other. I can't believe I hadn't thought to do that before.

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    Senior Member Array DocT65's Avatar
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    Another alarm pearl:
    In addition to practice scenarios for "at home" alarms, one of the important aspects of an alarm is notification of a monitoring center and ultimately police. The overwhelming majority of alarms rely on an intact phone line. Nowadays, many burglars will attempt to cut phone lines before making entry. This makes your alarm a local noise-maker only; not much good if you are not at home. Many companies offer secure cellular transmitters to send your alarm signal to the monitoring station, at a nominal monthly fee. This feature, in addition to battery backup, really gives your alarm system a big advantge over the bad guys as it makes it essentially impossible for them to disable alarm communication. If the burglar cuts the phone line and thinks the signal didn't go out, they often will not rush as quickly to get out, depending on the situation. In my thinking, this may very well improve chances of an apprehension. It also helps make sure your call for help gets out. To follow up with a phone call to 911 is not a bad idea either, so that LE knows the alram is a real event rather than false (which is the case most of the time).
    WebleyHunter and perfection like this.
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    Good practice for the real thing.
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    Member Array WebleyHunter's Avatar
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    Many companies offer secure cellular transmitters to send your alarm signal to the monitoring station, at a nominal monthly fee. This feature, in addition to battery backup, really gives your alarm system a big advantage over the bad guys as it makes it essentially impossible for them to disable alarm communication.
    THIS!!!!

    Our ADT system does not even have a land line feature. Only once in six years has the system had an extended COMM FAILURE that required a hard power-off/ power-on reboot to reestablish the link.

    Some people put down alarm systems as being worthless, but I see them as a vital layer in an effective home protection strategy.
    sundrix likes this.

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    Senior Member Array Old_Dog's Avatar
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    Here is a piece of advice I learned the hard way. Have an extra set of keys to the house/shop attached to a glow stick. The purpose of this is that you should barricade yourself in your room and throw the keys out a window and tell the responding LEO where to look for them. If not, and it is a false alarm with the door locked, they will break it down and you have to pay to replace it, assuming that the can even break it down. If not, a window will be broken to gain entrance. That is unless you wish to check for yourself if someone is in the house and let the LEO in but by then it is a moot point about needing them since you made it to the door alive. :)

    I also installed an alarm panel in the bedroom for the reason you stated and to allow me to turn it off when it accidently was tripped. After a few false alarms that I could not stop without going downstairs, I learned my lesson. However, since I moved I no longer have an alarm. Not needed and too many false alarms with them no matter who I used. :) Now I just have two dogs and they let me know if a bird lands on a tree.
    The worst thing about growing old is that other men no longer see you as dangerous.

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    Member Array perfection's Avatar
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    Yeah, the two of you need a safe plan that keeps you from mistaking each other for the intruder, among other things. If you get up before she does and leave the room, when you come back to let her know it was a false alarm she could mistake you for the intruder and you could be dead. Setup responsibilities for each of you and practice them. I'm still working this out at my house, so let us know if you come up with a good plan you'd like to share with us.

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    Member Array skeetsak's Avatar
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    that emoticon made me laugh out loud!!!

    glad to know one of you was prepared. in the end it sounds like you did a great job

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    Distinguished Member Array BadgerJ's Avatar
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    Actually, your partner having the phone in her hand is probably a better plan then both of you arming up and no one calling 911. I would compliment her on her reaction time and not stress that she didn't grab a gun also.

    Glad it was just a cat-burglar (lol).

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    Distinguished Member Array oldman45's Avatar
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    I am happy the original poster came out ok. Yet, he proves my belief and training against having a gun in arm's reach of the bed. He admits to grabbing his gun before fully awake. His wife could be coming from the bathroom when the alarm went off and she might be dead today. I have seen it happen all to often. That is also part of the numbers in the anti gun studies showing most in home shootings are done by family members.

    Also, a bad dream can cause one to reach for a firearm that would be out of reach if a few steps away.

    My sidearm stays three steps away from my bed. There is not a person in the world fast enough to get inside my house and to my bedroom before I can get up, take three steps to the gun and have it in my hands. DUring those three steps, my mental state has became alert.

    As an investigator for the last 38+ year, I have seen it happen all to often. A person shoots a child or spouse during a drowsy moment.

    JMHO
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    Member Array F350_6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldman45 View Post
    There is not a person in the world fast enough to get inside my house and to my bedroom before I can get up, take three steps to the gun and have it in my hands. DUring those three steps, my mental state has became alert.
    Technically I guess that would depend on where they broke into the house (ie bedroom), but realistically, this assumes you will be woken during the break in. Otherwise, I agree with your points. My suggestion here was going to be incorporate the fact that you're not awake into your training and practice.

    If you choose to keep a weapon in your nightstand, think about and practice rolling out of bed, grabbing your weapon, and crouching at the ready until you're awake and understand the situation. The last thing you want to do is over react to a situation with friendlies around because you're asleep.

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