Unveiling the Hidden Costs of False Alarms in Security Systems

Consumers who invest in professional monitoring services for their security systems do so with the expectation of rapid and reliable response in life-threatening situations; in fact, 87% of security owners say reliable and fast response to security events was important to their system purchase decision, according to Parks Associates. This expectation highlights the critical role that swift emergency response plays in ensuring personal safety and property protection.

False alarms present a pervasive challenge in modern security systems, impacting both consumers and public safety resources alike. Studies reveal that approximately 62% of security system owners experience false alarms annually (Parks Associates). False alarms not only disrupt daily operations and divert law enforcement from genuine emergencies but also contribute to increased response times for critical situations, further underscoring the need for effective alarm management solutions.


The graph illustrates the expected response times of police among owners of security systems. Based on a survey conducted among security system owners, it reveals their anticipated timelines for police arrival during alarm events. The data underscores a significant expectation among consumers for swift emergency response, with a notable percentage expecting police to respond within 30 minutes of an alarm activation. This expectation highlights the importance placed on rapid and reliable security services in ensuring personal safety and property protection.


First Response Security’s Approach
At First Response Security, we are dedicated to addressing these challenges with a proactive and strategic approach:

  1. Advanced Technologies: We deploy state-of-the-art verification technologies that can accurately differentiate between genuine emergencies and false alarms. By reducing unnecessary dispatches, we optimize resource allocation and enhance overall system efficiency.
  2. Education and Training: At First Response Security, we prioritize knowledge for both clients and our team. We empower clients with insights into the causes and consequences of false alarms, along with practical strategies to minimize them and comply with local regulations. Simultaneously, we equip our team with ongoing training on the latest security technologies and effective alarm management techniques. This dual approach ensures that our clients receive reliable service while enhancing community safety through reduced false alarm incidents.
  3. Collaboration with Authorities: We work closely with law enforcement agencies to streamline response protocols and improve coordination during emergencies. This collaboration ensures that responses are swift, efficient, and prioritized based on the severity of the incident, contributing to overall public safety.

By implementing these measures, First Response Security not only mitigates the operational and financial impacts of false alarms but also fosters a safer community environment. Our efforts contribute to ensuring that emergency resources are available when genuinely needed, thereby enhancing public safety and community resilience.

In conclusion, addressing false alarms requires a collective effort from security providers, consumers, and local authorities. Through innovative solutions, educational initiatives, and strategic partnerships, First Response Security enhances the effectiveness and reliability of security systems while building trust in emergency response capabilities.

CLICK HERE to discover how First Response Security can enhance your security today! 


Business Security: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Security for Your Business

Protecting a business is essential, but choosing the right security system can be challenging for decision-makers. An effective business security system will monitor the property, deter threats, and lessen the impact of incidents like theft or trespassing.  There are a couple of factors that you should consider before purchasing anything.

Decide what you need.

What are your biggest security concerns? Do you need to protect against theft, vandalism, or both? Once you know what you need to protect, you can start to choose the right security system for your business. First Response Security provides Free Security Audits, a comprehensive assessment of an organization’s security measures, practices, and infrastructure conducted by a Security Advisor at no cost to our clients.

Get a professional installation.

Security systems are complex and should be installed by a professional. Professional-grade installations ensures the system is installed correctly and that it will work properly.

Choose a reputable company.

When choosing a security company, it’s important to do your research. Read online reviews and talk to other businesses in your area to get recommendations. Security companies come and go, so looking for longevity in a sure way to go. A company like First Response Security, has been around for over 35 years and has the reputation (and reviews) to prove it!

Test your system regularly.

When your system is eventually installed, it’s important to test it regularly to make sure it’s working properly. This includes testing the alarm system, the cameras, and the access control system. Companies like First Response Security offer services like video health check and extended maintenance plans that let’s you leave the health of your system up to the professionals so you don’t have to worry about it.


Now that you’ve done all the prep and research, it’s time to start building your system.

Access Control:

Sometimes the best place to start is controlling who can come into your business. Consider using electronic access control systems such as key cards or biometric scanners for enhanced security.

Implement a visitor management system to track and monitor visitors entering and leaving the premises.

Surveillance Cameras:

Strategically place surveillance cameras both indoors and outdoors to monitor key areas.

Opt for high-resolution cameras with night vision capabilities for clear footage in all lighting conditions. Consider integrating motion sensors with cameras to trigger recording when motion is detected. First Response Security offers products like the Motion Viewer, combining video and motion detection. If the sensor is set off, a 10 second video will be sent right to your phone to instantly view what is going on!

Intrusion Detection:

Install motion sensors and glass break detectors to detect unauthorized entry attempts.

Use door and window sensors to monitor if they are opened or tampered with. Integrate these sensors with an alarm system to alert you of any breaches in real-time. A lot of security companies offer bundles where you can get sensors added on to your system for no extra cost. An example of this is First Response Security’s introductory business bundle where you can get a Pro Series system with 2 door sensors at no extra cost!

Alarm System:

Invest in a reliable alarm system that can alert you and authorities in case of security breaches. Consider outsourcing monitoring services to a professional security company that can monitor your security system 24/7. The best monitoring centers are ones that belong to local companies near your business, not national companies that are serving over 5 states at once. First Response Security is local to the Portland Metro area and has their monitoring stations right in the heart of Beaverton. Their dispatchers know and live in the areas they cover, meaning better and fast response times for you


By following these steps and customizing them to your specific needs and circumstances, you can build a robust security system that provides comprehensive protection for your property, assets, and personnel.

Advantages of Contract Security vs. Proprietary Security

Security is a paramount concern for businesses of all sizes and industries. Ensuring the safety of employees, assets, and property is a top priority, and the choice between contract security and proprietary security can greatly impact how these objectives are met. In this article, we will explore the advantages of choosing contract security services over in-house or proprietary security solutions.

1. Finding the Right Personnel

One of the most critical aspects of effective security is having the right personnel in place. However, finding and hiring the ideal security officers can be a challenging and time-consuming process. It often involves significant costs, including recruitment expenses, training, and background checks.

Advantage: Contract security providers, like First Response, take on the responsibility of recruiting, screening, and hiring security personnel. This not only saves you time and effort but also ensures that you have access to a pool of trained and qualified security officers. You can even be involved in the interview process to ensure a perfect fit for your needs.

2. Managing the Personnel

Once security personnel are hired, managing them becomes a complex task. It involves ongoing training, supervision, and monitoring to ensure that they are performing their duties effectively and in compliance with relevant regulations.

Advantage: Contract security providers have dedicated administrative staff who handle the management of security personnel. This includes company orientation, security training, site-specific training, performance evaluations, and disciplinary actions. By outsourcing these responsibilities, you can focus on your core business functions while experts handle the intricacies of security management.

3. Legal Security Solution

Security regulations and compliance are stringent and vary by region. In many areas, it is illegal for companies to employ individuals in security roles without proper training and certification. Meeting these requirements involves obtaining and maintaining licenses and certifications.

Advantage: Contract security providers are already licensed, insured, and bonded, ensuring that they meet all the necessary legal requirements. By partnering with a reputable contract security service, you can rest assured that you are operating within the bounds of the law.

4. Covering the Costs

Employee-related costs can be a significant burden for businesses. Beyond wages, there are expenses like payroll taxes, medical benefits, vacation time, and uniforms to consider.

Advantage: Contract security services provide a transparent pricing structure. All costs related to security personnel, including wages, benefits, and uniforms, are bundled into one hourly bill rate. This simplifies budgeting and ensures you won’t be surprised by unexpected costs unless you specifically request additional services.

5. Experience in Managing Security

Experience and expertise are invaluable in the security industry. A track record of successful security operations and staying up-to-date with industry advancements are crucial for effective security management.

Advantage: Contract security providers often have decades of experience, allowing them to implement best practices and continually improve their services. Their extensive knowledge base and ability to adapt to evolving security challenges can greatly benefit your organization.

6. Additional Trained Security Officers

Security needs can change rapidly, whether due to special events, safety concerns, or other unexpected situations. Contract security providers have the flexibility to quickly meet these changing needs with trained security officers.

Advantage: With 24/7 supervision and a pool of trained officers, contract security services can swiftly provide additional personnel when required. Whether it’s covering special events, addressing safety concerns, or handling officer replacements, they are equipped to respond promptly.

In conclusion, while both proprietary and contract security solutions have their merits, contract security offers several compelling advantages, including expert personnel management, legal compliance, cost transparency, and access to a wealth of industry experience. By partnering with a reputable contract security provider like First Response, businesses can enhance their security strategy while freeing up valuable time and resources to focus on their core operations.

Portland Security Officers: Why Property Managers Should Invest in an On-Site Security Officer

Property managers should strongly consider having security officers at their property for various reasons. Roaming security officers can greatly enhance the safety, security, and overall well-being of the property and its occupants. Here are five compelling reasons why property managers should consider having Officers at their site:


Crime Deterrence

Visible security officers can act as a strong deterrent to potential criminals. Knowing that the property is regularly patrolled by security personnel makes it less attractive to criminals, reducing the likelihood of theft, vandalism, or other criminal activities.


Quick Response to Incidents

With security officers on-site, any suspicious or alarming activities can be detected and addressed promptly. Security personnel can respond rapidly to emergencies or security breaches, preventing escalation of issues and minimizing potential damage.


Increased Sense of Safety

Tenants, employees, and visitors will feel safer and more at ease knowing that the property is under surveillance. A visible security presence can also improve the property’s reputation, making it more appealing to potential tenants and investors.


Protection of Assets

Properties often have valuable assets that need protection, such as equipment, vehicles, or inventory. Regular patrols or check-ins from on-site security officers can help identify vulnerabilities and ensure that all valuable assets are secure, reducing the risk of theft and property damage.


Monitoring of Safety Hazards

Security officers can keep an eye on potential safety hazards such as faulty wiring, broken lights, or other infrastructure issues. Identifying and addressing these problems promptly can prevent accidents and liabilities for the property manager.


Overall, having security officers on-site at the property provides a proactive approach to security and ensures a safer environment for everyone involved. It can also potentially save property managers money in the long run by reducing losses and minimizing the risk of legal issues related to security lapses. That being said, First Response is the professional hands-on security company to provide Security Officers to your location. Our reputation has been built around raising the industry standard and creating a service catering to each client’s specific needs. With each new property, we create specific post orders and develop an in-house training program for each Security Officer on your location, determined by your needs and requests.

Portland Businesses: Which Security Camera is Right For You

Since 2020, Portland, Oregon has seen a dramatic uptick in crime, especially theft and vandalism. According to the Portland Business Journal, local robberies have increased exponentially, almost doubling between 2021 and 2022 alone. With that being said, if you are business owner in Portland, Oregon, it is no surprise that you are looking for security cameras for your business. But where to start? Bullet cameras or dome? Do you need an LPR? What do those even mean? Well not to worry, First Response Security is here to help. Let’s explore the different types of security cameras available in Portland.


Bullet Cameras

Probably the most recognizable of the group, and the default symbol for security, bullet cameras are cylindrical in shape, and their longer outside casing provides them with the ability to contain bigger lens, making them the ideal choice for outdoor areas. These larger lenses allows you to see larger distances with a greater level of detail.  They also tend to be weather-resistant, making them ideal for monitoring large areas such as parking lots or building exteriors. Speaking of parking lots, this camera is also ideal for LPR, or License Plate Recognition software. Again, their larger lenses, coupled with their protective covering of intrusive lighting, creates the perfect scenario to capture license plates creeping up on your premises.

Bullet cameras are perfect for businesses like libraries, manufacturing sites, airports, hotels, gas stations, schools, and hospitals.


Dome Cameras

Dome cameras are named after their signature circular encasing. This is one of the more versatile types of cameras on the list due to their ability to excel in both indoor and outdoor environments. Another wonderful feature is that it’s dome-like-casing also doubles as a vandal-proof shield for the camera. Various dome cameras actually come with a “vandal resistant rating, showing how much damage the camera can actually take before malfunctioning. Incorporating a wide varifocal lens, Dome cameras are perfect for banks, restaurants, schools, hotels, warehouses and libraries.


PTZ Cameras

What helps PTZ cameras stand out from the rest of the pack is “pan-tilt-zoom” mechanical parts that allows the camera to move up, down, left, right swivel, and zoom in and out. Depending on the type of software installed, these cameras can even be programmed to sense and follow motion-triggers, or move based on a schedule. Features like this make PTZ cameras ideal for guard stations, airports, supermarkets, and museums.


IP/Wireless Cameras

IP cameras, better known as Internet Protocol cameras, are able to not only capture video, but also send and receive footage over the internet. You will often find these types of cameras coupled with NVRs or Network Video Recorders. Wireless cameras, a type of IP camera, uses Wi-Fi or cellular networks to transmit footage. They are easy to install and can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, making them ideal for situations where you need cameras covering large areas like construction sites, event spaces, and parking lots.


Thermal Cameras

Thermal cameras use heat signatures to detect intruders in complete darkness or low-light conditions. They are ideal for monitoring large outdoor areas such as parks or building perimeters.


In conclusion, there are several types of security cameras available in Portland, each with its own unique features and benefits. But getting security cameras is just step 1 of the process. The footage that comes from your new cameras is certainly better than nothing, but is that really going to help with the massive crime in Portland, Oregon?  What you need is a live operator who can verify the feed or an alarm and who is ready to send help at a moment’s notice. You need a proactive approach to your security. And that’s where First Response is here to help!


With committed customer support and 24/7 in-house monitoring center, we won’t leave anything to chance when it comes to your security. We offer a wealth of services — including intrusion detection and burglar alarms, fire systems, access control, video surveillance, home automation and more — while also keeping you constantly connected to your security system right from your smartphone. We are committed to providing unbeatable peace of mind and a higher standard of service and security solutions.

Your Business Needs a Plan: Responding to Active Shooting Incidents

According to the Portland Police Bureau, there have been 3,254 shooting incidents between the January 2019 and October 2022, with an increase of over 218% shootings over that time, underscoring the need for every business to have a plan to prevent an manage an active shooter incident.

 Sadly, active shooter incidents have occurred in all types of venues, and the trend does not seem to be slowing. Any business can be vulnerable to such a situation, so every business should consider having a plan in place to prevent and manage such an event.

What is an Active Shooter Incident?

You have had the opportunity to hear the phrase several times since the Columbine tragedy but may wonder what the term “Active shooter incident” means precisely.

The FBI defines an active shooter as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.”

In most cases, the shooter expects to die in the event, which makes preventive measures the most critical line of defense.

Prevention; Your First Choice

Once an active shooting incident starts, it is difficult to stop before there are injuries or deaths because they happen quickly and unexpectedly. This makes layers of deterrents your most valuable option in preventing a potential active shooter.

These deterrents should include:

Responding to an Active Shooter Incident

  • Getting out is the first objective. Have an escape plan and train employees in evacuation
  • Alert authorities as soon as possible. Call 911 and leave the line open, and hit the panic button on your alarm system.
  • If you can’t get out, hide out. Take cover quickly as possible.
  • As a last resort, take action. Getting physical with a shooter is never a safe option and should only be considered if your life is in eminent danger. This can be done by attempting to disrupt or incapacitate the shooter by throwing items and improvising weapons, and banding together to attack the shooter.

Today, every business should consider the possibility of an active shooter incident, and be ready with a plan. If you would like more information on how you can deter crime, please call us today at (800)862-4880.

About First Response Inc.

Headquartered in Beaverton, First Response Inc. is the largest privately owned security company in Oregon. Our commitment to “A Higher Standard” enables us to deliver the client service we believe you deserve. First Response has the knowledge, technology and professionalism required to meet all your security needs. We offer a wealth of services — including intrusion detection and burglar alarms, fire systems, access control, video surveillance, home automation and more — while also keeping you constantly connected to your security system right from your smartphone.

With committed customer support and 24/7 in house monitoring center, we won’t leave anything to chance when it comes to your security. We are committed to providing unbeatable peace of mind and a higher standard of service and security solutions.

Portland Security Officers: Security Officers and Homeowners Band Together to Get Unlawful Camp Removed

After nearly 2 months, a troublesome camp was removed in East Portland.  A string of threats, thefts, and shootings left First Response Security Officers and their community to take matters into their own hands and bring Peace of Mind to their doorsteps of local businesses and homeowners.


A rowdy camp had inhabited a sidewalk between a popular shopping center and a once quiet neighborhood, creating a pattern of continuous crime and disturbances.


Dating back all the way to June 1st, Security Officer Foster knew that 90% of his time would be spent protecting business owners from this specific camp.  “Every day was mentally taxing for all of us. We consider ourselves a family. We all have different personalities, come from different backgrounds and communities, but when we get on-site, we move as a unit and do whatever it takes to help the client. But this camp, it was a whole other beast. 24 hours of constant conflict with no letup”


“The camp was like nothing we’ve seen before.” Security Officer Mayer added. “They were very entitled, aggressive, and heavily armed. It was like every night they would drink and go in droves to try and loot the business, sometimes at gun point. It’s why we’re here. The businesses didn’t know what else to do.”


Although originally hired by the shopping center, the chaos from the camp had encroached onto the neighboring residential area as well. “Bless their hearts because they really tried to help.” Security Officer Foster recounts. “They tried to bring them bedding, clothes, blankets, trash bags, but the camp wasn’t having it all.” It was often the opposite response. Homeowners and neighbors were often met verbal attacks and threats of arson and robbery. Like the business owners, the neighborhood had had enough.


On days when tensions were high, specifically threats of gun violence, Security Officers tried their best to lean on local law enforcement for help. Unfortunately, unless someone was physically hurt, response from authorities was little to none.


During one specific call, local authorities gave Officer Mayer a city number to contact. “I was calling the number every day. At one point I called them 12 times in a single shift. Tried to explain shootings, violence, robberies, but it didn’t seem to matter. Eventually we all got the idea to pass the number along to the residents as well. We all started calling, and it seemed to move our case up the chain of command. And one day, local authorities came and packed everyone up and sent them on their way. Just like that, everything changed.”


It is important to note that Security Officers can only do so much for transients that are on public property, as outlined here. And the same thing goes for law enforcement as well. What got the job done was the Security Officers going above and beyond to provide Peace of Mind to their client and the neighboring citizens. It was them finding a legal way to get the threat removed and bring safety to the whole community.  It was not enough to keep the camp off their client’s site. The Security Officers wanted everyone involved to feel safe.


“It gave us a lot of pride to get that done.” Officer Foster gleams. “We are who they see every day. They look at us with joy. I’m proud to come to work. It gives me purpose to know that I’m helping the client and community feel happy and safe. Like I said before, at this point, we’re all a family.”

Security Do’s and Don’ts for Property Managers

As a Property Manager, your day-to-day operations require you to wear many hats. Management, cleanliness, usability; everything under the sun. One aspect that is often overlooked is proper safety measures. With tenants paying rent every month, their #1 request is to be able to feel safe and protected in the places they work and live. Below, First Response Security has created a guide of the Do’s and Don’ts for Property Managers to create a safe environment for their tenants and properties.

Make sure you have up-standing tenants.

That’s right, proper security starts as early as the interview process. Though it may seem obvious, it is always important to know who exactly you are renting to. Always make sure to run background checks and criminal records on everyone who will be residing on your premises. This is by far the easiest way to make sure there aren’t any criminals renting your property.

Communication is Key

It’s always important to keep your ears to the ground and understand what is happening in and around your property.  Regular communication with resident is key to staying up to date with the happenings of property as well as learning about safety or security issues as soon as they arise. When it comes to security, the swifter action is taken, the better it is for all parties involved.

Add security cameras

As a property manager, you can’t be everywhere at once. What better way to keep an eye on things than having someone, or something, paying attention at all times. Security cameras are a perfect solution. They can keep an eye on your property 24/7, record any trespassers or incidents, and is the perfect resource when something does occur, and details are needed.

Having advanced access control

One of the easiest ways to keep tenants safe is by controlling who can enter the property. Advanced access control is the best way to provide entry for tenants while keeping strangers out. Access control needs to be active in all common areas – laundry, gyms, pools, parking garages, etc.

Having proper fire and life safety sensors

This goes without saying, but always make sure you have working fire systems in place at every property. This doesn’t just mean a fire alarm, but also smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and certified extinguishers.

Utilize motion technology

The future of security is to be able to recognize a threat before any damage is done, and motion technology has brought us one step closer to this becoming a reality. With motion sensors, you can be alerted right when a specific area is breached, straight to your phone or tablet. Do you need motion sensors in a high traffic area? Well, you’re in luck! All new AI cameras can be programed to only respond to specific types of motions while ignoring others; all decided by you, the property manager!

Of the many hats you wear, securing your property and tenants needs to be priority #1. As explained seen above, there are various measures that you can take to thwart trespasser, property damage, and whatever else might be thrown your way. With this said, it is always important to trust the professionals when it comes to purchasing, installing, and monitoring your chosen security solutions.

Trust the Experts

First Response has the knowledge, technology and professionalism required to meet all your security needs. We offer a wealth of services — including intrusion detection and burglar alarms, fire systems, access control, video surveillance, home automation and more — while also keeping you constantly connected to your security system right from your smartphone.

With committed customer support and 24/7 in house monitoring center, we won’t leave anything to chance when it comes to your security. We are committed to providing unbeatable peace of mind and a higher standard of service and security solutions.

Spring Clean Your Security

Ah, spring. The blossoms are blooming, the allergies are hitting, and the sun is making a (more frequent) guest appearance in our lives again. And if it hasn’t already, the urge to furiously clean and declutter everything might have already hit you. While Marie Kondo-ing your home is great and all, when was the last time you cleaned up your security? Check out our simple tips below for spring cleaning  your cyber, home or business security this spring.

Inside Your Property

  • Change out the batteries on your smoke and CO detectors, and test them to make sure they’re working properly. While you’re at it, inspect your fire extinguisher to ensure it is in good condition.
  • Test out your alarm system and update emergency contacts, if needed.
  • Inspect your doors and windows to make sure all locks are still working properly.
  • Replace your furnace filters — not only will this help with those pesky pollen allergies, it will help keep the filter free and clear of accumulation that could lead to a fire.

Outside Your Property

  • Clean your security cameras and light fixtures and replace any light bulbs that have gone out.
  • Maintain your landscaping — make sure to trim bushes and trees near windows back to leave potential thieves nowhere to hide.
  • Check your security signs and stickers. Are they looking a little old and sun faded? Call your security company to get new ones. In one study, more than 60% of convicted burglars said that signs of a security system would make them reconsider robbing the house.
  • Perform your own security audit outside your property. If you were going to rob it, how would you do it? Check the points of entry you would try yourself and see how difficult they would be to get through. Then, make any upgrades as necessary.

Cyber Security

  • Delete what you no longer use. This includes unused apps on your phone, emails you’re no longer interested in being subscribed to and old emails and files you don’t need any more.
  • Make sure your software is updated on your devices and your router. This should happen on a frequent basis as it is, but if you’ve been putting off, now is the time.
  • Review your passwords and ensure you have unique passwords. Consider using an online password manager like LastPass to help with this and create as strong of passwords as possible – see tips from Wired on how to do so.
  • Safely get rid of your old computers/phones/floppy disks, etc. View a list of local computer recycling sites in the Portland area here.


Looking for more security tips and service news? Sign up for our quarterly newsletter!


Newsletter Sign Up

First Response is pleased to provide complimentary life safety tips for your home and business in our email newsletter. Sign up today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.