Our house alarm went off at 4:18 this morning. We were deeply asleep, of course, but in the scramble to turn it off we could see that it was indicating something amiss with the sliding glass door that leads to our studio and office upstairs. We were too muddle-headed at first to see that the readout also indicated a fire alarm.
My husband went to investigate the studio while I looked for a phone so we could be ready when the alarm company called. He found that the door was securely locked, as were both screen doors.
The alarm company didn't call and didn't call. I picked up one of the phones: no dial tone. I opened the laptop and launched Firefox: no Internet. Since we had discovered nothing amiss around the house, it was starting to look like the VOIP glitch had triggered the alarm all by itself.
After about 15 minutes, the broadband blinked back into service and Brinks finally called. We were still shaken enough to agree to have the police department stop by. They also sent the fire department because one of the alarms indicated a fire.
While we waited for the emergency services to arrive, it occurred to me that I hadn't realized initially that the "F" on the alarm readout meant "Fire." I figured I should check the garage to make sure one of the cars wasn't smoldering, even though I'm sure my husband would have noticed from upstairs. Again, nothing was going on.
By then, the police had arrived and we were certain that the whole thing was nothing but an alarm malfunction. As I finished giving my information for the report, the fire department arrived - without sirens but still noisily - and I hoped we wouldn't wake up the whole neighborhood.
I can live the the idea that there's no 911 service with a VOIP phone during a power outage (all our phones are cordless anyway, so it really doesn't make any difference), but I'm not at all pleased with the idea that the alarm can be triggered by one of the many minor service outages that our broadband experiences. It's scary and a waste of time for the police and fire department.
I think this calls for a follow-up call to the alarm company later. For now, I'm going back to bed.