Alarm

An alarm (French: "À l'arme" - "To the arms") gives an audible or visual warning of a problem or condition.

Alarms include:
* burglar alarms, designed to warn of burglaries; this is often a silent alarm: the police or guards are warned without indication to the burglar, which increases the chances of catching him or her.
* alarm clocks can produce an alarm at a given time
* Distributed control manufacturing systems or DCSs, found in nuclear power plants, refineries and chemical facilities also generate alarms to direct the operator's attention to an important event that he or she needs to address.
* Alarms in an Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Monitoring system, which informs the bad working state of (a particular part of the) system under monitoring.
* safety alarms, which go off if a dangerous condition occurs. Common public safety alarms include:
** tornado sirens
** fire alarms
*** "Multiple-alarm fire", a locally-specific measure of the severity of a fire and the fire-department reaction required.
** car alarms
** Community Alarm or Autodialer alarm (medical alarms)
** air raid sirens
**Personal alarm
** tocsins — a historical method of raising an alarm

Alarms have the capability of causing a fight-or-flight response in humans; a person under this mindset will panic and either flee the perceived danger or attempt to eliminate it, often ignoring rational thought in either case. We can characterise a person in such a state as "alarmed".

With any kind of alarm, the need exists to balance between on the one hand the danger of false alarms (called "false positives") — the signal going off in the absence of a problem — and on the other hand failing to signal an actual problem (called a "false negative"). False alarms can waste resources expensively and can even be dangerous. For example, false alarms of a fire can waste firefighter manpower, making them unavailable for a real fire, and risk injury to firefighters and others as the fire engines race to the alleged fire's location. In addition, false alarms may acclimatise people to ignore alarm signals, and thus possibly to ignore an actual emergency: Aesop's fable of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" exemplifies this problem.

Etymology

"Alarm" came from Old French 'à l'arme' = "to the weapon", telling armed men to pick up their weapons and get ready for action (because an enemy may have suddenly appeared).

ee also

*Alarm management
*Burglary
*Burglar alarm
*Clock
*False alarm
*Fire alarm notification appliance
*Physical Security
*Smoke detector


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Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • ALARM — Grunddaten Funktion Anti Radar Rakete Hersteller MBDA Entwicklung 1982 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alarm — A*larm ([.a]*l[aum]rm ), n. [F. alarme, It. all arme to arms ! fr. L. arma, pl., arms. See {Arms}, and cf. {Alarum}.] 1. A summons to arms, as on the approach of an enemy. [1913 Webster] Arming to answer in a night alarm. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • alarm — {{/stl 13}}{{stl 8}}rz. mnż I, D. u, Mc.alarmmie {{/stl 8}}{{stl 20}} {{/stl 20}}{{stl 12}}1. {{/stl 12}}{{stl 7}} sygnał, najczęściej dźwiękowy, ostrzegający o grożącym lub zaistniałym niebezpieczeństwie : {{/stl 7}}{{stl 10}}Ogłosić alarm.… …   Langenscheidt Polski wyjaśnień

  • alarm — n 1 Alarm, tocsin, alert agree in meaning a signal that serves as a call to action or to be on guard especially in a time of imminent danger. Alarm is used of any signal that arouses to activity not only troops, but emergency workers (as firemen …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Alarm — Single par Namie Amuro extrait de l’album Queen of Hip Pop Face A Alarm Face B Strobe Sortie 17 mars 2004 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • alarm — alarm·a·ble; alarm; alarm·ed·ly; alarm·ing·ly; alarm·ism; au·to·alarm; alarm·ist; …   English syllables

  • Alarm — schlagen: eine Warnung ausgeben, die Öffentlichkeit informieren, auch: sich aufregen über eine mißglückte Sache.{{ppd}}    Falschen Alarm geben: zur Vorsicht warnen, obwohl es gar nicht nötig wäre; vgl. englisch ›a false alarm‹.{{ppd}} {{ppd}} •… …   Das Wörterbuch der Idiome

  • Alarm — Sm std. (15. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus it. allarme, einer Zusammenrückung aus it. all arme zu den Waffen ; it. arma f. Waffe , aus l. arma n. Pl. Waffen . Frühe Nebenformen sind fnhd. allerme, lerman u.ä. (Lärm). Zusätzlicher französischer… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • ALARM — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda MBDA ALARM Obtenido de ALARM …   Wikipedia Español

  • alarm — [n1] feeling of sudden fear anxiety, apprehension, cold feet*, consternation, dismay, distress, dread, fright, horror, nervousness, panic, scare, strain, stress, tension, terror, trepidation, unease, uneasiness; concepts 410,690 Ant. assurance,… …   New thesaurus


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