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.
Alarm management: process and system alarms are intended to assure efficient process-plant operations and even, occasionally, save lives. But in too many plants, the alarm system has paradoxically evolved into a nuisance. A five-step procedure can put a degenerate alarm system aright.(Cover Story)
Feb 01, 2005; How many Alarms are currently configured in the system or process you manage or that you are designing? 25? 100? 1,000?...