CSAA to launch online false alarm reduction course

SSN Staff  - 
Monday, March 1, 2004

VIENNA, Va. - In addition to pushing for passage of an alarm monitoring licensing reciprocity bill (see related story), the Central Station Alarm Association is working on another tool for local authorities having jurisdiction to use in the battle against false alarms.

In response to requests from public safety officials, the CSAA is currently developing an online false alarm reduction training course. Steve Doyle, CSAA’s executive vice president, said the rationale behind the course is to help AHJs deal with chronic abusers and anyone else who may want a better understanding of alarm systems and central stations.

“What it’s always come down to is that the AHJ does not like to come down hard on an individual. If you have a banker out there who’s had 42 false alarms this year, the sheriff doesn’t necessarily like to go down there and tell him they won’t respond anymore,” Doyle said. “And the poor monitoring company doesn’t want to come down on them either. A lot of them look at this as a cost of doing business.”

Doyle said the course, which follows on the heels of the online Central Station Operator course the CSAA introduced last year, is intended to be a mildly punitive way to deal with chronic abusers without going too far.

“We’re hoping that it will be somewhat like going to a driver’s ed course on a Saturday morning – just punitive enough to make you pay attention to what you’re doing without making it really onerous,” he said. “If you make a guy sit down for an hour and a half and go through an online course, he’s not going to want to have to do it again. We’ll charge a few bucks for the course so there’s a little financial pain, $49 or something like that.”

Once the course has been developed, which Doyle said should be sometime in the next three to four months, AHJs will be able to suspend alarm response at addresses that have had too many false alarm calls until someone within the organization – business owner, security director or other responsible person – completes the online course.

The course itself will provide insight into how alarm systems work and how they interface with the monitoring company and the AHJ. At the end, there will be a question-and-answer test consisting of 30 to 40 questions. Once the individual has passed the test, he or she will receive a certificate that they can turn in to their local AHJ to have alarm response service restored.

Doyle said the CSAA is assembling a committee to work out the different sections of the course, as well as the test. Once the content has been developed and the software company has put the course together, it will go into a beta-testing phase, the length of which is anyone’s guess, he said.

“The last one that we did, it took two months just to get it worked out so that it could accept credit cards,” he said.