Let's take on false alarms

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Whether we like it or not, false alarms have been part of this industry since its inception. It's an inherent part of the security world--and unfortunately, we all know nothing is perfect.
For years now, the industry has been working diligently to combat this problem. There have been task forces, standards, educational courses and industry groups formed just with the sole purpose of dealing with false alarms. And thanks to all of these efforts, the industry is beginning to make a difference.
I believe it's fair to say security installers are more aware of the false alarm issue today than in the past. And many have made a pledge, of sorts, to do everything they can to reduce the number of false alarms that come from their customers.
Some, with central stations, have adopted enhanced verification, which means that instead of just making one phone call to the alarm customer, the central station will make two phone calls, for example. Others have taken it upon themselves to better educate their customers on how to use their security system, in an attempt to reduce false alarms due to user errors. And then there are those who have implemented the service element to all of this. These are the companies that act proactively when they notice that a customer has had a false alarm and then schedule a service call to check on that motion sensor or door/window contact that sounded the alarm.
There's so much being done today to combat this problem. And it is not just coming from the installation side. Manufacturers are beginning to do their part as well. Some have begun to design user-friendly key pads, with more icons and even voice control.
Others have adopted the American National Standards Institue and Security Industry Association CP-01-2000 standard for control panels. When control panels are CP-01-2000 complaint, they extend the time allowed for entry and exit in a building before an alarm sounds. And now municipalities are beginning to get into the act, with some looking to require that future security systems use CP-01-2000 and UL compliant control panels.
Either way you look at it, the false alarm problem is not just one group's problem. It's the industry's problem. And the sooner every sector of this industry realizes that and begins working together, the better off this industry will be.