Texas hold 'em: State's law adds standards to panels

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Monday, August 1, 2005

AUSTIN, Texas--Lawmakers here passed statewide standards that will help manage false alarms in July, a landmark effort that could be a model for other states looking to implement standards to minimize false dispatches.
House Bill 2304, which was drafted through the course of the legislative session, was developed to regulate the type of panels used in future security system installations and impact non-response ordinances in municipalities to reduce false alarms. Although created this year, the bill hit a roadblock in May.
However, last month lawmakers approved and Gov. Rick Perry signed SB568 into law. The new legislation establishes a framework for managing security alarms and provisions for municipalities developing alarm ordinances.
The bill passed the Senate earlier in June, approval was granted to merge language of House bill 2304 into Senate Bill 568.
On Sept. 1, 2006, the legislation will go into effect.
Starting in January 2007, alarm panels installed in Texas must comply with American National Standards Institute and Security Industry Association CP-01, a standard that requires redesigned control panels preprogrammed to extend the time for entry and exit delay. A handful of companies that manufacture alarm panels already have the control panel listing, while other manufacturers are next in line to do the same.
The legislation also provides guidelines for municipalities to create alarm permits and ordinances that incorporate enhanced call verification and fines in an effort to reduce false alarms, noted Malcolm Reed, legislative chairman of the Texas Burglar and Fire Alarm Association.
Thanks to the new legislation, alarm companies will be responsible for following these new standards. After the alarm is installed, the company must educate users how to properly operate the alarm system and prevent false alarms.
The company will also provide customers with a copy of or information on the false alarm ordinance of that jurisdiction. It is also now the company's responsibility to notify a municipality when an alarm system is installed and provide the name and address of its operator, Reed said.
Although the TBFAA supported all facets of the bill and provided input during its inception, the association wanted to make sure that before changes are made in cities, such as eliminating first response by police departments, a public hearing is held.
Reed, who worked alongside law enforcement and legislators to get the bill pushed forward, said that it's not a completed project.
"We fully expect in 2007 to be back in Austin to work toward better language," he said. "This is not something that happened in six months, but in the course of 10 to 12 years."