Alarm Companies: Prevent False Alarms

BEST PRACTICES
For
ALARM COMPANY’S PREVENTING FALSE ALARMS

Reducing false alarms are one of the biggest and most important challenges the alarm industry faces.  Law enforcement resources are stretched thin in most jurisdictions due to shrinking budgets and growing populations.  Therefore, the alarm industry MUST minimize the number of false alarm calls to which law enforcement officers respond if we and our citizen customers desire continued police response in the future.

The CBFAA has partnered with national resources such as SIAC (Security Industry Alarm Coalition) to develop new alarm technology and techniques to reduce the number of false alarms that are dispatched to law enforcement agencies.  The CBFAA encourages government jurisdictions to adopt these false-alarm reduction ideas into their alarm response policies and ordinances.  More importantly, the CBFAA strongly encourages all alarm companies to utilize the following techniques to reduce false alarms regardless of whether or not they are required in the specific areas where you do business.

False Alarm Reduction Best Practices

  1. Use CP-01 compliant alarm control panels in all new alarm installations.  Utilize the false-alarm-reduction features included as the default programming in the control panels.  For more information on the CP-01 standard, please see www.siacinc.org/standards.asp.
  2. Design your customers’ alarm systems properly to avoid false alarms.  Install your system devices properly according to manufacturer specifications.  Avoid placing detectors in areas with environmental conditions that are prone to causing false alarms.
  3. Design your customers’ alarm systems to achieve Sequential Zone Verification (multiple zone trips) in the event of an actual intrusion.  For example, include adequate detection coverage of both perimeter and interior areas; install multiple motion detectors or other interior detection devices in protected areas, etc.
  4. Utilize Enhanced Call Verification (ECV) in your alarm monitoring procedures.  Attempt to contact the alarm owners/users by calling AT LEAST two different phone numbers (premises number + cell phone, etc.) BEFORE notifying law enforcement of any alarm activation.  Get your customers involved in the decision process of whether police response is truly needed!
  5. Utilize Sequential Zone Verification in your alarm monitoring procedures.  Require two alarm zone activations BEFORE notifying law enforcement of any alarm activation.  By requiring two different zone devices (i.e. door sensor and motion detector, two different motion detectors, etc.) most false alarms caused by equipment malfunction will be eliminated since it is unlikely that multiple devices will malfunction simultaneously.
  6. Follow-up with each and every customer who has an alarm that is forward to law enforcement for officer response.  Contact your customer within one business day of the alarm to confirm the cause.  If it was a false alarm, work with the customer to determine the cause and take action to correct it.
  7. Appoint a company representative as your Alarm Response Manager (ARM) for law enforcement.  This person is designated by an Alarm Installation Company or Monitoring Company to handle alarm issues for the company and act as the primary point of contact for the jurisdiction’s Alarm Administrator.  Contact the law enforcement jurisdiction with your ARM information; don’t wait until there is a problem.
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