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comments on false alarms September 27, 2017

KEN KIRSCHENBAUM, ESQ
ALARM - SECURITY INDUSTRY LEGAL EMAIL NEWSLETTER / THE ALARM EXCHANGE
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comments on false alarms
September 27, 2017
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comments on false alarms from September 22, 2017 article
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Ken
     As you know I have been working on false alarms for a while. My first effort was to implement telephone verification to reduce alarms in 1974. Lots of talk and action since then. Couple things on your recent posts about false alarms.
    Fines are a deterrent to false alarms. Just in the last week I have heard 2 examples:
    Bottom line is – fines get alarm users attention to fix problems.
    By the way, both of these situations could have been avoided if the alarm company had installed an ANSI/SIA CP-01 panel and set the swinger shutdown to 1.  Under CP-01 Swinger Shutdown is required for each non-fire zone, such that one or two trip shall shut down the zone. The zone shall be restored by a manual reset or may be reset automatically after forty eight (48) hours with no trips on any zones. The default setting for this option shall be one trip for swinger shutdown.
          Alarm Companies adding a response charge to the bill.
    Experience suggests that exceptions get folks attention. If the charge is buried in the monthly fee it may not have the desired effect. I also suspect that most alarm companies do not want to absorb the burden of this charge. If it was so easy, they would not lobby so hard against collecting the fines on behalf of local jurisdictions. You also open the industry up to the charge that it is making money off false alarms.
          Alarm Companies are Responsible for False Alarms
    Some false alarms are unavoidable. But, alarm companies have a responsibility to follow-up and address each one. We all know that this does not happen. If it did we would not have the degree of regulation and would not be having this exchange of views. There is a reason for every false alarm that can be fixed.                Training, procedure changes, equipment changes may be required. But, you will never know if you do not investigate. 
          On groups using proposed laws to raise funds.
    The key to working out reasonable regulations at the local and state levels is industry support of state alarm associations. That is where the action is. State associations know what works and how to best work with state and local officials. They may ask for help from national groups, but they need to be the ones that call the shots, not the national associations or the national companies and their proxies. If you are concerned about the issue take a proactive step - get involved with your state association today!
   Brad Shipp
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Ken,
  I strongly disagree with putting the alarm company in between the AHJ and our customer. It changes the entire nature of the relationship by making it adversarial. That’s certainly not good for customer relations. We don’t own the alarm system in most cases (leased systems are a different issue), and can do little to change customer behavior. If they choose to ignore a flakey motion sensor, or not update call lists (despite periodic reminders to do so), or ignore recommended system testing and maintenance, there is little we can do without looking like the “bad guy.” 
    You might suggest that we build it all into our contract and fee structure, but that puts us at a competitive disadvantage, since not all companies will follow suit, and it’s not what customers have come to expect. Fortunately, no towns or cities up here in NH have gone this direction – yet. It’s my belief that we need to fight this sort of overreach tooth and nail and keep the focus where it belongs – on the customer. I’ll be really surprised if this ordinance doesn’t land Sandy Springs in court.
Best regards,      
Dave Colter CEO
Northmark Security & Communications
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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301
ken@kirschenbaumesq.com
516 747 6700
www.KirschenbaumEsq.com