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new idea to reduce false alarms
August 31, 2017
new idea to reduce false alarms
    False alarms, the perennial topic for the alarm industry since police departments figured out that 98% of alarms are unnecessary, what they call "false alarms".  So ways to combat false alarms range from
  • subscribers being better informed on use of the alarm system
  • alarm installers being licensed and encouraged to be more careful in installation
  • Enhanced Call Verification, requiring two calls to confirm an alarm [doesn't work for fire or panic]
  • municipality fining the subscriber
  • municipality fining the alarm company, and or central station
    So here's my new brain storm, and if anyone had the idea already I apologize, but I've never heard of it, at least not applied this way.
    Impose a false alarm charge in the contract.  Just $1.00 per false alarm.  You just add it to the next invoice.  Of course the right to add that buck needs to be in the contract.  Question is, should we add it to the Standard Form Kirschenbaum TM Agreements?
    We already have a provision in the contracts that permits charging for excessive run away alarms.  The contract also permits suspending the alarm monitoring if there are excessive run away alarms.  But we don't have any provision to charge for a single false alarm.  
    Why not?  We already have a separate charge for Alarm Verification, though most of you don't charge for it because your central stations aren't charging you for it.  But that may not really be true.  Your central station calculates its charges based on its expenses, and those expenses have to take into consideration the amount of operators the central station has to employ on any given shift.  We know that for traditional alarm monitoring an operator can handle about 1000 accounts.  That can't be the case when false alarms become excessive, forcing the operator to ignore the signal or get sloppy with how it's responded to.  So your central station may have already factored in the extra employees required to handle the average day's signals, false and real.  
    Think the charge will cost you subscribers?  Well, it won't because you will already have the subscriber under contract.  What I do think it will do is compel many subscribers to get some form of verification, probably back up video, which you should be offering.  The small fines may compel subscribers to learn the name and phone number of the central station monitoring their account so that they can call the central station as soon as the alarm is activated when there is no real condition.
    The real issue may be getting the central station to identify the false alarm and then let you know so that you can charge the subscriber on the next invoice.  Dealers should be getting daily activity reports and should be following up to ascertain if there was a real alarm condition.  
    Considering that municipal false alarm fines, usually charge after one to three false alarms, and have fines ranging from $100 to over $500 and ultimately suspension of response service, your subscribers should appreciate, not resent, the effort you are making to reduce false alarms.
    What do you think?  This another good update for our 2018 forms [our current forms already include the new 2018 updates that we have identified to date]


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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
516 747 6700