Last week I was asked to address the local Chamber of Commerce regarding false alarms. Here's a brief article on the event.
What I would like to know is if I am alone in believing that if the alarm company were to be fined we would have a greater control over the amount of false alarms? My belief is, as stated in the interview, that we have the ultimate control over those who are not educated on how their alarm functions, as well as those who have faulty systems, or are just chronic abusers. How many fines would we need to get hit with before we say goodbye to those who abuse their systems? Are we really hooked on that RMR so badly that we will let the customer go wild? How many fines would we need to be hit with before we make sure everything is properly installed, and the customer knows exactly how it works? Fining the customer is a ridiculous solution that many cities employ. Our greatest detractors (the police) would become our biggest advocates if we could lower the current false alarm rate of 90+% to less than
50%. At the rate we are going now the police will soon adopt no response policies so we can't really ignore this. In the end we would garner more business, and have less headaches. I'd welcome your opinions.
Before you spoke publicly about false alarms, you should have contacted SIAC, FARA, NBFAA or your State alarm association. They already have national and state ordinances that will reduced false alarms. Or at least ask on this newsgroup.
It's unprofessional public comments, like the ones you were quoted, that cause confusion in the industry. When called upon, ask someone in the industry that knows what they are talking about. The local Police Chief's Association and Fire Chiefs Association has access to the National Chief's Association to get info from. I'm sure Chief Kelly will be checking on ordinances that have been proven on a national basis. I got a good mind to write a rebuttal to your comments to the local Chamber of Commerce defining the gross mistatements you made.
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you really think that the companies will pay these fines? they will just pass on the cost to the customers...... i would guess that around 90% of the false alarms i go to are caused by animals damaging the wiring (rats, squirrels, dogs) you really think the alarm companies should pay fines because of something the CUSTOMER can control??...with the company i work for, if it's a problem WE can't fix, then WE pay the fines....but the fines don't kick in until the 5th false alarm...having the alarm companies paying the fines is NOT a good idea!!! if you fine the customers enough times they will make sure squirrels and rats don't chew wires, and maybe they will actually read a manual!!!!
Norm, IF these ordinances are in play then why are we still wrong more times than right? The City of Mount Vernon thinks the solution is a fine. Fines don't work, and never will. I also made clear that the City either needs to work with us in efforts to reduce false alarms, and increase police response time, or they need to quit bellyaching about it. Being as I am not employed by SIAC, FARA, nor the NBFAA I didn't feel the need to contact them BEFORE I spoke, but reps from the NYBFAA, and RAA, are aware of my comments, and neither found my comments to be negative. Maybe you don't have companies mailing alarm systems out in your area, or companies that will take over any system, regardless of it's condition, but up here we have those problems, and they add to the false alarm issue. My first concern is for my customers, and I don't need the local cops taking until Saint Swivens Day to respond because they think it's another bogus alarm. What I believe is unprofessional is how our industry never accepts blame for false alarms. Nobody ever admits to installing inferior equipment, yet you can buy it at any local supply house. Nobody ever admits to offering clients little to no training. Nobody ever admits to a damn thing. Well then how the hell do these people wind up with shitty systems they know nothing about? Where do all of the single tech motions come from? I believe that identifying the problems, and eliminating them will do a far better job of protecting our industry than the company line of deny deny deny. It is our fault if the system is poorly designed. It is our fault if the system is poorly installed. It is our fault if we continue to provide service to abusive customers. It is our fault if we use low rate central stations who don't verify. It is our fault if we install or monitor cheap equipment. False alarms are a huge problem in our industry and all I am saying is we need to pony up and accept some blame for it. If you disagree then you disagree. I don't expect alot of people to agree with me but it doesn't mean I am wrong. The numbers don't lie, and asking the local government to work towards a solution other than a fine is not a crime. Please tell what "gross mistatements" I made? Thanks for replying.
and by that time the system IS fully repaired.. i admit, i've only been in the industry for 8 years, and i honestly don't know of our company ever really having to pay the fines. but it is our policy
"resources"? how hard is it to write a ticket??
our system could not be more user friendly!! i can honestly say that when i walk into a house I personally fully train each customer who is present in the house...i also leave them a manual AND a video... but i can go back a year later and the people act like no one ever showed them how to use the system... when i remind them that I installed the system and that i went over every feature, they suddenly remember... the companies can not be held responsible for peoples' stupidity
My opinion is plain simple,you have some really good nerv to come here and talk about giving fine to installing alarm company.
What you dont know is that,here we have so much fly by night company that there is no way just to know who the heck installed a system..
You will need to think also about poeple that badly use there alarm,not because they ar mean,but cause the forget,they didnt close the windows of the kitchen and at the first good wind gust the pir gave an alarm,now wheres the alarm company fault,how could they have prevented that alarm? by installing contact on every door?
i f so you are saying that alarm system should only be install on high end home where they can afford full perimeter and volumetric protection
and what about the business side of the story,commercial account where the cleaning team change every damn month and they cant read english..have difficulty just to speak english,and plain just dont care about alarms..
what can i do about that? ask my customer to pay me back the fine? they first thing that will happen ,they will go to fly by nights connected to central station in another juridiction,and voila..case closed,where do you will send the fine?
the only way to fix the false alarm issue is to have a way of confirming if an alarm is real or not,and that is video confirmation,let have the integration of video system to alarm system as a big incentive for sale to the alarm manufacturer you dont need high end camera and crystal clear video to realise if there is a break in or not...or if the Johnson forgot to put the cat in the basement before leaving for the day..
"Everywhere Man" a écrit dans le message de news: firstname.lastname@example.org...
I'm sure you already know this but no one has said it yet:
Fining the alarm companys is no different than fining the end user. there are bad alarm installers and bad end users. As you well know there are some end users that you can spend an hour with explaining the system and 15 minutes later they wont remember a thing much less a year or more later. There is many times one or more people in a household that really don't WANT to grasp the seriousness of false alarms in the community. You install as system in a home with a young child of 12 in the family. Three years later your dealing with a teenager who just doesn't give a crap whether the cops are called or not.
On the other side there are alarm companys who don't do all that they could to cut down on the number of false signals. I've been able to keep my down below 1% for years but let me tell you it's a struggle with constant log keeping and follow up telephone calls. There are some who just always have an excuse for the reason why a false alarm occured. "Oh it was PROBABLY this or that or an IDONKNOW what happened. Some I've had to lengthen exit/entrance delays. Eliminate motion sensors and so on. One thing I'll say though ....the very fact that they know I'm going to call them after a false signal, has an effect on the reduction of false signals. I've seen that happen often. Every time I call it's a chance for a review for them to learn something about the system that they've forgotten or just never retained from day one.
You know what it is. The very fact that a system is used every day ..... day in and day out, with out considering any of the the things that may set it off ..... is, I think, a major reason the end user is the cause of most false signals. Consider...... for months and months after a system is installed, a system can be armed and disarmed and not a thought given about the conditions that must be met and considered when using an alarm system . You can give all the warnings and precautions that you want when you turn the sytem over to them but after months and months and months ..... even years of using the system with out having to consider any thing like party balloons, leaving a fan on, forgetting to put the cat downstairs, checking the basement window you had open over the weekend and a thousand other things, after awhile, people just get so used to punching in their numbers and walking out, that the number of false alarms actually goes UP for a period of time, until they are reminded by having me call them repeatedly. This is much more of a deterrent to false alarms than having central call them at work, ( too late to do anything about it now and to busy with work problems, to worry about my alarm now) and the police show up at a residence with no one home.
Obviously no one can tell if a system is installed correctly or not and the cops don't care. So you wind up fining the bad companies but also the good install companies who have dumb clients. Certainly the companys who are concerned will already be doing things to cut down on their false alarm rate and the bad ones will be paying the majority of the fines, but over all, I don't think it will cut down on what the authorities see as a 99% false alarm rate regardless of how may actual signals are received or how many the number has been reduced from what it "would" have been if there were no fines ...... but factoring in the increase of the number of installs that have taken place since the original count ...... Da yadda yadda yadda....
Are you saying ..... "If everyone would work together and do the same thing with the same goal" (?) Just like here is ASA? Yeh ...... sure. And all the accounts that the good companys drop, there'll be the bottom feeders that will never ask why the end user "dropped" is old alarm company. ( by the way, I'm leading up to another alternative)
You think that way but there are those who would, will actually make a business out of picking up these accounts for what ever period of time it takes them to make their "set up fees" and use up the "grace period" of false alarms ..... and then move one to the next morsel from the bottom of the pile. I'd even conjecture that someone would even charge these "risk" users a premium on top of their monthly charge but with no effort to reduce the false signals.
Video is ok for commercial, but I can just see you trying to convince that cute Mrs Gonzales with the nice body and great pair of t....s that you've got to put a camera in her house ..... "honest Mrs Gonzales, the camera only comes on when there's an alarm ..... honest ..... really really .... no lie .... " With those innocent eyes of yours glued directly on her t.....s
If you want to talk to someone who convinced ME of what to do about the false signals rate, you should try to get in touch with Irv Fischer up, I think in Montreal. If you think that suggesting that installation companys is going to cause you to be blasted to hell ...... wait till you hear what they do up there. At first I thought ..... what a stupid thing to do ...... but the more he explained how it was working and the control that he had over the false alarm rate, the more I thought they'd found the best solution ....... for now, at any rate.
Their solution? ....... fine the Central stations. Who better to keep statistics and control alarm installers and end users all in one place. It's the focal point of everything that happens in the alarm installation trade. There are a lot fewer central stations that have to "come together" to decide on what's going to be allowed and what isn't. They can dictate to alarm installers what the requirements are and they can pass along fines to the installing companys who in turn have to justify why an alarm occurs to their clients and if they choose, they can pass it on to their clients if it's the clients fault. The main thing about this process is that as long as the Centrals decide what the standards are ..... the installation companys don't have any choice on what's going to happen, because of the colaboration between centrals, which would be more likely to happen than between alarm installation companys. I've forgotten what Irv's company name is but I'm sure someone here will remember. In all of the discussions I've heard about cutting down on false signals, their solution had statistics to back up what they had done and were doing, which the authorities couldn't argue with. Irv had every number down to a "T" and could cite you statistics for an hour on the improvement of the false alarm rate. Took a revamping of the "outlook" on what a central stations "job" is, but after that hurdle was crossed among the Centrals in an area, it sounded like a good solution. If I remember right, they didn't have any choice because it was the authorities who decided it was going to be that way. After the initial screaming and kicking by the Centrals, a few years later, ...... most everyone was happy with how it was working.
I'd think it would be almost impossible to get the Centrals here in any area of the US to come together to agree with this process. I once brought it up at an association meeting, and not only the Central station owners voiced their "strong objections" even the alarm installing companys thought that it wouldn't work ...... crazy idea, etc.
So you are willing to pay fines for clients that are idiots and leave doors unlatched and blowing in the wind...or ones that refuse to buy a backup battery (the one they have is fine...even though it's 9 years old). ?
And, what about those diy'ers...you gonna pay for false alarms because Joe Schmoe fixed his own alarm system with a piece of chewing gum?
If I were "king", I would do the following and false alarms would be drastically reduced. But I am not king and no one listens to me, but here it is anyway...
I think the solution to this is to "fine" the customer along with banning of equipment which is prone to false alarms.
Keep track of what is the cause. If after so many false alarms and a cause can't be found, require a zoned system for every sensor so the cause can be found.
Learn what is causing the false alarms. Sometimes it takes a system with a lot of zones and some rewiring to take the guess work out of the problem. This is expensive. But this should be done after x number of false alarms.
If a particular brand and model of device is commonly the cause, ban it.
(Or if a particular type of device is found to be good at preventing false alarms like dual technology IR/Microwave motion detectors, require that these be installed instead of other devices.)
And by keeping track of the cause, new solutions can be thought of to prevent these things in the future.
Require that systems be installed which will not cause false alarms. The best equipment and design for the situation.
Require reporting of the cause of every false alarm and what was done to prevent it from happening again in the future.
Some customers have crappy old systems which are prone to false alarms. They refuse to replace the faulty equipment with something which will not cause false alarms. They are cheap.
Other times to get the sale, the least expensive equipment is sold and installed. If some of the devices were banned, companies could still be competitive, but could only offer the best equipment for installation.
Then charge the customer for false alarms. This will discourage customer caused false alarms.
Well let's see. In my house, I am king** and I guess I decided that!
**Note that having a "title" does not necessarily mean you have the "power" to go along with it. For example under certain circumstances, a "queen" can lay down the law to a king and you had better do what she says or else! :-(
Damn straight. And if he follows my advice and keeps it in the refrigerator, then it will indeed be a cold day it'll ever false alarm.
Seriously, I've enjoyed reading this thread.
When the customer has to pay the fine and the false alarm wasn't due to anything he did, then guess who he's going to come after?
Five "ingredients" to reducing (or eliminating) dispatched false alarms:
Quality, proven equipment.
Professional installation and service.
An Alarmco that stands behind what they sell, install, and service.
In the last 12 months we've had three dispatched false alarms including one where a nimrod forklift driver in the next bay speared a section of an adjoining wall and severed the wires to two PIR's in our customer's space. That's out of forty-four alarm dispatches that involved actual break-ins or verifiable attempts.
As many of you may know by now that we supply the CMS automation, I would like to look at this through the CMS perspective.
Many of the quotes here are true. But we all must keep in mind that in that the 21st century is dedicated to "service". We are actually no longer going along and trying to sell systems but rather trying to sell our services. If there are people that are still trying to sell systems, they are the ones that reduce prices, reduce installation quality and generally "forget" the customer after an installation.
Very few companies have after sales support. Using a team to deal with after sales enquiries is one of the major reductions of false alarms. This leads me to another topic: Why do we have web-sites? The answer is simple: to get as many hits as possible! Why not use the same logic in our CMS? We must try to get as many people as we can to call in and ask about the system. I don't know whether or not you will agree to me on this be the "stupid" users that call in every now and then and ask how to arm/disarm a system, change a user code, etc... are actually our best customers! Customers that are not using our system are our worst customers.
For example: Scenario 1: George and Bill are sitting around and talking on on many topics "Hey Bill, you purchased an alarm system the other day. How can I buy one and who do you recommend?" "Ooo yeah... I bought mine from ABC Security. They are tops. Every time I phone there is always someone to answer my questions and they always come up with a solution towards my needs. Here is their number..."
Scenario 2: George and Bill are sitting around and talking on on many topics "Hey Bill, you purchased an alarm system the other day. How can I buy one and who do you recommend?" "Yeah... I haven't been using the system.. It's too complicated. At least I get a reduction on my insurance... other than that stuff it!!"
So it is very important that we actually get our users to use the systems. We must make sure that by checking every now and then, either by phone-email-or what ever, the users are actually using the systems.The more they are in use, you will notice how drastically the false alarm rate drops. Make sure you customers are "involved" in the systems. I just don't agree with the idea that giving too much information would change them into rocket scientists! Look at how many people are using mobile phones, how many of them know about sending SMS messages, using Blue-Tooth, downloading different melodies, etc. These people have a potential of using high tech systems. It's just a matter of teaching correctly and later on following up that they are using the systems as we taught them!
"Everywhere Man" wrote in message news: email@example.com...
There has been a tremendous amount of work done on this is issue, nationally, over the last 15 years. Every possible idea for a fix has been investigated. If nothing else has come out of these efforts, the one that stands out, is the willingness of public safety to finally partner with the industry for a resolve. Although few rogues support no response, there may be an equal few that supports the "fining of alarm companies" as a fix all solution. It is not.
That is correct and when there is good communication between the private and public sectors, these issues will surface and hopefully get resolved. That is the goal.
And when that happens, how many of them will simply pick up the phone and call you to activate their alarm system. No body will refuse them. How many fines will you be adding to your AP by simply adding a new client. The industry doesn't have a list of the "who's who" to refer to when it comes to bad customers.
Are we really hooked on that RMR so
Not at all. It is a proven fact that there is probably close to 10% of your client base that is causing your false alarm ratio to increase. If you want to know where these people are, look at your ageing receivables. Look at your service tickets. You'll find them there. They are usually your biggest headache anyway. They are costing you much more money than the little you receive from them on the monitoring.
Give yourself and the industry more credit than that. This surely adds to the problem but the installation is not a very high percentage when it comes to the cause of false alarms. The lack of knowledge is a bigger problem, but wouldn't you think that after the first false and a possible warning letter from the PD might just make you get some training or at least inquire as to what might have happened. Why wait for a second or a tenth. Again, there are statistics to back this up. Although there are some companies using the lickem and stickem mentality, again it is a proven fact that, on average, they don't have any higher percentage rate than anyone else. In fact, a couple of the nationals have a F/A percentage rate much less than some others. They are slammed more but only because they have so much more exposure. You have to look at number of alarms versus number of clients to get an acurate picture.
Not when it is managed and done correctly and completely. No one is exempt, especially the 3 major causes of FA's. Schools, churches, and government buildings. There is proof that when an ordinance is administered properly, it will drastically reduce false alarms.
Other than a few rogues, public safety will still tell you to get an alarm system, they recognize the value and they do work with the industry to come to some sort of resolve. Check the IACP, FARA, SIAC and other state and local committees that are being formed to partner on these issues.
Where have you been on this issue? These type of calculations are the ones used by the rogues I referred to. This is a shell game no one but them can win when they are presenting their side of the issue. Let me make it as easy and simplified as I can. There are 100 alarm systems installed in a city. The police are dispatched to one alarm system and only one, for what ever reason, ( user error, installation problem, weather related, cleaning crew, etc.). This only happens once throughout the entire year. Would this be exceptable? Most would say sure. Guess what? The industry is shown as the bad guy because they had a dispatch to a system and it was unnecessary. One alarm system, one dispatch, no unlawful act = false alarm. This example reflects they responded to false alarms 100% of the time. There is no way of getting a true picture as to whether a municipality has a F/A problem by simply saying that the industry has a 98% false alarm problem. In my example the false alarm ratio in that city is actually .01% annually. If the opponents stated to the counsil they had an annual false alarm problem of 1 % city wide, do you think they could sell a no response policy? No. They need to tell them about the 100% figure which does not tell the true story.
At the rate we are going now the police will soon adopt no
And we are not. There are tried and proven methods to reduce false alarms and they are being put into place as fast as city, county and state governments will allow. The International Association of Chiefs of Police are endorsing many of the programs that are being used and some States have even passed legislations that prohibits some of these rogues from adopting policy for no response. They do policy because they know that they will never get it through as an ordinance.
Ask your Chamber how many registered alarms there are in the city. Then ask them how many dispatches did they have, how many were at the same address once, twice, three times or more. This will give everyone a better picture of what is actually happening. If they cannot tell you how many systems there are, they are not on the right track.Ordinances do work. I have one city here in Florida that has reduced F/A by 78%. There is another city that has reduced F/A by more than 42% since adopting their ordinance. It is not uncommon to recognize 40 to 70 percent after adopting a good ordinance. The state of Florida is working towards mandating Enhanced call verification. When this occurs, statistics show it should eliminate unnecessary dispatches by as much as another 40% immediately. Dade County, one of the largest counties in the country, reduced alarm dispatches from over 130,000 per year to just over 68,000 last year by enforcing their ordinance. That sound like alot of alarms and it is, but when you compare it to over a million alarm systems, it is a great accomplishment and shows there is good work being done. That figure represents a *true* false alarm percentage of .07% county wide. A far cry from the 98% that some rogues like to report. Don't get me wrong on this issue. I am a huge advocate of reducing false alarms, in fact I am one of 4 alarm contractors that sits on a committee with the Florida Police Chiefs Association. This is what the committee does. We will be taking the same theory to the Florida Sheriffs Association to form a committee there as well. Part of a good alarm management program, a city will show the alarm percentage for the companies registered in that city. The bad ones will surface, so it is in everyones best interest to keep your percentages low through what ever best works for them. These statistics are public record. But, if you don't keep the charges for the false alarms directly where they belong, these users that have been abusing the process will no longer have any responsibility for their actions. We already have identified companies that have budgeted the cost of FA fines for the year rather than the cost of either fixing the system or training individuals everytime there is a change. Go figure. It is better, through ordinance, that if a customer is an abuser, the PD puts them on a no response list until certain criteria is met. Much better way than going no response across the board. It doesn't penalize the 90% that are conscientious users. That way the abusers don't end up with you because I canceled them because of abuse and then you end up with the headache. Now if I cancel them for non payment and you want to pick them up that is up to you.