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False Alarm Reduction Is Customary at Custom Alarm

Proven techniques that cut false alarms and police dispatches are business as usual for Custom Alarm. The company’s assimilation of practices like two-call verification and following up on all false alarms helped it earn the 6th annual Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) Award. Find out what makes its outstanding false alarm management program tick.

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[IMAGE]12230[/IMAGE]There are three other essential factors contributing to Custom Alarm’s high standard of alarm monitoring: dispatcher training, owning and operating its own facility, and its familial culture.

Besides the availability of training resources discussed regarding installers and technicians, all of the company’s dispatchers and supervisors are now required to complete the Central Station Alarm Association’s (CSAA) 40-hour online certification course. Dispatchers also have SIA certifications that are valid nationwide.

Having its monitoring center located within the company’s headquarters helps Custom Alarm produce a well coordinated effort. Managers of sales, operations and customer services/dispatch team can interface on a regular basis. “We see a distinct advantage to being one company working together in one building,” Brinkman says. “If there is an issue everyone is easily accessible to help resolve it; it particularly helps to have the salesperson involved. Every department brings a different perspective on how to best take care of the customer.”

While size or ownership should not be determinants of the energy devoted to an effective alarm management program, there can be something to be said about a smaller, family friendly atmosphere. “As a smaller security company with our own central station in a concentrated market we are able to work with the key people in law enforcement in the communities we service,” says Brinkman. “Virtually all of our dispatchers know our ‘regular’ customers, and the customers know our dispatchers by name. We are able to build rapport and loyalty.”  

Clients, Police Must Be in the Loop

Relationship building is a pervasive theme underlying effective alarm management. This applies to both customers and responding law enforcement. It’s about open, ongoing communication to address their individual needs and keep them engaged.

Immediately following an installation, Custom Alarm sends the new customer a welcome E-mail that includes a link to the company’s Web site where they will find common causes of false alarms and reduction tips, and permit information. The link is also embedded in all outbound E-mails and the company’s monthly e-newsletter, which always highlights a specific false alarm reduction tip. Welcome packets that include an alarm system quick guide cheat sheet and a refrigerator magnet with the central station’s phone number are also mailed out. Printed information on the back of subsequent invoices reinforce the company’s alarm response procedures, tips for reducing false alarms and a note on keeping keyholder lists updated.

[IMAGE]12231[/IMAGE]As demonstrated by the police chief’s comment at the outset, Custom Alarm excels in forging a cordial partnership with local law enforcement. “We have established a great deal of trust on both ends of the relationship,” says Johnson. “Additionally, we are proud of the professional relationships we have with the fire departments.”

As an example of this collaboration in action, the company has agreed with police to immediately dispatch on commercial alarms between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. before contacting a keyholder. This has resulted in quicker dispatches and several apprehensions. In this circumstance, the police department has agreed to waive any false alarm fees that would otherwise be assessed.

In 2007, Custom Alarm got buy-in from fire responders in the development and implementation of a CO detector monitoring procedure. The firm provides those customers with code-protected lockboxes to hold entry keys the fire department can access to avoid having to break down the door.

Custom Alarm also distributes to police and fire departments a monthly alarm report of calls by county. Authorities say these reports help them double check their records.

“In our community, the police response to burglar alarm systems situation is great,” says Brinkman. “We can attribute that to a great relationship that has been built over the years with our local law enforcement. The key is having an open line of communication.”

Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine has spent more than 12 years with SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. He can be reached at (704) 663-7125.



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Article Topics
Intrusion · Cover Story · Custom Alarm · ECV · FARA · Industry Awards · PDQ Award · All Topics

About the Author
Scott Goldfine
Scott joined SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in October 1998 and has distinguished himself by producing award-winning, exemplary work. His editorial achievements have included blockbuster articles featuring major industry executives, such as Tyco Electronic Products Group Managing Director Gerry Head; Protection One President/CEO Richard Ginsburg; former Brink’s Home Security President/CEO Peter Michel; GE Interlogix President/CEO Ken Boyda; Bosch Security Systems President/CEO Peter Ribinski; and former SecurityLink President/CEO Jim Covert. Scott, who is an NTS Certified alarm technician, has become a respected and in-demand speaker at security industry events, including presentations at the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) Annual Meeting; California Alarm Association (CAA) Summer and Winter Conferences; PSA Security Network Conference; International Security Conference and Exhibition (ISC); and Security Industry Association (SIA) Forum. Scott often acts as an ambassador to mainstream media and is a participant in several industry associations. His previous experience as a cable-TV technician/installer and running his own audio company -- along with a lifelong fascination with electronics and computers -- prepared Scott well for his current position. Since graduating in 1986 with honors from California State University, Northridge with a degree in Radio-Television- Film, his professional endeavors have encompassed magazines, radio, TV, film, records, teletext, books, the Internet and more. In 2005, Scott captured the prestigious Western Publisher Maggie Award for Best Interview/Profile Trade for "9/11 Hero Tells Tale of Loses, Lessons," his October 2004 interview with former FDNY Commander Richard Picciotto, the last man to escape the Ground Zero destruction alive.
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Cover Story, Custom Alarm, ECV, FARA, Industry Awards, PDQ Award, Reducing False Alarms


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