A Bridge to FARA

Making up what it lacks in fanfare with tireless dedication, the False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA) and its government/public safety agency members pursue knowledge, legislation and partnerships central to the cause. SSI meets with FARA presidents, past and present, and two other board members to discuss the state of false alarm reduction and relationships among responders and security providers.

Hansen: I am anxious to see how video verification develops and if our businesses and such start implementing this type of an alarm system. I think it’s a good thing. I think we will catch more burglars that way and the police then too know exactly what they’re going into. It’s even better than an eyewitness who says they saw somebody break into the store, and then the alarm’s activated and the police are coming. They still don’t know exactly what they’re coming into.

With this video technology and them being able to E-mail our 911 dispatchers, they’re going to be able to communicate to those officers. Also, if it is able to go to their laptops in their vehicles they will know exactly what they’re walking into when they get there, as far as where that person might be in the building and such.

Miller: Technology, the way the alarm industry does business, has improved incredibly. When I first started we went to every single alarm. Now the monitoring stations are doing their best to filter the calls to try to make sure that we don’t go to so many false alarms. The equipment is far superior to what it used to be. Monitoring station operators are trained much better than they used to be too. They work with police now. We used to have a separation at one time, but now we all work together to get the problem resolved. False alarms have been reduced a lot. Every single police department has seen a reduction in the past 10 years.

Technology is definitely allowing alarm systems to become more of a crime-prevention tool for police. I see it going further that way. I think police are going to use it more to assist them in crime prevention and apprehension. This is a good thing because it’s going to protect our communities.

What pieces of advice can you offer security alarm companies for improving their relationships with responding agencies and putting forward a positive perception?

McDonald: One is they can join FARA. They would get to come and attend
a symposium, see everyone they can meet, and network with. That would definitely show their commitment to false alarm reduction. If they’re not able to participate on that level, then look at contacting your local police departments. Look at ways to work with them in setting up meetings for the community. It could be a joint effort where the police department and the alarm company, or an association if you have several companies, set up meetings and user training classes where the public can benefit. Each side would be able to benefit in that. If you’re not able to attend something that’s national, start it right in your own backyard. Contact your local police department, reach out to them, ask them what can be done, how they can help reduce false alarms. Talk to them about any sites they’re particularly having problems with.

Hansen: Yes, contact the agencies where you currently do business and get yourself introduced so they know they have a contact. Then, say I have an issue with a resident where the alarm is going off frequently, then I have that contact to pick up the phone or E-mail and say, “I’m having trouble working with one of your customers; can you help me out?” Find out if there is an alarm reduction unit and usually you can find that out on the city’s Web site. All our information is out there as far as what I do, our ordinances there and everything else.

Lowe: Just try Googling or going to a jurisdiction’s Web site; if you type in “alarm unit,” “alarm program,” “alarm administrator/coordinator,” usually you’re going to get something. The first thing that pops up when you do mine, it comes up under my emergency services department and then there’s my name and information. You can contact me. The biggest thing is with the technology we have today it’s what I use to find alarm companies. They can use the same thing to find me. Again, being involved with their burg and fire associations is huge. Most states have one. Then there are things like SIAC [Security Industry Alarm Coalition], of course. There’s a wealth. If you just go into Google and type “alarm,” you get all kinds of stuff. That’s a good place to start.

Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine has spent more than 14 years with SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. He can be reached at (704) 663-7125.


About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

Security Is Our Business, Too

For professionals who recommend, buy and install all types of electronic security equipment, a free subscription to Security Sales & Integration is like having a consultant on call. You’ll find an ideal balance of technology and business coverage, with installation tips and techniques for products and updates on how to add sales to your bottom line.

A free subscription to the #1 resource for the residential and commercial security industry will prove to be invaluable. Subscribe today!

Get Our Newsletters