Cooperation and Compromise Needed to Solve Alarm Issues

In recent years, one of the major issues facing the security industry has been reducing invalid alarm activations. Regardless of whether these activations are a result of user error, electrical malfunctions, weather conditions or other causes, workable solutions to reduce inadvertent alarms are emerging.

Our industry’s challenge is to put these solutions into wider use.

This is a job that has been embraced by a coalition that is promoting partnerships in public safety via the Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) recognition program.

The cornerstone of the program is that alarm industry leaders — including alarm dealers, monitoring companies, manufacturers, trade associations and media — agree with law enforcement professionals that improved communication and collaboration is the best path toward improved public safety.

Therefore, it is in the interest of all concerned to encourage local communication links and honor efforts to improve the quality of information available to first responders, while reducing invalid police dispatches.

That logic has put virtually every group interested in alarm management on the PDQ bandwagon, which has been gaining momentum since it was announced at April’s ISC West in Las Vegas.

Developing Relationships
The PDQ program is the latest step in five years of collaboration to reduce invalid alarm activations including:

  • Development of model ordinances covering alarm registrations and penalties for repeated invalid alarms enacted in hundreds of jurisdictions
  • Emergence of equipment standardization under Security Industry Association (SIA) CP-01 testing guidelines
  • Adoption of expanded user-education programs
  • Creation of enhanced call verification (ECV) initiatives Leading industry groups — including the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA), SIA, Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) and Canadian Security Association (CANASA) — established the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) so the industry could speak with one voice.

    Law enforcement officials studied possible solutions through the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA). A common link between the groups was the recognition that dialogue with the alarm industry will better serve their communities.

    The PDQ program will decrease invalid dispatches even as the numbers of owners relying on electronic security continues to rise.

    Many Back PDQ Program
    Thanks to the generosity of Honeywell Security and Security Sales & Integration, which have contributed cash and in-kind support, the PDQ program has been established.

    Under the PDQ program, alarm companies and police officials will be encouraged to meet and discuss how to improve the information monitors give police when requesting dispatches. The best submission demonstrating successful collaboration will be recognized and the top program participants will be honored at ISC West in 2006.

    I’d like to recognize Norma Beaubien and Jim Cogswell of FARA. When they agreed to co-sponsor PDQ, we realized we had built a winning coalition.

    A pat on the back is also due to SSI Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine, who has long advocated that the security industry and law enforcement work together at the grass-roots level.
    For PDQ entry information and an application, go to

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