WBFAA Members Now ‘Own a City’ With New Program
Security professionals already involved in combating the false alarm problem say state alarm associations can make a huge difference when working with law enforcement agencies. Now with the verified or no-response concept lingering in many cities’ minds, the call for additional action is louder than ever.
Seattle was one city considering verified response. Luckily, the Washington Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (WBFAA) has always been an active association and found out about the city’s consideration before any change could be done. And, if the association wasn’t active enough, the WBFAA has launched its Own a City program/campaign.
Security Sales & Integration spoke to Howard Richardson, president of the WBFAA, about the program and its value to the industry.
SS&I: The city of Seattle announced it was considering going to verified response. What has happened since?HR: The Seattle Police Department said it will work on its false alarm ordinance when it can and the assistance of the WBFAA and the False Alarm Network (FAN) will be welcomed.
SS&I: The WBFAA launched its Own a City program. How does the program work?HR: State association members volunteer to act as liaisons between the alarm association and local fire and police jurisdictions throughout the state. On a weekly basis, these members will call, E-mail or fax each jurisdiction and provide each AHJ [Authority Having Jurisdiction] information on training, association meetings, seminars, trade shows and other programs available through the WBFAA. The AHJ will be able to communicate any issues or needs relevant to false alarms to the WBFAA. This strategy enables all members to be involved; no one person can handle the job of false alarm reduction.
SS&I: What does the WBFAA hope to achieve with the Own a City program?HR: To raise the level of training for law enforcement and the security industry; to be visible to jurisdictions in order to assist with local and state legislation; and to assist in the design of ordinances. We will help AHJs with presentations to city councils and provide training for false alarm classes. We will support a good alarm ordinance.
SS&I: How many law enforcement agencies and association members are involved in the program? HR: Right now, 25 member volunteers have been assigned to 47 cities. More and more, the WBFAA and law enforcement agencies are working together as partners. We can now reach out to every jurisdiction and respond to their needs. Several other state associations will also be introducing the Own a City program to their members and cities.
SS&I: Overall, how active is the WBFAA? HR: In the past three years, we have intensified our mission of reducing false alarms. This really started in 1998 with the Model States program; Washington state was the first to be included in that program. The direction of the WBFAA is to be proactive, not reactive. False alarm reduction is our No. 1 priority issue.
SS&I: How can the industry further help with false alarms? HR: We need to talk about the causes of false alarms with our end users. Each company must do a better job at training customers how to operate their systems; the monitoring stations can also do a better job with dispatches; and, we alarm professionals can work closer with AHJs. Together we can reduce false alarms.
For more information on the WBFAA’s Own a City program, visit www.wbfaa.org.
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