How Central Stations Assess Actual Alarms

Executives of six prominent wholesale central stations discuss how their companies are utilizing advanced technology to mitigate false alarms.

How Central Stations Assess Actual Alarms

(Image courtesy of Rapid Response)

Being a responsible (and ultimately successful) security installation and monitoring business means taking advantage of the proven best practices and advanced technologies presently and readily available to mitigate false alarms and first responder dispatches.

Anything less is, frankly, irresponsible — not only reflecting badly on your organization but also inflicting harm on the entire security alarm industry’s reputation. As part of this annual Alarm Response Issue, I asked executives of six prominent wholesale central stations how their companies are doing their part.

“Our unique approach utilizing an in-house development team to build apps and tools specifically designed to address this issue has helped us decrease false alarm dispatch levels. Solutions like AlertMessage help curb false dispatches before they even occur, and our expert analysis team coordinates with partners as soon as a rise in false alarm dispatches is noted. We are also supporters of TMA’s work on this issue, such as the TMA-AVS01 standard for alarm dispatch scoring and prioritization.” — Michael Zydor, Managing Director, Affiliated

“Our smart AVA automated voice system helps quickly screen calls. The subscriber must state help is needed to be advanced to the top of the live operator call queue. AG operators typically ask two or three times if help is in fact needed, and if so what kind. AG also has video verification partners that provide visual context via a short clip of the triggering event that often helps our operator confirm or dismiss the alarm.

Also, two-contact verification by our operators to site/contacts before calling dispatch can eliminate the need to dispatch for system testing and false alarm scenarios. If the same zone trips multiple times within an hour, we only dispatch once as it’s often associated with storms, natural disasters or system malfunctions. AG’s Dealer Dashboard also provides a way to identify and address top false alarm offenders.” — Jeff Bradford, Sr. Director Marketing, AvantGuard

“With caller ID, text messaging and an increase in spam calls, customers have developed the tendency to reject calls from numbers they don’t immediately recognize. Our newest service, MYALARM.CHAT, has been proven to reduce false alarms by more than 40% by communicating the way customers prefer.

SMS text messaging with a link to a secure chatroom gives customers the ability to communicate to make more informed decisions about their security by providing real-time tools they need to cancel alarms or escalate dispatch. Adding in the use of electronic cancel sent by disarming the panel at the keypad or alarm panel app, we’ve seen a 65% reduction in false dispatches.” — Jim McMullen, President & COO, COPS

“We believe that video verification is the best way to minimize false security dispatches. More specific, a well set-up video system is the key. A poorly designed system will only generate one false positive after another, leading to big charges for the subscriber. That will lead the subscriber to abandon video monitoring, so it is essential we work together to set up systems until that dealer is comfortable doing it themselves.” — Steve Mayer, V.P. of Operations and Administration, EMERgency24

“NMC has presented a unique add-on service called AlarmAccount SMS that allows customers to verify or withdraw dispatch services with a few taps on their mobile phones. When an alarm is activated, emergency contacts are automatically sent an SMS text message linked to a web app that can verify or disable an alarm in real-time.

The interface also allows subscribers to: view account info/contact details; place accounts on/off test; view alarm history to see who has initiated alarms or canceled dispatches; add, modify and delete emergency contact data; group chat among emergency contacts.” — Woodie Andrawos, President, NMC

“As a leader in false alarm reduction processes, we clear over 85% of all alarms we get without sending first responders. This is done through a combination of things. Those include variable ways to notify and communication with subscribers, managing frequent flyer accounts, managing call lists and passwords with our Signal Management Team, and setting up automation to help our specialists understand when no emergency exists. It all has to be managed every day.” — Morgan Hertel, V.P. Technology and Innovation, Rapid Response

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at

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