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Central station no longer reporting low battery signals
December 11, 2023
Central station no longer reporting low battery signals
            We received an email from our Central Station informing us they will no longer call our customers for Transmitter Battery Trouble conditions effective 12/01/23 (see below).  Does this place additional responsibility and/or liability on our company?  For example, if a fire were to break out at a commercial property (apartment complex), a residential vacation home, etc. and a smoke detector low battery signal was received by our Central Station, but the customer was never notified.  What are your thoughts?  What are other companies doing?

"As technology continues to change, we are seeing a sharp increase in Transmitter Battery Trouble conditions. Over the past 18 months we have been reviewing these notifications.  What we have found is that an overwhelming majority of customers that receive calls from us have already been notified of the condition from their providers such as Alarmnet or To increase the efficiency of notification of high priority signals we will be treating these conditions as a no call event (Log Only). If there are specific customers that you would want to receive a notification of these events then we will need to have them receive these communications via an e-mail or text.  This policy will begin on 12/1/23.  If you would like to receive a report of the accounts that are communicating Transmitter Battery Trouble (XT) events before that to review please let data entry know."

            Across the board policy for low battery seems risky, but I don’t set the standards.  I would need advice from the experts what NRTL, such as UL, ETL and NFPA, have to say about reporting these signals.  The Standard Form Agreements are broadly written so that dealer and subscriber agree to abide by central station policy.  That policy can of course change from time to time.  It appears that the central station has considered low battery signals, but what the central station doesn’t mention is industry standards, at least in some regards set by NRTL, and sometimes statutory requirement by adoption of NFPA or UL or other NRTL standards.  I also am not sure if all alarm systems can be or should be treated the same; again something for the experts to opine on.
            The key to managing risk when it comes to monitoring is to manage the expectation of the customer, and this is done, to a considerable extent, by informing the customer how signals are handled.  The Standard Form Agreements make it clear that central station policy governs and that the customer is offered the opportunity to receive a copy of central station procedures when it comes to how signals are handled.  Hopefully your central station has such a written policy and understands that is should be written not just for the operators, or you, but for the customers edification.
            A change in policy requires notification to the customer. 
            Finally, if the central station, no matter how well reasoned its position on the matter is, is contradicting NRTL or statutory notice requirements or recommendations I suggest you insist on such compliance or look for another central station; plenty are listed on The Alarm Exchange.

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301