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Comments on Central Station no longer notifying low battery signals
December 26, 2023
Comments on Central Station no longer notifying low battery signals from article on December 11, 2023
          Please allow me to comment on central stations ceasing to notify customers of low battery signals.
          For many customers the low battery condition may already be displayed on their keypad or annunciator and this may be part of the subject station’s rational.  Other third party service providers MAY have already notified of the low battery.  But not every customer has a third party service.
          Respectfully the subject central station is WRONG to not notify on low battery, and potentially on other non-emergency signals.
          In my opinion there is a reasonable and preferable alternative!
          All decent and respectable monitoring automation systems have the ability to automatically send both e-mail and text messages upon receipt of any signal.
          In Canada our standards require that upon receipt of a trouble signal a station “contact” the customer within five minutes (CAN/ULC 561) or “contact the subscriber by telephone or other means within five minutes (CAN/ULC 301).  In the case of CAN/ULC 561 “contact” has been determined to mean by telephone or other electronic methods.
Many of the standards that central stations are required to follow were developed years ago – when everybody had a landline telephone that they answered any time of the day or night.  Times are changing and the monitoring standards must change despite some self-declared experts!
          I believe that every station manager or supervisor that reads this blog will agree that over eighty-five percent of telephone calls made by their operators are not answered by a real person.  Our people spend an inordinate amount of time listening to ring tones and voice mail messages! 
We are transitioning our customer base to e-mail and/or text message notification of non-emergency signals – but we will only auto-log those signals upon a written request from our customer or dealer.
 Dave Currie
Damar Security Systems &
Security Response Centre
          Thanks for facilitating all of these informative exchanges. 
          I’ve been on both the service/installation and monitoring side of things.  In this case the station is suggesting that they are going to improve their service level for signals that are more likely to be an emergency situation rather than calling out low batteries on transmitters.  They’re also helping to reduce their labor cost, possibly in part because the monitoring business is so price sensitive that they have to cut costs to remain profitable. 
          It’s important to note that they are referring to transmitter low battery signals and not panel low battery signals.  The argument can pretty easily be made that a low battery on a specific device is a non-emergency situation because they tend to come in weeks or more before the battery goes dead.  So this station seems to be putting the onus on the client to deal with low batteries on transmitters from their automated notifications, to set up automated notifications for them or to send a report of transmitter low batteries to the servicing company.  Setting up the automated notifications to the client is essentially doing what they have been, just more efficiently.  As the replacement of a low battery is generally an issue that is resolved by the client or service and that the station generally does not assist with since they don’t know the exact device type that needs a new battery, this seems pretty logical to me, although I’m sure some may disagree.
 Thanks again Ken.
Kevin Buckland
Director of Emergency Services
          I have a comment on the low batter issue below. 
          I think we can all agree that good help is perhaps harder to find than ever and that the cost of Labor is at a higher premium than most of us have ever seen.  With that said, I would personally disagree with a policy of no notification.   A power trouble or low battery is sometimes a sign that someone has cut power to the building and is simply waiting for the alarm system to die before breaking in.  I am sure there is a similar story for every other low-priority signal as well. 
          It would seem to me like a much better, and even more efficient solution to the problem would be to sign your customers up for notification via texting and email services for these low priority signals.  Not only would it save your central station time and money they’re looking to save with this policy, (making you a good partner in exchange), but texting would also make it much more likely that your customers would receive the notice in the first place.  It also eliminates the small delay of a phone call, as SMS and email gets delivered nearly instantly. 
          Most central stations have some pretty powerful automated features built into their software that rivals that of most
Eric Widner
General Manager
LOUD Security Systems 
          I read Anon’s post of December 11th 2023 in which he expressed his concern over his central station not reporting low battery signals from customer accounts.   I have a few comments from a business standpoint (a business bean counter with an Alarm Manager’s license, who has experience running alarm companies).
          I realize that alarm companies look to their central station to manage a lot of tasks.  I tell my clients to choose their monitoring station wisely because their people are your primary contact with your customers.  I hope that Anon doesn’t get too offended, but he/she should get a bit offended when I ask why an alarm company owner wouldn’t think that they should do this themselves.  I have the pleasure of dealing with a lot of very successful alarm company owners, and one thing that they have in common is serving their customers.  Anon should have someone checking daily signal reports and looking for these things themselves, rather than asking the central to call the customer.  Besides, what is the central station operator going to do besides advise them to call the alarm company?  Anon’s person should be calling the customer (and politely calling again and again until they get a response) to determine if the battery needs to be replaced, and, if there is anything else to be done to maintain the alarm.  Customers actually like to hear from you if you approach them properly.   If your customer’s alarm has a dead battery, Anon should be more worried about diagnosing the problem and not about getting sued.
          A low battery signal could be a sign of something more serious.  It could be that the panel was unplugged, or tripped a breaker, and the panel kept sending signals until the battery died.  Now the customer has no alarm.  A low battery isn’t necessarily an emergency, but it is an opportunity.  You can bill to replace it, and you might even find something else in the system that is in need of repair.
          The biggest mistake in pushing this type of work off onto your central station is that you pass up an opportunity to serve your customer.  And, as they say, “if you don’t serve your customer, someone else will.”
Mitch Reitman 
817 698 9999 x 101
          Central stations take heed, more reporting is better than less reporting, and low battery is something that needs to be reported.  Make sure you comply with the written call list the subscriber has provided, and if you don’t have one, remedy that pronto.

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
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