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More on CS offering to cancel signals within 30 seconds

February 3, 2024
More on CS offering to cancel signals within 30 seconds from article on January 29, 2024
          I appreciate and respect what you do for our industry but I believe I must respond about your response to “Eric” who questions a CS who “offers” to cancel an alarm within thirty seconds.
          First of all, Eric programs his alarm panels.  If he does not want his CS to cancel alarms he should not transmit a cancel code.  His choice - that simple.
          Cancel Codes typically are transmitted when the intrusion system has been disarmed AFTER an intrusion alarm has been transmitted.
If he doesn’t want the CS to cancel the alarm why the hell would he send it in the first place?
          We transmit arming and disarming reports AND we program the automation to hold intrusion alarms for thirty seconds waiting for a disarming before an intrusion signal comes to an operator.  This saves hundreds or thousands of false alarm calls to the police every year.
          Respectfully I suggest your response may have failed to recognize that Central Stations must employ many methods to reduce false dispatches and these methods all take time – somewhat more than 30 seconds.  Verification calls to the premises, enhanced verification calls to folk at home and cancel code reception are all industry accepted ways to reduce false alarms. 
          In Canada our intrusion monitoring standards allow a FIVE MINUTE window to perform verification procedures and our fire monitoring standard specifically prohibits verification calls.
 Dave Currie
Damar Security Systems
CAN/ULC 301 Intrusion Monitoring Standard Chair
          I’m not sure we disagree.  I didn’t read the issue as you did.  You suggest that Eric not program cancellation signals so that the cs won’t get them.  My issue was that I didn’t think that the cs should wait to get the cancellation signal on every security alarm.  I’m not sure if that is what you’re suggesting, a delay in dispatch to give the end user time to cancel a false alarm.  If that is your suggest I cannot agree.  Life safety trumps the false alarm issue for me.  A delay of any time could be a deciding factor in loss or no loss or reduction in loss.  For me, false alarms are a cost of doing business for the municipality.  While the media may report on false alarm expense to the public on occasion think how fast and furious the media would be to learn that police response could have been sooner, would have been sooner and would have made the difference; that needs to happen only once.   
          Signals should be reported as soon as possible with no delay.  That’s me talking as an alarm end user consumer and lawyer. 
          Municipalities have measures at their disposal to deal with false alarms.  Fining the end user is one; call verification is another; requiring video verification isn’t outrageous anymore and very cost effective and efficient. 
          The industry is well beyond video verification at this point in the sense of an after intrusion video clip that can be used to verify the break-in.  Now the industry is offering video-audio intervention before a break-in.  This interactive surveillance and intervention is not only available but popular in some areas and I believe it will become more popular, ubiquitous in fact.  If there isn’t an about face in this country soon the need for this technology and service is going to be the only alternative to private guards, a very costly proposition. The virtual gate service is already making its way in gated communities that are replacing their 24/7 on duty guards with combined electronic, remotely manned by cs operators, with access control for the gate, audio and video feed to screen those seeking entry. 
          And just try making everyone wait 30 seconds just in case some signals might come in raising objection to the admission.

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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