How dealers can help reduce false alarms

A look at several products and tips that can aid customers


False alarms aren’t just an annoyance for homeowners. They can cost local authorities millions of dollars and valuable man hours each year, resulting in hefty fines and subsequent customer dissatisfaction.

Adding two-way voice communication to a customer’s security system is one way dealers can simultaneously suppress attrition and increase RMR. Two-way interactive voice verification – the ability for central station operators to directly communicate with customers during an alarm event – is a key technological advancement that can help combat false alarms. The hands-free, two-way speaker system acts as an intercom and enables homeowners to verify an emergency with a monitoring center operator from anywhere in the home.

The majority of today’s new alarm panels are two-way voice compatible. Over the last two years, two-way voice over cellular capability has also become an attractive option for the growing number of wireless-only households. It’s a logical bundle with interactive services that allow customers to remotely manage and arm/disarm their system from anywhere on a compatible smartphone or tablet.

False alarm prevention is an industry-wide effort. Monitronics International, the national leader in two-way voice communication, was honored by the False Alarm Reduction Association in 2011 for partnering with law enforcement agencies to reduce false alarms from .67 percent to 0.5 percent.

Because user error is a significant factor in false alarms, companies must emphasize prevention efforts to their subscriber base. Among the tips for customers:

  • Know their alarm code.
  • Secure all doors and windows before arming their system.
  • Don’t relocate motion detectors near vents.
  • Replace their system’s batteries.
  • Test their system regularly.
  • Cover their smoke detectors during construction, building repairs and major cleaning.
  • Ensure that trusted visitors know how to disarm the system. Make sure to cancel special alarm codes for houseguests once their visit ends.