SIAC urges compliance with best practices to avoid false panic alarms

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

FRISCO, Texas—The Security Industry Alarm Coalition, a North American industry organization focused on alarm management, is urging the use of best practices to reduce false panic alarms triggered by key fobs, according to a news release.

“This type of false alarm is dangerous for first responders and alarm owners because it does not allow for cancellation and two-call verification procedures,” Stan Martin, SIAC executive director, said in a prepared statement. “In addition, key fob alarms are considered a signal of immediate distress.”

Statistics show that 99.999 percent of key fob alarms are invalid, triggered by everything “from a child playing with the device to someone pushing the wrong button on the fob or activating it while it is in their purse or pocket,” the release noted.

The major problem is that, unlike other alarms, there is no way to cancel this alarm signal.

“Because the alarms can also be silent, the alarm owner may not be aware it has been triggered until police show up at the front door,” Martin noted in the release. “Most alarm company owners in business for 30 or 40 years tell us they have not had even one actual duress signal event result in a true duress situation for residential systems.”

He added: “We cannot justify dispatching on what we know from experience to be a ‘one in a million’ probability of a true duress event.”

The alarm industry addressed this issue early on when it eliminated the one plus duress signals from alarm panels, which is now covered under the ANSI SIA CP-O1 control panel standard, the release noted. Under this scenario, adding one to the last digit of the code would disarm the system and send a silent duress signal to the central station.

“Our industry recognizes the need to be eternally vigilant to ways we can improve best practices and eliminate known problems,” said Martin. “Although offering to program key fobs for panic alarms may seem like a good selling tool, they are in fact likely to cause more problems for the alarm owner and police than they are worth.”