301.519.9237 exdirector@nesaus.org

6.30.19- FARA

The False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA) is an association primarily of persons employed by government and public safety agencies in charge of, or working in, False Alarm Reduction Units.

FARA opposes legislation that limits local government options to reduce false alarms and properly respond to alarms.

  • California Assembly Bill -1289 prohibits a locality from fining an alarm company for requesting a dispatch without a permit, if the locality holds the alarm owner (consumer) responsible for obtaining the permit and notifies the alarm company of the status of the permit.
  • Tennessee Senate BILL 1443 prohibits a local government from requiring any alarm systems contractor or business to pay for or be responsible for fines or fees relative to false alarms, false alarm dispatches, alarm permits, or alarm renewal permit.

These may seem like wins for alarm companies, but they create several problems for public safety that may lead to less favorable things for alarm companies.

Alarm Permits Promote Public Safety

Localities require permits when alarm companies request public safety response to alarms allow the 911 call taker to quickly pull up the records for the alarm site, ensures public safety goes to correct address, ensure any fine goes to correct user and allow follow-up to deal with repeat offenders.

Requesting Dispatches without Permit Numbers Happens Often

Most alarm companies put systems in service as soon as the installation is complete. At the end of the install they tell the customer to register the alarm with local government and get the alarm permit. In the fine print it tells the customer to let the alarm company know when they get the permit. An alarm may occur right after the installer leaves, it is not uncommon that one happens before any permit has been obtained.

Alarm Companies That Fail to Supply Permit Numbers Should be Accountable

Alarm companies have systems and software in place to stop requesting public safety dispatch when the customer stops paying their bill. These systems and software already support or can easily be modified to allow the alarm company to stop requesting public safety dispatch if they fail to obtain or renew an alarm permit. Alarm companies are in the best position to get the alarm permit before they request a dispatch.

Alarm Companies Can Cause False Alarms

Miscommunication between a technician at the alarm site and the monitoring center and mistakes on account numbers can lead to a false dispatch. When the alarm company is clearly at fault many alarm ordinances hold the alarm company responsible.

Cutting Options Can Push Toward Less Favorable Options

Local government works to effectively respond to alarms. The California Bill encourages localities to hold alarm
companies responsible for registering alarms and paying fines in order to preserve their options. The Tennessee bill encourages localities to consider verified response as their options on alarm ordinances are limited. The lack of proper consultation with local alarm units on both bills discourages future cooperative effort.

Cooperative Effort is Still Possible

FARA encourages cooperative effort on false alarm reduction. While the California and Tennessee efforts are bad examples, previous efforts were good ones. We hope that SIAC and state associations will seek cooperation rather than confrontation in future efforts.

Kerri McDonald
FARA President