Sunday, February 27, 2011

Where is the Hold Up?

nly a Fire alarm?
The alarm monitoring company sent you for no reason?

I do work for a chain of stores were I install the Fire Alarm when the store is put in and it is monitored and maintained by a National Accounts division of a large Alarm company.
They give me the information to program into the panel as to receiver phone number to call. Account number, format and codes etc.
Normally no big deal. But this was not the case recently in Uniontown Pa.
Where “Yes Virginia technicians and employees at alarm company's really are this stupid.”
The panel I use is a top of the line fire panel manufactured by Silent Knight and every Silent Knight panel is pre-programmed at the factory as to what code comes into the central station. It is standard for all there panels. This has never been a problem I send the panel specifications and pre-programmed codes sheet to the central station data entry people which programs there automation software for the store what the individual codes coming in mean in this case they are using 4/2 format example 63 1234 comes in this means zone 63 retail area fire alarm trouble at account 1234. But because the personel at this particular large alarm company are so incompetent instead of setting the Silent Knight defaults into the automation software like every other company seems to be able to do with out problem they use there regular defaults and 63 1234 means a hold up alarm. Result the Uniontown Police respond quickly and quietly expecting a hold up in progress.
Putting these fine officers lives in danger responding to get there and every motorist they must pass on the way to every one in the store in danger because the police are responding thinking they have a potential armed robber in the store.
Instead of responding the fire company's for duct detector trouble activation due to a furnace spewing dust and smoke when it was first turned on. Just imagine the opposite happening because these idiots could just have easily dispatched a fire company to a fire alarm call when in fact it was a hold up in progress and yes it has happened due to incompetent employees at an alarm company.
I get called by the Uniontown fire dept about the problem as they can not get hold of any one at the monitoring company to solve the problem which is another on going complaint they do not answer there phones in the evening and if they do the people at the central station can not help them. And I respond down to the store in the morning to try and figure out what is going on and now for the 4th time send written instructions to the monitoring company they have there data base screwed up there is no burglar or hold up system in the store. I arrive at the store call the monitoring company to put the system on hold and do not dispatch and I explain what the problem is I start working on the system and suddenly
3 police cars show up with officers to respond to a hold up alarm.
Needless to say the officers are not happy I explain to them the problem give them the 800 numbers for the monitoring company and when they call all they keep getting is voice mail for the supervisors .At this point I would not blame the city of Uniontown for filing criminal complaints of false reporting against the monitoring company for fooling around and acting like idiots. Luckily I find and temporarily disable the duct detector to stop the immediate problem and the heating contractor was due in later in the day to correct the furnace problem. And I file reports with the store management and Uniontown fire and police depts. . Who at this point have gone beyond the call of duty dealing with this out of state monitoring company? Then once again I send written certified letter what is wrong at this store and what needs done to correct it to the monitoring company who will get around to it in a couple of weeks.
Needless to say this is once again a case were codes need serious looking at I have written in previous articles were these central stations are getting to big and alarms going out of state lines are bad news. To compound the problem as phone lines are going digital 4/2 is becoming an obsolete format they should be using Contact ID, SIA or similar digital compatible format to prevent signals from clashing and not coming thru and the newer formats clearly define what they are so a fire is a fire not mistaken as a hold up.
But once again money rules the day these large retail chains use these large national accounts division company's so everything is the same every where in the country but the problem is these alarm company's are to big to properly get the job done do not properly train there people and UL who’s listing service is not doing its job making sure signals are properly being handled and rules to stay a UL listed facility like response times are followed. and there is no oversight of these company's who operate with impunity out of state and out of reach.

No comments:

Post a Comment