Disconcerting Performance from Monitoring Service
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8 posts in this topic

A recent experience leaves me feeling queasy about the efficacy of the Professional Monitoring service. On a recent morning, some Christmas decorations caught fire at 6:43 am. I missed a call from the monitoring service at 6:44. They didn't call the FD until 6:48 (I checked the FD records later). The decorations were removed safely by us, but the house was filled with smoke and sirens for a while. I kept trying to call the monitoring service back to cancel the FD call, but for almost 15 minutes (until 6:57), my calls went to voicemail. After several failed attempts to reach the service, I finally called the FD directly and let them know, but they had dispatched two trucks which showed up some minutes later.

Two things trouble me:

1) Why the five minute delay when they couldn't reach me? When I used a wired monitored system, we burned something on the stove and the call went out to the FD immediately, with the trucks practically at my door 5 minutes later. Minutes count.

2) It is unacceptable for the monitoring service to be unavailable for an extended length of time. When I finally reached the service, the FD trucks were just arriving, so I didn't have long to "chat", but the excuse for being placed on hold for so long was that they provide services to several different companies and they were having a busy night.

I've expressed dissatisfaction to a Tier 1 CSR with promises they would run it up the chain but I've heard nothing back. I was encouraged to post on the blog to better bring attention to the issue. Wow.  Poor show.

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When my wife was disarming one time she hit panic and I got a call within 2 minutes from the call center saying is everything okay and I told them what happened and they said PD was on the way and nothing they could do. 5 minutes from the time of panic PD was at my door asking if everything was okay. I call that a good test and yes I know 5 minutes feels like forever but I am lucky to get out the door with 2 kids and put up 2 dogs in 5 minutes. 

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3 hours ago, thegillion said:

When my wife was disarming one time she hit panic and I got a call within 2 minutes from the call center saying is everything okay and I told them what happened and they said PD was on the way and nothing they could do. 5 minutes from the time of panic PD was at my door asking if everything was okay. I call that a good test and yes I know 5 minutes feels like forever but I am lucky to get out the door with 2 kids and put up 2 dogs in 5 minutes. 

My problem with that is they dispatched the police to your house before calling to make sure everything was OK.  My wife set off our CPI system when she took an unhumanly hot shower and opened the bathroom door to the hallway before the vanity side and the steam set the fire alarm off.  They called to make sure everything was ok before dispatching the fire out.  The police departments around here charge for false calls from alarm systems, etc.

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13 hours ago, accessdenied79 said:

My problem with that is they dispatched the police to your house before calling to make sure everything was OK.  My wife set off our CPI system when she took an unhumanly hot shower and opened the bathroom door to the hallway before the vanity side and the steam set the fire alarm off.  They called to make sure everything was ok before dispatching the fire out.  The police departments around here charge for false calls from alarm systems, etc.

My understanding is that this is "by design". It's only panic alarms that get dispatched immediately. Fire and burglary call first.
I guess the logic is that panic button alarms are usually when someone is in immediate danger and has made a deliberate effort to hit a panic button... in cases like an active home invasion lives could be at stake and there is no time to waste.
It could be argued the same for burglary and/or fire, but TYPICALLY those are cases of property damage/theft. There is a better case for immediate dispatch for fire do to the possibility of loss of life, but there is probably a much higher false alarm rate for fire than panic (ie. I've never had a false panic alarm, yet I've had false alarms from smoke detectors).

This all sounds fine unless you have a toddler who has just become obsessed buttons. My 2YO hasn't hit the panic button YET, but only because I've caught it more than once. He has hit other buttons on my keypads, but I've been pretty lucky. One arm of our couch is right below the keypad in the living room, so he has a bad habit of standing on the couch and trying to press buttons.

I might be imagining this, but it seems I have also heard that carbon monoxide alarms are also an automatic dispatch without confirmation. This would also make sense, because carbon monoxide is a silent killer and can be an immediate threat to life. I also would imagine that there is a very low false alarm rate with CO alarms.

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19 hours ago, Smitho said:

My understanding is that this is "by design". It's only panic alarms that get dispatched immediately. Fire and burglary call first.
I guess the logic is that panic button alarms are usually when someone is in immediate danger and has made a deliberate effort to hit a panic button... in cases like an active home invasion lives could be at stake and there is no time to waste.
It could be argued the same for burglary and/or fire, but TYPICALLY those are cases of property damage/theft. There is a better case for immediate dispatch for fire do to the possibility of loss of life, but there is probably a much higher false alarm rate for fire than panic (ie. I've never had a false panic alarm, yet I've had false alarms from smoke detectors).

This all sounds fine unless you have a toddler who has just become obsessed buttons. My 2YO hasn't hit the panic button YET, but only because I've caught it more than once. He has hit other buttons on my keypads, but I've been pretty lucky. One arm of our couch is right below the keypad in the living room, so he has a bad habit of standing on the couch and trying to press buttons.

I might be imagining this, but it seems I have also heard that carbon monoxide alarms are also an automatic dispatch without confirmation. This would also make sense, because carbon monoxide is a silent killer and can be an immediate threat to life. I also would imagine that there is a very low false alarm rate with CO alarms.

True, didn't think about the "panic" aspect of it, that makes sense.  I guess I am just used to false alarms where the wife/kids forget to disarm the alarm before letting the dog out, etc. :lol:

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