Monitoring Made Better by CSAA

(Editor’s Note: This is the final part in our series on the associations that came together to create SIAC.)

The Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) makes monitoring better. As one of SIAC’s signature founding parties, along with the Electronic Security Association, Security Industry Association and Canadian Security Association), CSAA’s contributions to the security industry uniquely address issues facing central station monitoring facilities. CSAA was created to provide these companies with an umbrella to cover the special training, regulatory issues, challenges and requirements they face. Their goal is to make monitoring better for the industry, and its customers. They’ve succeeded.
Over the years, we have sung the praises of many CSAA programs, from their Five Diamond Certification program, to their work on the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP) and putting together their annual meeting to inform and educate members on key trends. CSAA gets out in front of the issues, digs into the information, frames the discussion for its members and takes positive action.

Because they have the experience, expertise and staff necessary to research and analyze trends and provide reports to the monitoring side of our industry, CSAA is positioned to help members successfully grow. On the alarm monitoring subject, we are thankful for CSAA’s ongoing effort to update the CS-V-01 standard, and their work on ASAP (see our recent blog on the subject). Alarm monitoring is more consistent and has fewer errors because of CSAA’s ongoing commitment to improve the methods employed by the industry.

Two of CSAA’s major goals include alarm dispatch reduction and the development of industry standards to assure optimum central station performance levels. Both of these benefit SIAC’s mission by helping improve monitoring station performance relative to the response of central station operators to alarms. We appreciate CSAA’s contributions, and fully recognize that our success would be diminished without CSAA’s efforts. For more information on CSAA, go to:

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ESA Doing the Heavy Lifting

(Editor’s Note: This is a second in a series on SIAC’s partners.)

Laws, regulations and policies affecting the electronic security industry and alarm management issues aren’t easy to track if you are a small to mid-sized alarm company. That’s one reason the Electronic Security Association (ESA) is important to so many companies in our industry: They do a lot of the heavy lifting so you don’t have to. We’re proud to have ESA as one of the four founding associations that came together to create SIAC (along with CSAA, SIA and CANASA).
ESA serves companies of all sizes in the electronic security industry. If an important issue comes up regarding licensing, new types of training or education, ESA has the resources to alert you, give you the information you need and get you up to speed. If you run a company and don’t have that extra manpower to be on top of some industry-related issues, ESA is even more invaluable.

Education and training fall under ESA’s umbrella. Through ESA education and training, the technicians who take to the field are better prepared to install and service equipment to the highest standards. That improves alarm management practices by reducing the number of errors that could come from an alarm system. We appreciate that, and not only do individual companies benefit from this, but our entire industry does because fewer false dispatches means alarm system owners get better response times from local emergency services. ESA makes us all look better.

Beyond those benefits, ESA advocates for you by staying on top of government regulations and legislation. They provide insurance tools. They post regular updates electronically, and set up special meetings and lobbying sessions, all to ensure the interests of the electronic security industry are properly represented. There are many reasons to join ESA and participate in the many different types of events offered by ESA. One of the most important is that they have extra expertise to make your business better.
One of the most significant opportunities you gain is networking with other companies. This is a hidden treasure of ESA membership! Dealers outside of your local competition are usually very eager to share their successes at national meetings. One good idea, one enhancement to sales or operations can easily cover the cost of your membership and the expense of travel to one of these meetings. In fact, the annual ESA Leadership Summit is just around the corner!

We appreciate ESA’s continued support. It’s far too easy to overlook the ongoing benefits ESA provides. We never do. For more on ESA:

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SIA Delivers to the Security Industry

(Editor’s note: This is a first in a series on the associations that came together to create SIAC. They include SIA, ESA, CSAA and CANASA. This week we will focus on SIA. We thank all four for their ongoing contributions in multiple ways to the electronic security industry.)
The Security Industry Association (SIA) is one of four major associations that came together to help form SIAC. The others include the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) and Canadian Alarm Association (CANASA). SIA covers the manufacturing side of the house, ESA the systems integrators, CSAA supports monitoring businesses, and CANASA is our Canadian technology
Each provides unique and important services to their members. SIA, which has a worldwide focus, protects and advances their member’s interests by:
• advocating pro-industry policies and legislation on Capitol Hill and throughout the 50 states;
• producing leading-edge global market research;
• creating open industry standards that enable integration;
• advancing industry professionalism through education and training; and
• opening global market opportunities.

We’d like to focus on two of these in terms of how specifically SIA helps us on alarm management standards — their work on industry standards and advancing industry professionalism. Both of these activities are important when it comes to improving how our industry sets and follows technical standards and specifications, and then trains and educates employees to effectively install and service security systems.

Like football, it’s the fundamentals that make things go for an electronic security system company. You must be able to block well to move the ball on offense, and tackle properly on defense to stop the opponent. When it comes to your business, strong standards must be developed for the equipment we use, so that it is of the highest quality. That’s basic stuff, just like blocking and tackling.

Similarly, training your people is how you build a strong customer base and continue to develop it. If your people are up-to-date on training requirements, your customers will get the best service possible from your technicians. Again, that’s the blocking and tackling necessary for your team to succeed.

SIA does much more, from its pro-industry support on policies and legislation at the federal and state levels to the research they provide on critical issues. Check out their web site for more information:

SIAC thanks SIA for all its contributions to our industry, and the direct support they provide us. SIA has contributed $1.8 million to SIAC over the past twelve years, and we want to offer them a HUGE thank you! We appreciate their continuous involvement.

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Small Local Events can Yield Big Rewards

ISC West
Many companies in the electronic security industry choose to attend the big national events – ISC East and West, ESX, ASIS, among others. That’s good. You get to network. You are exposed to new technologies. And you hear about trends affecting our industry.

These bigger events are not the only ones that give security companies value. Distributors, manufacturers and others often offer smaller local events to demonstrate a new product. Don’t overlook them. They are more intimate so you will get more one-on-one attention. You’ll gain knowledge on the product.

Importantly, you should also get training on how to install or utilize the new product. That’s important to ensure any new alarm system component is properly installed. Hearing the word from the horse’s mouth gives you direct information on the best way to effectively and safely install a new piece of equipment.

Keep your eyes and ears open. Local associations often promote these types of events, so check those web sites and emails sent your way from your state or local alarm association. Set aside time for you and key employees to attend some of these every year. You may find the exact technology for your needs, and learn how to install it to a high quality standard. That’s good for your business.

Training and the ever-expansion of your knowledge of products is invaluable and a necessity in these days of change. To not invest your time in these areas could lead to your obsolescence. Stay relevant and up-to-date.

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ADT Goes Live with ASAP; Others Expected to Follow

ADT recently announced going live with ASAP (Automated Secure Alarm Protocol), and according to CSAA (Central Station Alarm Association) Executive Director Jay Hauhn, that action should spur its adoption by others (See:

This is extremely encouraging news, and a major step forward for more effective response program to alarms. It is also a large positive step for law enforcement by taking some of the human error out of calls to police for alarm dispatch.
police dispatch
ASAP is designed to improve the speed and accuracy of transmitting data from alarm monitoring centers to PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Point). Because alarm users’ information has already been inputted to a data system within ASAP, when an alarm is triggered, that information can be immediately dispatched electronically to PSAPs, rather than a call being placed. That streamlines the process and reduces errors.

SIAC has long been a proponent of ASAP, working with monitoring centers and local governments across the country to build support for the program. This step by ADT increases visibility and viability of ASAP’s value to others. As the network of companies actively using this system grows, it makes sense for others to join as well.

Similar to any adoption of new technology, the first step towards adoption is often the hardest. We’ve seen specific cities pick up the protocol the past few years. Now with the addition of a major company like ADT implementing ASAP, SIAC is hopeful others take note and jump on board. It makes sense for security companies to make this adjustment both for business reasons, to improve alarm management practices, and to help build stronger relationships with local law enforcement.

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Remember to Pay your Alarm Fees

A recent story in Spokane Sportsman-Review in Washington reminds us of an important point: When alarm registration fees are assessed by a local police department, it is important to pay them. If not, you may get delayed service.

The story in the Spokesman-Review explained how a local business had not paid its registration fees. The fees that the city collects help offset the cost of sending vehicles and personnel to false dispatch calls. The goal, the ordinance says, is “to assure that responses to false alarms do not diminish the availability of police services to the general public.”
convenience store
Cities that establish fees and fines in their alarm ordinances do so for a reason: To cover the costs of administering the program. If alarm owners are recalcitrant, that constrains the police and their ability to respond. No one wants a delayed response to an alarm.

SIAC encourages you to stay on top of your responsibilities if you are a business or home with an alarm system. Be aware of registration and re-registration periods for your alarm permits. If you are assessed a fine, make sure to pay it in a timely manner. It’s the responsible and right thing to do.

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Take on what you can Manage

We’re a firm believer in never taking on more than you can manage. Make a simple change, see what the results are, then determine what’s next. For some companies that means take it one step at a time. For security companies with more layers of management/oversight, and that work on multiple projects, it may mean determine your limits and make sure you can handle what is on your plate before you move to the next issue
business results
This concept applies to how you run your business AND improving your alarm management practices. We have a host of these on our web site,, but SIAC does not encourage companies to take on many new procedures all at once. Instead, pick the ones where you can demonstrate sustained success, then build on them.

For example, two-call verification (Enhanced Call Verification – ECV) takes knowledge (regarding how to implement the procedure), requires training for your employees, and mandates that you follow up to determine how successful it has been, and where you may need to troubleshoot to improve implementation. It’s a lot to take on. If you were changing your equipment standards and giving your employees new instructions to share with customers during installations, that’s a lot for you to undertake at once.

Easily, you could over-burden yourself or find that alarm management improvements you seek aren’t actually occurring. In fact, quite possibly things could go in the wrong direction.

So step back when you look at how you want to help customers reduce unnecessary alarm activations. Pick the areas where you know you can improve with a sustained effort. Execute on them. See where it takes you. Then look for the next opportunity. You’ll find yourself more on top of the issues, and able to clearly see results. That’s important to help improve performance.

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