4 Key Misses With Medical Alarms

 

ambulance
“Image courtesy of Kenn Kaiser on FreeImages.com”

We all know there are the accidental medical alarm triggers. You know, the ones where customers are attempting to clear trouble signals from their alarms and push the triangle button instead, thereby triggering their medical alarms? While those are unfortunate, they’re not the alarms that concern the dispatch team (mostly because those people answer the phones clearly and quickly advise them of the mistake).

The concerns come with the customers that may have systems or known health issues that depend on their alarm systems primarily due to medical necessities. While occasionally they have the accidental button pushes or triggers from their systems, it’s also not uncommon to find that there is, in fact, a situation that calls for dispatch, and the patient is unable to give the full breadth of details that enable EMS to be completely prepared.

Here are 4 things Operators would appreciate being included/noted on the account:

  1. Patient Name and Age – It’s one of the first things dispatch asks for, and rarely do we know the answer unless we’re actually able to speak to the customer and/or a care giver. And even then, sometimes, if they’re panicked or in pain, the information isn’t given.
  2. Major Medical Issues/History – If there is a known history of health issues like diabetes, heart attack, stroke, or fall risk, EMS knowing this information before they arrive can ensure they’re properly prepared and can react appropriately and with speed.
  3. Keys/Gate Code – If there are hidden keys, gate codes, or info on how to properly access the location, it speeds up the time with which dispatch is able to respond if they know how to get in.
  4. Allergy/Medications List – Most people with health issues have a med and/or allergy list. It helps if we know where to direct EMS to find it. It also ensures that they don’t attempt to treat with something that could create an allergic reaction or a counter-reaction due to medications.

These little details not only help to speed up dispatch, but they ensure that our customers get the best possible care in an accurate and timely manner.

And if you need help figuring out Stages, click HERE to view helpful videos.

 

5 Times to Test #SecurityEducation

 

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As dealers, it’s important that your customers keep their equipment in tip-top shape. It helps if they know where to call if and when they need to put their accounts on test and when to do so.

  1. Monthly or Quarterly Alarm Test – Encourage your customers to call the central station to place their accounts on test so that they can make sure their alarms are sending the information to central station. Not only does it ensure the system is working, it gives your customers peace of mind.
  2. Cooking or Fireplace Accidents – We all know that everyone is going to burn something in the kitchen sometime. Or forget to open the flue when lighting their fireplace for the first time. It doesn’t necessarily mean the fire department is needed to respond. If it’s under control, make sure your customers know they can ask the Central Station operator to place their system on test for an hour to clear the smoke rather than chance an accidental dispatch if it goes off again and they don’t hear their phone.
  3. Sensor or Alarm Malfunctions – The reality is that sensors can go bad. Alarms can malfunction. If your customers know that this is the case and it’s going to take some time before they can troubleshoot with a tech or schedule a service call, it’s okay for them to ask for those zones to be placed on test. Not only will it same them frustration and possible fines, it will also ensure that the Central Station is handling actual alarms.
  4. Service Workers, Pets, or House Guests – It happens all the time. Grandma came to visit, but can’t figure out the alarm, and the homeowners are at work. Or Fido is wandering the house and setting off motion sensors while mom and dad are at work. Or maybe service people are there to paint the living room and the alarm was never disarmed. Whatever the case may be, it’s okay for your customers to ask the dispatcher to put the alarm or the zone on test for a period of time.
  5. Construction – Construction dust has been known to set off fire alarms. If customers know that they’ve got active construction going on let them know to request the alarm be placed on test.

Even better, if a customer anticipates that any of the above may happen, we gladly encourage you to welcome them to call the Central Station and proactively place the accounts/zones on test and save themselves both hassles and fines!

5 Negative Impacts of Obsolete Keyholder Lists

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“Image courtesy of Courtney Icenhour on FreeImages.com”

After a customer signs up for Alarm Service, they assume their part is over and, from an equipment install aspect, they’re mostly right. But there are things, life changes, where their lack of understanding or knowledge could be harmful without a team assist from you, their dealers.

One of the biggest ways we can help them is by ensuring they understand the value of updating their contact lists. Here are some of the impacts of obsolete call lists.

  1. False alarm fines and angry customers. Customers have a tendency to assume if they have an alarm, but don’t hear from the monitoring station that either the alarm was never received or dispatchers never bothered to call.
  2. Person authorizing cancel is no longer a decision maker or employee. Let’s face it. People divorce. They get terminated. If they’re still on the call list an know code, they can authorize a disregard. The operators have to hope that the person on the other end of the line has enough integrity to tell them if they’re no longer associated with an account. But if they aren’t, the business/homeowner could be left vulnerable.
  3. Keyholders may have changed or disconnected numbers. There’s not much more frustrating for an operator than a confirmed burglary or crime where the police are requesting a keyholder only to find every number is either disconnected or “not accepting calls at this time.” When that happens, our next call is to you, the dealer, with a request to try to reach your customer.
  4. Keyholders listed are deceased. You’d be surprised at how often someone will answer the phone for a keyholder only for our dispatchers to discover that we’re speaking to the spouse of the contact person and that the person has passed away, sometimes years before, and that our operators have not only not gotten code, but have also managed to upset someone still grieving.
  5. No response to actual crimes. When the person perpetrating the crime is listed on the keys list and able to verify or advise that a dispatch is ok to “clear as a false alarm,” the signal is cleared out as completed. There is no way for a dispatcher to know that the person who is perpetrating the crime, be it vandalism, theft, or worse, is actually the criminal if they’re able to verify. Sadly, since up to 50% of home burglaries are committed by someone you may know (maybe a neighbor or relative), and during broad daylight, it becomes key to be alerted to changes in the family dynamic. Drugs are a big reason people commit burglary, so if a family member or employee is no longer deemed trustworthy, or they’re a former employee who is disgruntled, these lists need to be changed.

What can you, the dealer, do to ensure that you have the most updated list possible?

  • Make sure the customer knows the importance of a current, updated keyholder list and password.
  • Once a year, send an email or letter with a request or reminder for an updated contact list.
  • Make sure your customers know your requirements for updating their call lists. (Do you need it in writing? Will you accept it via email? Can they call in the changes?)
  • Watch your emails/texts from Stages. When an Operator marks a wrong number and removes the digits from the system, it generates an email/text to you.
  • If Central Station calls you about issues with keyholders, reach out to your customers.

Stages even gives you, the dealer, the autonomy of updating the keys list yourself without having to fax or email data entry. If you aren’t sure how, click HERE for the tutorial.

4 Most Underused & Important Signals

 

Keypad
“Image courtesy of Ove Tøpfer on FreeImages.com”

We really appreciate our installers and value their customers and the trust they put in us to keep them safe, along with their businesses. We guard them for Fire, Burglary, Medical, and Panic/Duress, but there are other things that we can monitor to help ensure our customers be safe and confident in our care… Non-Emergency signals that are surprisingly underutilized.

Failure To Test/Communicate – Our Central Station sometimes gets calls from customers saying “I accidentally set off my alarm and no one called me” or “My home (or business) was broken into and you never notified me.” And unfortunately, sometimes our answer is that we never received a signal from their alarm system. And much of the time it could’ve been prevented.

This signal is so valuable in alerting the customer and you, the dealer, that their alarm panel may either not be communicating properly or may need a service call. The signal can be something you monitor via email or text or it can be something the Central Station calls the customer on. The choice is yours. But more importantly, you’ll know if and when it doesn’t send signals.

Opens/Closings – Yes, this signal lets us know when someone enters their codes into the alarm. More importantly, it tells us when the alarm is armed or disarmed. You’d be surprised at how often a customer may ask us if someone entered in codes to their alarm and we don’t know because it’s not set to respond. Information like this can help a home or business owner make a decision that can prevent false alarm responses and give them peace of mind.

Water Alarms – This notification alarm can be a huge life saver, especially during these winter months when frozen pipes or sump pump issues can do so much damage to a home.

System Inactivity – This signal is simple. It just lets us know when an alarm hasn’t been used (armed or disarmed) in a little while. This is something we can report with a phone call or an email/text message so that you, the dealer, can check on your customers are okay.

These signals are some of the less popular troubles, but the rewards to our dealers and customers can be priceless! It helps us help you limit your liability and aid in keeping your customers safe.

And if you’re still struggling to figure out Stages, click HERE for the tutorials.

When Burglary Strikes…

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“Image courtesy of Brad Harrison on FreeImages.com”

When a customer’s home or business burglary alarm goes off, what can you expect of our Central Station Operators to protect your clients and their property?

It actually depends on you and your instructions! If there are no special instructions, the steps are easy.

  • Call 2 numbers to verify whether or not it’s an actual alarm.
  • Dispatch police.
  • Call up to 4 more numbers on the call list to notify of alarm and dispatch.

It goes without saying that we also do the following steps:

  • If given the password, we clear the signal as a false alarm.
  • If the wrong password is given or no answer, we dispatch, then continue our calls.
  • If one of the notification calls advises of the false alarm and gives code, we attempt to cancel the police. (Please keep in mind, whether or not they cancel is their call.)
  • If we reach a notification call, we also find out if they will be responding, then update police with name, transportation description, and ETA if they are.
  • If the burlary is confirmed by police, we notify keyholders and the dealer.

Those are the standard steps. But you, the dealer, are in control and are able to adjust the responses to fit the needs of your businesses.

For example, if you need us to dispatch immediately, then verify? We can do it. If you want us to dispatch after 1 call verification? We can do it. If you don’t want us to dispatch at all? Yes, we can do notification calls only.

What we need from you? Clear and specific instructions for any exceptions you would like us to make when we respond to your alarms. For example:

  • If you want 1 call verification, spell it out.
  • If you require dispatch only if multiple zones are tripped, tell us.
  • If you want us not to dispatch if Opens, Closes, or Cancels are received, we need to know.

The ball is always in you and your customers’ court. We simply want everyone to be safe and supported. Every bit of information you give us helps ensure a reduction in false alarms.

And if you’re still trying to figure out Stages, click HERE!

 

5 Ways to Prevent Dispatch Delays

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“Image courtesy of DeplacentD on FreeImages.com”

In our business, timely responses are everything. Our Central Station dispatchers strive to ensure that we’re able to help your customers as quickly and efficiently as possible because, from Day 1, we make sure they understand their jobs are to help save lives and property. And they take pride in giving YOU, our dealers, their very best.

Part of their success counts on you, the dealer, ensuring they have the tools they need to succeed on your behalf.

Here are 5 simple things YOU can do to ensure our dispatchers’ success and, ultimately, your customer’s peace of mind.

  1. Make sure you have the correct dispatch numbers on the account and properly identified in the “Relation” field in Stages. (You’d be surprised how often we have incorrect or NO dispatch numbers. Having a wrong or nonexistent dispatch number means the operator has to search for the correct one before they continue with dispatch.)
  2. Make sure that the verification lists are current. (Often we find the primary number is the disconnected landline left from before the customer went wireless. Or, in the case of businesses, the person who answers no longer works for that company.)
  3. Make sure the address is correct, and if you can, include the cross streets. (This can be as simple as not having the North or South descriptors, but it all makes a difference.)
  4. If licenses or permits are required, please make sure we either have the proper information or the instructions you wish for the operators to follow.
  5. It helps if your customers know their passcodes, their duress codes, and the difference between the two. (We understand customers aren’t perfect, and when they give us both, our operators try to use their best judgment.)

And if you still haven’t had a chance to check out the Stages tutorials, click HERE!

 

The Journey Begins

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

 

Lao-Tzu

For a while now, we’ve wanted to create a deeper, stronger connection with our dealers. One that would enable us to be flexible, more available, and simply put, more connected.

We’ve wanted to create a place where we could share some thoughts on ways to help our dealers with some of the day to day issues we see both in the support side of the business, as well as in the central station. We also wanted to share successes, positive feedback, and what’s new or interesting in our shared industry.

Over the years, many of you have developed strong personal relationships with us and our team, and we’d like to continue to extend the process and help each other grow. To that end, we’re now officially on LinkedIN, Twitter, and of course, Facebook (and the buttons to follow us is on the sidebar of this blog).

With all the other changes that have rolled out (Stages), we figured now was the perfect time to launch ourselves into the social media stratosphere, as well! In the upcoming weeks you’ll see all sorts of helpful tips and tools to continue to build your business!

Thanks again for all your support! YOU are an important part of our TEAM!