Publications About Creating & Running Alarm Units

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Manuals & Guides

  • How to Develop and Implement a False Alarm Reduction Program
     An absolute must for any municipality that is considering enacting its own alarm ordinance or even one that is considering amending a current ordinance! This manual provides the reader with a step-by-step approach to developing a successful false alarm reduction program. It covers everything from how to garner support from your legislators to what might be contained in an effective ordinance to personnel, startup costs and timelines. Seasoned false alarm managers, who, combined, have over 200 years of false alarm reduction efforts under their belts, provided the information contained in the manual. Download a PDF version
  • How to Create an Alarm User Awareness School for Your Municipality
    Alarm user awareness schools can provide your municipality with an excellent platform in which to educate alarm users about the severity of the false alarm problem, the costs and complacency issues it raises for law enforcement, and tips on how to avoid future false alarms. This manual provides you with everything you will need to operate your own school, either on your own or in conjunction with your areas alarm industry representatives. It contains a sample agenda, handouts, a slide presentation, and more! This manual was developed and produced based on a joint effort between the FARA and the ESA (Electronic Systems Association). Download a PDF Version.
  • False Alarm Ordinances
    If you are looking into enacting your own false alarm ordinance and just want to know what others are already doing in the false alarm reduction arena, the False Alarm Ordinance manual is for you! It contains the main provisions of hundreds of different ordinances that are utilized today by your peers. Find out which municipalities: a) require mandatory verification of alarm signals before a request for law enforcement dispatch can occur, b) have permit requirements, c) impose false alarm response fees/fines and what those costs are, and d) have a non-response provision in their ordinance, as well as much, much more. This manual is updated on a yearly basis to include the most current false alarm reduction ordinances in the country. Download a PDF Version.
  • How to Calculate False Alarm Dispatch Statistics
    This manual is a must for any agency that regulates false alarms. The manual explains how to calculate false alarm response costs, defines what types of activations are acceptable defenses and what types are not for assessment purposes, and discusses the publication of false alarm rates for alarm companies. The Standards manual contains many graphs, charts and examples of reports that you may want to use in your own municipality. The manual also contains an excellent matrix of the key questions to ask a municipality when attempting to compare the effectiveness of various ordinances. Download a PDF Version.
  • Quick Reference for Alarm Equipment
    The purpose of this reference guide is to provide public safety and the alarm industry with recommendations regarding alarm system equipment and installation practices that have proven to be highly effective in reducing false alarms and which will make a significant impact on the false alarm problem when fully implemented. The reference guide contains major alarm system components, describes their function, provides recommended applications and lists either the false alarm potential or the false alarm prevention aspects of each component. Download a PDF Version.
  • Alarm Management Software
    The easiest, most efficient way to manage the collection and dissemination of alarm data is through a comprehensive false alarm software package. But, what do you need that software package to do and how do you even determine what your needs are? This manual provides you with an easy to read and understand A to Z guide of questions you should ask, decisions that should be considered, basic features, and options and upgrades for a good, comprehensive false alarm reduction program management software product. This manual is an absolute must for any alarm unit that is considering developing or buying false alarm management software! Download a PDF Version.
  • Job Descriptions for Alarm Unit Staff
     If your municipality has never had an alarm unit and needs to create one, you may be unsure of exactly what classification and/or how many employees you really need. While the complexity and content of your alarm ordinance plays a role in the composition of your unit staff, there are some customary positions and job duties that can be delineated. This manual will help you decide what positions you need and serves as a guide in preparing your own position descriptions and job responsibilities. Download a PDF Version.
  • Proactive Alarm Industry Customer Service: A Law Enforcement Perspective
    One of FARAs main missions is to work with the alarm industry to reduce false alarms. This manual is intended to give a law enforcement perspective on how alarm companies can develop good business practices that will help reduce the false alarms to which law enforcement responds. The manual is based on the experience of alarm coordinators and their staffs throughout the country and addresses issues that law enforcement deals with on a daily basis. The manual covers such topics as customer education and service, employee training, verification of alarm activations, quality alarm equipment, and much, much more. Download a PDF Version. 
  • Software Vendor Questionnaire
    Don’t purchase or develop alarm management (false alarm tracking) software blind! To get a better understanding of your needs and what you want, be sure to ask the right questions and compare apples to apples! A list of questions to use to fully explore the features and costs of each software program that you consider. The questions are those that your fellow ordinance managers could identify based on their experiences in purchasing and using false alarm tracking and billing software. Download a PDF Version.
  • Grant Writing
    The purpose of this guide is to help you get organized when thinking about grant opportunities and to provide information on key elements of grant applications. We have been able to provide you with some reference materials related to grant research, and we have created an organized system that you should be able to follow when you begin your quest for a grant. Download a PDF Version. 
  • Model for Electronic Filing of Alarm System Registrations
    Registration of alarm systems is required under most alarm management programs. As alarm registration programs are being implemented, local government agencies have grappled with a mechanism to easily and efficiently create databases of residential and commercial alarm users with active alarm systems. They have started requesting that alarm companies provide this information to the agencies in an electronic format, absent any type of standard for what information should be provided or in what format. This model provides a recommended protocol for sharing alarm system registration data and proposes standard data file formats for transfer of bulk information between the jurisdictions and the alarm business. It also provides guidance on issues related to “on demand” access to registration/permit information from either alarm businesses or alarm owners on features such as providing permit status changes and updates to information. Download a PDF Version. 
  • Universal Alarm User Permit/Registration Form
    In an effort to standardize forms used throughout North America, FARA has developed a Universal Alarm User Permit/Registration Form. Governments across the nation are moving toward paperless offices, where everything from taxes to bicycle registrations are filed on-line in an electronic format. The “wave of the future” for alarm permits will follow suit. The use of standard forms in this arena will greatly assist municipalities, alarm companies and alarm users in the electronic filing of alarm permit forms. Download a PDF Version. 
  • FARA Acronym and Terms Glossary
    There exists a “foreign language” of acronyms and terms within the security alarm industry that are bandied about at meetings and in printed material. Clearly, this “foreign language” can impede good communication. This guide is a resource to understanding what the more commonly used acronyms and terms mean. Download a PDF Version. 
  • How to Create the Most Effective Annual Report
     This manual is designed to assist you to develop your own annual report. If your command staff is only looking for statistics, obviously that is what you give them. If, however, you have been given no direction on what the contents of your annual report should include, then the sky’s the limit. The tips and information provided in this guide will help you to lay out your report in a cohesive fashion and serve as a reminder of what you may want to include. Download a PDF Version. 
  • Working With Third Party Administration Companies
    Outsourcing is the practice of using outside vendors or service providers to manage certain business functions. Is outsourcing beneficial? For some jurisdictions, a strictly enforced alarm program may be costly. Allowing a third party administrator to have control could help reduce a jurisdiction‟?s administrative cost, free up staff time to concentrate on false alarm reduction strategies and gain access to expertise and technologies that might not otherwise be available. However, outsourcing requires proper management and monitoring of the outside vendor or service provider. Download a PDF Version
  • How to Create Regional Meetings
    Learn how to create regional meetings between law enforcement and alarm industry professionals that can be an extremely valuable tool in addressing false alarm issues in your specific area and in fostering positive working relationships between the two groups. Download a PDF Version. 
  • Alarm Administration and 911
    Next to responding law enforcement officers, fire fighters and EMT’s or medics, the single entity most affected by requests for dispatch to alarm activations is our 911 center personnel; i.e., call takers and dispatchers.  This manual is designed to provide guidance on issues that arise due to alarm requests for dispatch for 911 center personnel, first responders, and false alarm reduction units. Download a PDF Version.
  • Developing a Community Outreach Program
     The purpose of this guide is to act as a resource and provide ideas to members who wish to implement outreach initiatives in the communities in which we live and work. Your community can be defined as any group of people having a common interest residing in the same region.  This can be as small or large an area as you are comfortable with. Reaching out to the community to educate, inform and gather information will help you insure that citizens and the industry know your expectations and will take the time to be compliant. Your community outreach program will result in heightened awareness of how a security system should be installed, used and maintained so that it is an asset to the community. Download a PDF Version

Positions & Resolutions

  • False Alarm Strategies White Paper
    There are numerous programs in effect throughout North America for managing the false alarm problem. The False Alarm Reduction Strategies White Paper outlines 20 different strategies, which are in use today, along with some of the advantages and disadvantages for each method. The most successful alarm management programs have combined several of the strategies to form a comprehensive false alarm reduction program. Law enforcement, alarm industry and alarm users can consider each strategy and determine which combination of strategies will work best for the municipality’s specific needs. Download the full White Paper here. 
  • Verified Response Position Paper
     In an effort to clarify the FARA’s position on Verified Response, the Board elected to publish a position paper reaffirming FARAs position that it neither supports nor opposes verified response, but, rather, simply recognizes it as a method utilized by some jurisdictions. The position further affirms FARA’s commitment to the involvement of all stake holders in the development of local solutions to the false alarm problem and considers an open dialogue among all parties an essential element in any false alarm reduction program. Download the full Position Paper here. 
  • Do It Yourself Systems Response Position Paper
    Do It Yourself or DIY systems are alarm systems that are installed by the alarm user or consumer. FARA believes that because Do It Yourself systems can be a significant source of false alarms localities should consider several things. Download the full Paper here. 
  • Enhanced Call Verification (ECV) Resolution
    Enhanced Call Verification (ECV) is a process by which alarm monitoring companies attempt to verify the legitimacy of a burglar alarm activation prior to requesting public safety dispatch. Download the position pape
  • Single-Action Panic Buttons Located on Key Fobs and Pendants Resolution
    Encourages alarm companies to adopt policies which eliminate the offering of Single-Action Key Fob and Pendant Panic Buttons, which trigger silent and unverified alarm signals. Download the full Resolution here
  • Duress/Hostage Codes Resolution
    Encourages alarm companies to adopt policies which eliminate the offering of Duress Codes or which severely limit Duress Code offerings to alarm users who can demonstrate an extreme need for a Duress Code. Download the full Resolution here
  • Smoke Emitting/Vision Obscuring Alarm Devices Position Paper
    When activated, a smoke emitting device rapidly produces a dense smoke, fog or vapor that reduces the visibility in a room to a minimum. Smoke Emitting Devices are intended to be integrated into the premises alarm system, but may be a self-contained stand-alone unit. The purpose of this device is to reduce property losses in unattended premises. FARA recognizes the deployment of smoke emitting devices when the devices are regulated. Our Position Paper outlines the need for regulation and some of the items that should be included in a local ordinance. Download the full Position Paper here
  • Resolution of the False Alarm Reduction Association Regarding Cancel and Abort Signals
    Many alarm system control panels will send a cancel or abort signal if an authorized user enters a correct code to disarm (turn off) the alarm system after an alarm has been activated. This resolution expresses FARA’s full support for the widespread and immediate implementation by all central monitoring stations and alarm companies of a procedure whereby no request for law enforcement dispatch is made when an abort or cancel signal is received. Download the full Resolution here
  • Resolution of the False Alarm Reduction Association Regarding ANSI-SIA CP-01 Control Panel Standard
     The CP-01 Standard was created to address the fact that most false alarms caused by user errors occur during entry to, and exit from, alarm sites. Industry committees concluded that false alarms caused by these common occurrences can be significantly reduced by changing panel features and programming to conform to the CP-01 Standard. This resolution expresses FARA’s full support for all alarm dealers to install ANSI-SIA CP-01 Control Panel Standard (CP-01 Standard) compliant panels in new installations and to urge municipalities and counties to require alarm dealers to install ANSI-SIA CP-01 Control Panel Standard (CP-01 Standard) compliant panels in new installations. Download the full Resolution here
  • FARA Letter on NFPA 731
    NFPA 731, Standard for the Installation of Electronic Premises Security Systems, 2005 Edition lays out reasonable requirements, including equipment standards, needed requirements for back up power, specification of minimum training of design and installation personnel and procedures for conducting and documenting user training, which can be adopted by individual alarm users, alarm companies, state governments and or localities to improve the overall quality of systems and help to reduce false alarms. Download the letter 

Model Ordinances

  • Model Alarm Ordinance
    The Model Alarm Ordinance was developed by public safety and the alarm industry, working together to develop an ordinance that contains strict false alarm reduction elements. The beauty of the model is that both public safety and the alarm industry already agreed to the provisions, which should make it easier for you to go to your local legislature as a united front! The model Alarm Ordinance is being distributed through FARA and is intended for use to assist municipalities to enact their own legislation. Download either a PDF or a DOC file.
  • Guide to Model Alarm Ordinances
    The FARA Guide to Alarm Ordinances is designed to assist in the reduction and management of false alarms. We hope to provide an overview of specific items to consider when addressing your false alarm problem. All of the elements provided in this document and in the Model Ordinance have stood the test of time with numerous agencies throughout North America and have been shown to be very effective in reducing false alarms.We encourage you to complete your process with the assistance of these documents and by utilizing the full resources of the False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA). Download either a PDF or a DOC file.
  • FARA Standard for Smoke Emitting Devices
     – When activated, a smoke emitting device rapidly produces a dense smoke, fog or vapor that reduces the visibility in a room to a minimum. Smoke Emitting Devices are intended to be integrated into the premises alarm system, but may be a self-contained stand-alone unit. The purpose of this device is to reduce property losses in unattended premises. Any jurisdiction considering the regulation of smoke emitting devices is encouraged to seek input from your fire marshal’s office, law enforcement authority and users, dealers and manufacturers of smoke emitting devices. If your community has any installed smoke emitting devices, adoption of an ordinance that references this standard requiring public notification, installation and equipment standards and user training is strongly recommended. The purpose of this standard is to regulate the installation, use, operation, monitoring and response to Smoke Emitting Devices. Download either a PDF or a DOC file.

Law Enforcement Officer Information

Public Safety Tips

Public Safety Tips deal with important aspects of alarm management that Certified Alarm Managers must know. All are one-page documents.

Visit the Alarm User Publications page  to see more publications.