Georgia recently joined the growing ranks of states and municipalities that require enhanced call verification (ECV) for burglar alarm response. (Read Georgia’s new law here: Georgia ECV law).
If your jurisdiction requires ECV, or you are voluntarily adopting it, do you need to revise your contract? First, a little more about ECV: ECV is the practice of having the alarm monitoring company attempt to verify a burglar alarm by calling the site or alarm user, and if that is unsuccessful calling a second person to attempt to verify the alarm, before dispatching the police. Note that ECV is not used for fire, hold-up or panic alarms.
According to the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), “enhanced call verification is proven to have a dramatic and significant impact on reducing dispatches to invalid alarms.” To put it simply, dispatching the police for false alarms wastes time and money, and makes the authorities very unhappy with the alarm industry. For those reasons, SIAC is encouraging an industry-wide move to ECV.
In addition to Georgia, Florida and Tennessee also have state-wide requirements for ECV. Check out this document prepared by ADT, which is on the SIAC website, for information on other city and municipality requirements (although note it is from November 23, 2011, so isn’t updated with any laws since that date): List AHJ Req.
Now, onto the question I posed above. If you implement ECV do you need to change your monitoring contract? Maybe. As usual, that depends on what your contract says.
For example, does your contract explicitly state that in the event of an alarm you will call emergency services, or that you will first call one person on your customer’s contact list? If so, then, yes, you do need to revise your contract. But, if your contract generally states that you will first attempt to verify the alarm, then maybe not.
The point is, does your contract say you are going to do something that with ECV you aren’t going to do? If so, then you need to revise your contract.
If you revise your contract, make sure it is clear that you may call the premises and one or more people on the customer’s call list to verify an alarm before notifying emergency services.
It is also a good idea to notify your customers if you are going to perform enhanced call verification before responding to an alarm. The SIAC has helpfully produced a form letter for you to use as a template to do so: Ltr to Customer on Mult Call Verif.
Note, however, that if you must revise your contract, I would not do so by simply sending your customer an amendment, as the SIAC’s form letter suggests–I would revise the entire contract and get the customer to sign it, or at least have the customer sign the amendment.