One of the hardest things to manage in security is making sure your system is armed when it needs to be. In this post we take a look at ‘late to close’, or ‘late to arm’ issues and some helpful hints to reduce your risk and after hours management contact.
In any given security control room anywhere in the world, more time and resource is spent dealing with late to arm sites than with all other services including intruder monitoring.
This creates an unhealthy distraction for control rooms, and puts everyone at risk. Whilst control rooms can ease operator load with new types of notification systems the only real fix is more reliable information from staff and contractors working back late. (VideoControlRoom provides an SMS notification service explained in more detail later on in this post)
Someone working back past a sites normal closing times who hasn’t notified the control room and late to close contacts (i.e. those managers the control room notifies when the site isn’t armed past a certain time) puts the site at risk in the following ways:
A) They tie up control room and management time chasing around trying to figure out they are still there (it is 20 times easier for that person to contact the control room, than it is for the control room to find them) taking control room resources away from the primary job of intrusion detection.
B) They turn late to close alerts into the boy that cried wolf for that site, so when the site is actually vacant and disarmed there is a delay in dealing with it.
There are other factors that impact reliable site arming:
C) Staff member leaves the site, and assumes other people are working back when in fact they are the last.
D) A contractor or cleaner is left on site by themselves who has insufficient arming training or instructions.
E) Someone enters the site on a weekend (outside of the normal open and closing times), and they leave the site disarmed. In this case no late to close alert is generated.
To improve the arming process VideoControlRoom has the following helpful hints:
Hint 1) Make everyone accountable for arming. When you hand over alarm system control, be it a PIN, remote or card, get the recipient to sign for it and have a clause that by accepting the credential, they are accepting responsibility to ensure the site is armed when they leave.
Hint 2) Put up a sign at the exit/s, “Is it possible you are you the last to leave? Please check and ensure the site gets armed”
Hint 3) Publish the close times to staff, and request that anyone working back past these times calls in to advise. If someone has worked back late and failed to call in (resulting in an after hours SMS or call to you) then chase them up with a reminder.
Hint 4) To protect the weekend access issue, request additional late to close alert times (up to 2 per day for VideoControlRoom clients on our SMS late to close system) at a time where you know the site should definately be armed. For example 11pm on a Sat and Sun night.
How VideoControlRoom’s SMS late to close works:
At alert time #1, everyone on the late to close (i.e. not yet armed) list gets a SMS if the area in question is still disarmed. This advises the site name | Area, time of the alert and VideoControlRoom call back number.
At alert time #2, the same person/s gets another message if the site is still disarmed at this point in time.
An hour later if the site is not armed up, the control room operators get an alert with your action plan. This is typically, “if no response from after hours contacts, check cameras (where fitted) and if site appears empty remote arm” (note: charges may apply – fully supported on IP alarm panels only)
If you would further clarification on our SMS late to close system, would like to set additional weekend alerts (SMS Late to close customers only), request ‘late to close’ time changes, or have any other queries or requests regarding arming, please don’t hesitate to contact VideoControlRoom.