Every now and then, a new service comes along and greatly increases the overall security offered by our products. Sometimes, these offerings come from the manufacturers of our security equipment. This includes new alarm panels, such as the QOLSYS series of alarms that we now prefer for new security system installations. In other instances, a creator of universal auxiliary alarm products comes along with an innovative product. This fits the description for the Alarm.com cellular dialer that you've likely seen promoted in articles. However, once in awhile, our central station comes out with an extremely important service that immediately helps all of our customers. Furthermore, in most cases, these upgrades add security at no cost and with no action required to take advantage of the new technology. In this post, we introduce just this type of service. Today, we will help you with understanding the AVS-01 Monitoring service.
First, we'll explain what it means to receive a security upgrade from our central station. Receiving a background on our central station will greatly help you understand the nature of their new offering. From there, we'll review the terminology used in the materials surrounding the release of the AVS-01 resource. We'll cover the meaning of "AVS-01," as well as some other standard alarm industry terms. Finally, we'll shift our focus to the importance of this new offering. We'll detail exactly what AVS-01 accomplishes, the specifics behind the different reporting categories included in its priority levels, and how central station operators determine which of these categories to choose. Now, let's get started with an important overview of our preferred central station!
Your Central Station Primer
At this point, you may find yourself wondering, “What do you mean by our ‘central station?’ Who actually monitors our alarm?” Good questions! Most alarm companies partner with a large call center dedicated to monitoring alarms. While, some companies attempt to fulfill this service on their own most security companies simply do not have the capacity to call more than a few customers at once. This can lead to long wait times before an alarm event gets properly handled.
For this reason, many companies, including ourselves, turn to outside call centers to provide this service. Our chosen monitoring partner, Rapid Response Monitoring, represents the best of the best in alarm monitoring. For starters, Rapid Response has the backup power and phone capacity to withstand most disasters. They also have 3 fully redundant facilities located throughout the United States. They also have the physical personnel to quickly reach out to all of our customers whenever help is needed.
Furthermore, Rapid Response has an Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) listing for security monitoring. A UL listing for security monitoring means that the central station must meet several security-related guidelines, and pass an independent inspection. It also means that workers must go through specific, rigorous training before interacting with customers. At this point, we’ve introduced you to the company behind the service we’re discussing today. Next up, we'll look at some of the key terms you'll need to understand to fully grasp this service.
Getting the Key Terminology Down
Before reading this section, I encourage you to take a deep breath. At the very least, you may need a pen and paper to track all of the acronyms flying around! However, getting the information from this section down will greatly help with understanding the AVS-01 monitoring service. First and foremost, let's tackle the name of this new service itself. The letters "AVS" in "AVS-01" stand for "Alarm Validation Scoring." In short, this scoring system aims to help validate and prioritize emergency signals coming in to call centers.
If you glance at Rapid Response's announcement regarding their integration of this service, you'll notice the frequent use of a couple other acronyms. Most frequently, you'll notice "ECC/PSAPs" named as those receiving calls from monitoring stations. In this case, the term "ECC" stands for "Emergency Communication Centers," while "PSAP" means "Public Safety Answering Point." Both of these terms actually mean the same thing. They simply represent two different ways of indicating an emergency call service, such as a 9-1-1 dispatch center. Thus, the constant inclusion of both acronyms separated by a slash. When our central station calls for an emergency dispatch, they call out to an ECC/PSAP.
So, who came up with this idea in the first place? Great question! A trade association called "The Monitoring Association" (or "TMA") represents companies who provide security monitoring services. In collaboration with the American National Standards Institute (or "ANSI"), they created the "Alarm Validation Scoring Standard" from which AVS-01 gets its name. Always on the cutting edge of security innovations, Rapid Response is now adopting the service. So in review, TMA and ANSI created the AVS-01 as a means of standardizing communication from monitoring centers to ECC's and PSAP's. Got it? Good! With the tricky terminology in place, let's move on to the details behind this great monitoring service.
What Does the AVS-01 Service Accomplish?
Now that we know about the advent of the AVS-01 service, we should also review the purposes behind it. As we'll review in detail soon, AVS-01 creates 5 reporting categories, based on the priority of the necessary emergency response. As you can imagine, this can help get the most important alarm events attended to first, leading to increased customer safety. In turn, this system increases emergency responder safety as well. After all, now responders will have an idea of what to expect upon arrival. Finally, the availability of this information up front could also lead to more effective responses and even arrests, as officers will arrive more quickly and likely with more personnel upon receiving a high-priority dispatch command. Now, let's review the actual reporting categories provided by AVS-01.
The Five Reporting Categories of AVS-01
Now the rubber meets the road. Upon an alarm activation, central station dispatchers can use a variety of types of evidence to determine how to report the information given to them. First, a central station dispatcher calls the premises upon receiving an alarm. In the case of a false alarm, you would receive this call and ask to cancel any dispatch. Upon providing your chosen verbal passcode, the information from the call gets logged with no other action necessary. This event gets logged as a "Level 0" AVS-01 event, with no follow-up call to an ECC/PSAP. However, if the central station cannot reach you and has no other information than an alarm signal, they will then request a "Level 1" dispatch. This is considered the "default" level, and may or may not represent a true emergency.
Levels 2-4 of the AVS-01 sequence all indicate some sort of likely danger. Central station dispatchers may receive verbal confirmation of a present threat upon calling the premises. Additionally, security devices such as cameras and image-capturing motion detectors can also be pulled up at the central station for additional evidence of a crime. A Level 2 event indicates a high threat probability. Stepping it up a notch, a Level 3 event includes confirmation of a threat to your property. This represents a confirmed unwanted presence, without confirmation of a potential altercation. Finally, Level 4 events represent a confirmed threat to human well-being at the site. Of course, putting all of this knowledge in officers' hands before they arrive adds quite a bit of value and security to your burglar alarm!
Putting it All Together and Understanding the AVS-01 Monitoring Service
We hope that this post helps you with understanding the AVS-01 monitoring service. As you can see, we've chosen a central station that incorporates new security standards and procedures quickly and efficiently. As always, we encourage you to contact us with any questions this post may raise for you. We will happily answer any and all of your security-related inquiries. If you don't have much in the way of security now, consider taking advantage of our free site survey program. We provide free security audits and equipment quotes to both new and existing customers alike. No matter what stage of security preparation you're at now, we can always help you become even more secure. In turn, this adds to greater peace of mind as well! Together, we can create a complete plan to keep your property, and everyone on it, as safe and secure as possible.
Works Cited: Hertel, Morgan. "AVS-01: The New Monitoring Standard That Will Enhance Credibility of Burglary Alarms," 20 Jan 2023, https://www.rrms.com/blog/avs-01-affects-security-industry/