Skip to main content

Crying Wolf

Hello faithful readers.  I know that the weekly CryWolf® hints have not been as consistent as I would like.  I beg your indulgence as my unit continues to struggle with being short staffed.  That situation should be resolved in the next month or so and things should settle back to a manageable level.
Even before the loss of one of my staff, I had made an investment in the CryWolf® web module to reduce the amount of time that staff members use each day processing registration renewals.   The module is an independent feature that can be purchased separately from the database to provide some additional functionality.  The addition of the module allows citizens to register and update their accounts online. It can also be used to allow registered alarm companies access to their customer lists. Authorized users can experiment with a range of canned reports.  And these are just a few of the many possibilities that this module offers. The module can be used "off the shelf" or it can be customized to more closely coordinate with another website.
By reducing the number of renewals that had to be processed by our hands, I hoped to allow my staff to work on projects which would reduce the number of false alarms.  Many alarm units struggle with the renewal issue and the time needed to update citizen and business records. This is probably the biggest suck of resources in alarm units. One agency in our area has actually eliminated renewals and it will be interesting to see how this affects their unit and their record keeping.
After my staffer resigned in July, I thought that the module would be our salvation. My unit purchased the web module in June so it seemed to be perfectly timed.  I wish that I could tell you how wonderfully it is working for us, but it has still not gone "live" to the public.  This is no fault of Public Safety Corp (the makers of CryWolf®), but is due to the everlastingly slow pace of bureaucracy.  I was told back in August that we were a week away from going live.  It is now December.  If you have called my office anytime in this period, chances are I have extolled the virtues of this new technology and given you a timeframe that I thought was reasonable for it to be up and running.  But all these months, I have been "crying wolf".  This week there are some signs that progress is finally being made. Only time will tell if this is the real deal.
If your unit struggles with the paper chase, this may be a solution that could be beneficial.


Popular posts from this blog

Lexington KY False Alarms

Our travels last week took us through Kentucky.  Of course I had to peruse the web to see what is going on in the world of false alarm reduction in the bluegrass state.  Of the cities that we would be visiting, Lexington was the first that I found with a false alarm reduction unit.

Alarm systems in Lexington must be registered and there is an application fee of $15, which seems to be a one time fee. (Update: the $15 fee is an annual fee). Lexington's ordinance is similar to most other ordinances, but it has a feature that I have not seen before.  The fine schedule lists minimum and maximum fines.  If an alarm user doesn't contest the alarm, they pay the minimum fine.  If they contest the fine and lose, they could end up paying the maximum fine. Fines begin at the fourth alarm with a $25 minimum fine and go up to a $300 minimum fine for the 9th alarm (maximum fine is $500).  These fines are relatively low compared to fines in the area where I live;  however, the 10th alarm in L…

Coal mine

I have always been drawn to the strange and unusual, especially when it involves venturing off the highway onto back roads with the promise of an adventure.  On the way back from Youngest's college orientation, we found ourselves in Beckley, West Virginia at a McDonald's.  This was not our first choice, but sometimes you have to take what you can get.  While we were enjoying our fine dining experience, my eyes were drawn to this sign that was just visible from where we were sitting.  When we finished eating, I couldn't leave without a photo.  To my astonishment, Hubster asked if I wanted to visit the exhibit.  After I picked my jaw off the floor of the car, I responded "sure".
With no more than that arrow pointing the way, we set off into the wilds of West Virginia.  Youngest swore he heard the sound of banjos.  After several miles of twists and turns,  I was beginning to think that we had missed a sign.To my relief, a sign appeared letting us know that we had ar…

New Technology-QR Code

We are going to venture away from CryWolf® today to discuss other technology that can assist in the mission of reducing false alarms.  One emerging technology that can be harnessed by alarm units is the QR code. As an example, the QR code below includes the web address for this blog.
A QR code is a form of bar code similar to a UPC code but with the ability to hold greater amounts of data. These codes were developed by an auto manufacturer in Japan to help them track parts.  Although the company holds the patent rights, they have chosen to not exercise those rights. This allows free use of the technology.
QR codes may be formatted to hold all manner of information such as phone numbers, e-mail addresses, gps data, or a web address. QR codes can easily be added to business cards, brochures, and other printed materials.  Many Home Owner Associations in our area allow us a small space in their publications and QR codes are perfect for this space.  The codes can even be included on facebo…