Monitoring Invalid Alarms

This post is brought to you from one of our 2021 Sponsors. All American Monitoring has been family owned since 1973. They know the alarm business well, and the work it takes to build a business. Collaboration is the cornerstone of the company philosophy, because when your business grows, so does All American Monitoring. Let All American Monitoring help you grow and scale your businesses to the next level of success!


One of the changes when we migrated our software to Stages is what we use to call Invalid Alarms. Now using Stages, they’re called ‘Undefined’ and they happen much less frequently thanks to some of the neat capabilities Stages comes equipped with.

It’s important to know that Undefined Alarms are taken very seriously by our Central Station operators. They are trained from the beginning to realize that an Undefined Alarm, though it comes in as a trouble to the alarm stacks, has the possibility to be an actual alarm, and not just a coding, processing glitch or error. It’s also key to note that Undefined/Invalid Alarms are only dispatched on if the signal is, in fact, an obvious coding error. For example–if an ‘E110’ came in as an undefined signal, our operators are educated to recognize that this is a fire code coming in via Contact ID, and needs to be treated as a fire.

What steps do we take to decipher the actions the Operators need to take?

We’re so glad you asked…

  1. Check to see if there is a caller ID coming in with the signal and do a Caller ID search to determine if the signal belongs to the current account or if it’s coming from another one.
  2. Check zones and match to posted zone list (if there is one) for an understanding about the type of signal they may be handling.
  3. Check dealer notepad for special instructions regarding Undefined Alarms.
  4. Call premise and/or Dealer to notify of signal.
  5. Note the associated accounts (aka the account it came in on AND the account it actually belongs to) with any findings should the signal not belong to the account it came in on.

If we are not sure what the signal might be, we start by calling the premise and advising them that we are receiving an “undefined trouble signal” and confirming whether or not they’re ok. If the customer responds by advising of things like they opened their front door, but forgot to shut off their alarm, we know that it should’ve come through as a burglary. At that point we’d ask for the passcode, then call you, the Dealer, to advise that actual burglary signals are coming in on one of your customer’s accounts, but aren’t reporting properly. Sometimes it’s something as simple as the alarm reads in 4 by 2 format and there’s no zone list on file. Other times it may require some extra work on your end to get to the bottom of this mystery.

While the fixes can sometimes be as simple as submitting an updated zone list, other times it can be a programming issue from the panel or the way something was inputted via the data entry screen. Either way, these calls and emails are designed to help you be more efficient to protect your business and customers. The quicker we work together to resolve issues, the better for everyone.

On a side note…commercial fire accounts with invalid signals will always receive a call, as well as, the Dealer. Unless you have special notes on your notepad advising our Central Station to completely disregard Undefined Signals (if you opt to do that, it would be wise of you to constantly be researching any undefined alarms that may occur to ensure the issues are being corrected and not ignored).

As always, our goal is to help you grow and protect your business, so anything we can do to help is exactly how we work to support you!

For questions, visit the All American Monitoring website here. 

Check out their other news and posts here.


Upcoming Training Opportunities