Dallas >Firstwatch Security Inc
This MUST be someone with an ax to grind like a competitor or former employee. I AM a Firstwatch customer and have been for years. They have provided me with EXCELLENT SERVICE! They are in fact listed as having a UL rated central station. Even if they weren't, they take great care of us. There is a reason I trust them with my home AND my business. You shouldn't believe that lame article below. Don't just take my word for it. Check their rating with the Better Business Bureau....A+! That should be enough.
HORRIBLE SECURITY COMPANY NOT UL CERTIFIED.
There is an article published on this company from the People News. It is as Follows:
Issue Date: September 11, 2009, Posted On: 9/10/2009
Home Alarm Firm’s
Firstwatch says alarms still monitored, but employees allege negligence
By Eric Nicholson
It’s a fine sales pitch for an alarm company: Switch to Firstwatch to have your property monitored by an “in-house, UL-certified central station, right here in Dallas,” as the company’s phone message claims.
The problem is, it’s not true.
Firstwatch Security, a 38-year-old, Dallas-based firm that also provides neighborhood patrols and security guards, had its alarm monitoring certification revoked by Underwriters Laboratories in June, said UL spokesman Joe Hirschmugl.
UL is a nonprofit company approved by the government to test the safety of consumer products and services. State law requires UL certification for firms to monitor fire alarms. No such law exists for burglar alarms, but it is generally regarded in the industry as assurance of a company’s reliability.
Firstwatch monitors hundreds of alarms in the area bounded by LBJ Freeway, Midway Road, Northwest Highway, and Central Expressway. Company officials said the number is proprietary, but James Galbraith, a dispatcher who quit the company on Aug. 23, said it exceeds 1,000.
Steven Colbert, Firstwatch’s regional manager, refused to address the company’s standing with UL but said alarms are now being monitored by another company, which he refused to name.
“At this time, while we are in the process of doing some upgrading and some renovations, we felt it was best to just take our station offline. … So our sister station is monitoring all of our [alarms],” Colbert said.
Citing confidentiality agreements with its clients, UL consumer safety director John Drengenberg declined to give reasons for pulling Firstwatch’s certification, saying only that UL “looks at all things that pertain to reliability” in audits of alarm monitoring stations. Criteria include number and training of staff, alarm response times, and the security of monitoring facilities.
Employees of Firstwatch were more open about the company’s problems.
In a letter delivered to Firstwatch president Tim Yarbro on July 3, seven current and former employees allege insufficient staffing, poor or nonexistent training, and an unwillingness to make procedural changes recommended by UL on a previous failed inspection.
They also claim they were told to lie, falsify documents, and use fake log-in information to deceive auditors and appear to comply with UL rules.
Colbert said the company has always and continues to provide quality security services regardless of where alarms are being monitored.
“Our customers are aware of the situation,” Colbert said. “They’re aware that, like I said, we’re in the process of upgrading.”
This was news to Firstwatch alarm customer Sam Schultz, head of crime watch for Russwood Acres. Though she said she communicates frequently with Yarbro, she had heard nothing about changes to her alarm service.
Kari Russell, a longtime alarm customer, wasn’t informed either.
“It’s an interesting thing to find out,” she said. “What I’m wondering now is why they lost their certification.”
UL officials would not reveal how or when Firstwatch might regain certification, but Galbraith said another audit is scheduled for this month.
Galbraith said the company has not made changes recommended by UL and will likely fail its third straight inspection. He plans to share his complaints with UL, state regulators. But regardless of what happens, the company should at least keep its customers informed, he said.
“Firstwatch is taking their clients’ money under the pretense that they are being monitored locally by a UL-certified monitoring station,” Galbraith said. “That is a bald-faced lie.”
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