SIS Blog

How Efficient Are Your Alarm Monitoring Operators?

by | Sep 18, 2020

alarm monitoring operators

Having an automated alarm solution is an integral part of your operations. However, without alarm monitoring best practices, warning notifications can cause confusion and disruption. Arming the operators at your alarm monitoring center with the knowledge to respond quickly and efficiently to alerts can minimize distractions and reduce stress. Unfortunately, operator efficiency can be difficult to achieve long term with an aging workforce and staff turnover.

Inefficient or inadequate operator performance can cost companies in both financial and productivity losses. So, what are some of the obstacles that prevent them from responding quickly and with a reasonable level of expertise? Additionally, what are the costs of not providing your alarm monitoring center with the tools they need to do their jobs well?

Obstacles to Alarm Monitoring Operator Efficiency

Many factors contribute to the stress and confusion that can happen in a monitoring environment:

· Nuisance alarms that don’t require a response

· Lack of training/situational awareness

· Disparate systems

· Searching for information

Nuisance alarms, representing approximately 75% of alerts, are frequently called noise because they can distract operators if they don’t have the tools or experience to react appropriately. False alarms happen when monitoring equipment picks up movement from animals, insects, birds, trees, or even shadows. False positives occur when authorized access is registered as an intrusion. Implementing the appropriate onboarding processes, security protocols, and alarm monitoring best practices can help prevent distraction from false positives, while false alarms can be minimized by implementing the right technology.

Training and situational awareness not only can reduce stress and alarm fatigue but can empower your operators, allowing them to respond confidently to alarms without unnecessary intervention. Onboarding should cover the type of equipment used for monitoring, what the different signals and alerts mean, the type of business and how it operates, how to verify the situation before dispatching emergency personnel, and where to find the documentation they need when responding. A study from the Center for Operator Performance showed that training should be ongoing and that occasional one-hour pre-shift training can improve operator efficiency.

Even if your monitoring personnel are well-versed and experienced in a steady-state monitoring response, what happens when unplanned outages occur? Do they have to operate multiple interfaces on separate systems for response procedures? Are the procedures well documented and easy to reference quickly? Alarm monitoring can be optimized by designing it with users in mind, meaning that the process of accessing protocols and procedures should be intuitive for even new operators.

The Impacts of Inefficient Operator Practices

Lost Productivity



Injury or Death

Alarm Fatigue

The Keys to Robust Response and Effective Operator Performance

Once the appropriate automated alarm solution is in place, implementing robust response protocols is what minimizes the impacts of human fallibility. As alarm frequency increases, so does the possibility of errors caused by stress or inexperience. When the operators are trained on alarm monitoring best practices often, operator efficiency increases.

The Solutions You Need for Effective Alarm Monitoring

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