FrontPoint serves the entire US and Canada, but we get many requests from homeowners all around the world for service. In fact, even folks in Australia have read the FrontPoint rave reviews, and can’t wait for us to expand our operations to “Oz,” as the land down-under is sometimes called. And speaking of off-shore alarm services, I read a truly frightening story of a lapse in alarm response service that had serious, if not near-fatal results – from Johannesburg, South Africa.
Brigitte Stern’s party for her 68th birthday was interrupted by home invaders who pistol-whipped her husband while she frantically tried to get an armed response security company to answer the phone. “Why are they so brutal? My husband is 70 years old – why must they hit him in the face with a gun? Why don’t they leave the old people alone?” asked Stern.
Background on the Incident
The gang held up her husband Hans-Rudolf in the street outside their Kelvin, Sandton, home on Saturday evening, when he was seeing off some of the 20 women who had been celebrating Stern’s 68th birthday with them. “When he opened the side gate, there was a man with a big gun standing there. He held the gun to his head,” said Brigitte. The attackers – three or four men – wanted cash, jewelry, handbags and a car.
What Happened Next
The party handed over whatever they had without arguing. “I attempted to activate the panic alarm, but was threatened with my life. I somehow managed to sneak upstairs to my bedroom and call ADT for help,” said Brigitte. “Please, if you will, imagine my astonishment when I called the 0861 number, pressed 1 for a life-threatening emergency, and no one answered the phone.” She redialed, but again got no answer. On the third attempt, her call was answered.
The High Cost of Non-Response
“During this time, I heard one of the robbers beating my husband. Had my call been answered promptly on the first attempt to call you, perhaps my husband would not have sustained as much beating as he did.” Hans-Rudolf was beaten about the head with a gun and suffered head injuries. He was treated at hospital and discharged on the same day, but was then readmitted with bleeding on the brain and discharged again on Monday. ”He is alright now,” she said.
Help was Sent – Finally
She said that once her call was answered, the response by ADT staff and the police was good. Roy Rawlins, managing director of ADT central region, said they would meet Brigitte today to address her concerns. Captain Kym Cloete confirmed that a case had been opened with the police. She said no arrests had been made.
I know from decades of experience in the alarm industry that ADT can be notoriously slow when it comes to normal customer service issues. In fact, even getting the right person on the phone to address routine issues can seem like a labor of Hercules – especially someone who can actually resolve your problem. But in this case, we are talking about the equivalent of a panic alarm, and it took three calls just to get through to a person assigned to handle this kind of emergency response situation. Had this same lapse in service occurred in the US, I suspect there would have been much broader news coverage – and a possible law suit.
If you have an alarm system now, or are shopping for home security, make sure you are 100% comfortable with the response capability of the monitoring center. Many monitoring operations experience response delays caused by staffing issues, and there can also be technology glitches, but excuses are not what you want to hear when reliable (and fast) alarm response is a matter of life and death.
FrontPoint has chosen Rapid Response Monitoring Services for all our monitoring needs from day one, as we think they are the best response center in the US. In fact, not only does Rapid have the important UL (Underwriters Laboratories) and Factory Mutual listings: they are also approved by the New York Fire Department to monitor commercial fire systems in all five boroughs of New York City – the highest level of approval a US monitoring center can achieve. I know these facts well, since I led my former alarm company through the NYFD approval process, and it took two years. Only a select group of alarm monitoring centers earns the NYFD approval – it’s the ultimate monitoring measure of quality.
World-class monitoring is just one benefit to choosing FrontPoint as your alarm services provider. When you are shopping for peace of mind, make sure you also look for safer cellular monitoring and smarter interactive services – two more things that FrontPoint is known for. Our systems are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. And we care deeply about every family and home we protect. That’s why we’re the leader in wireless home security, and the #1 ranked alarm company in the US. And, we use Rapid Response – the best alarm monitoring you can find.