Criticom Monitoring Services (CMS) has been in the alarm monitoring business for over 35 years. Protect America, for example, is only one of the 4000 home security and fire alarm companies nationwide that use CMS. CMS services almost 1 million households and enterprises. In the home security and alarm industries, Criticom has an excellent reputation.
Criticom has three command centers in the U.S.: New Jersey, Florida, and California. Each center can monitor a variety of different sensors, cameras, and fire safety systems.
The company offers fire, home security, medical and panic or PERS (Personal Emergency Response Systems) to their clients. Each of their three command centers has plenty of redundancy including two backup generators and more than one UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) that will power all equipment. They also boast on call staff that can be used to react to any spike problems or regional issues that may require emergency response service to several clients at once. The centers are also UL (Underwriters Laboratory) rated.
The company can monitor all name brand and compatible systems used by Protect America and others. These include Honeywell, GE, DSC, and several other proprietary brands using different transmission frequencies.
Their fire monitoring service is compatible with all major brands also:
- AES IntelliNet
- Silent Knight
The selection process for all monitoring personnel includes a criminal background check drug screening and a personal interview process.
The monitoring center personnel all receive specialized training that is similar to 911 operators. They train using specific protocols that can, if necessary, can adapt the protocols to any client company’s unique requirements.
Personnel that handle the PERS and medical management notification systems receive specialized training for dealing with these types of emergencies.
The PERS monitoring employees have training in several areas including conversation-starting techniques, interpersonal communications, sensitivity training, first aid, and more. Each must pass a certification exam before being allowed to answer and respond to emergencies. Part of the process includes hands-on training that is scenario-driven, taken from real life situations.
The operator has access to the any germane medical records supplied by the client to guide and direct response personnel or help on-site bystanders stabilize the person.
PERS monitors will also perform wellness checks and equipment tests as directed.
PERS calls are considered the highest priority of all the calls received at the centers, and consequently the training and selection process is the most rigorous.
Camera and Video Monitoring
The monitoring centers will perform required monitoring and visual checks for clients with camera systems. Business clients may require constant monitoring of certain locations such as parking lots, entrances or warehouses. Command center personnel normally monitor home security cameras in conjunction with any alarm that triggers them.
All CMS personnel can access archived video if required to review the cause of something that tripped the still or video camera. The personnel are also responsible for proper functioning and testing of the cloud or DVD storage, depending upon what the client company offers their customers.
Verification Video Coverage
Many law enforcement locations now require video verification of any alarms triggered before they will respond. The monitoring center personnel will provide these images directly to the police departments and 911 centers on behalf of the clients.
Home Security Monitoring
All the features advertised for residences, such as burglary, fire, panic, fire, carbon monoxide, and flood route through the Criticom centers. The operators trigger appropriate response according to industry-standard protocols or specialized needs.
Operators are trained to use the two-way voice console systems provided by some alarm packages. This allows better and easier verification of any alarms received and minimizes sending fire, police or medical personnel to false alarms. Homeowners can test and provide vital emergency information directly to the trained operators using this feature.
Commercial Security and Sensor Services
The Criticom personnel provide vital test and general monitoring functions for businesses. This may include constant temperature, air quality or water and gas level monitoring for certain types of companies.
Other services include continuous camera monitoring services for companies that require this type of service.
Commercial and Residential Fire Safety Monitoring
CMS has dedicated Underwriters Laboratory (UL)-certified receivers for all fire alarm signal traffic. All monitoring personnel receive UL training and must pass UL certification tests.
Some home security and fire alarm companies can also provide representatives to assist with this function.
CMS has been in business a long time. Their centers have all the proper certifications, backup equipment and technology to allow fail-safe outsourcing by any home security or commercial alarm company. Their screening and training standards provide a superior quality monitor that can handle the various types and nuances of electronic security systems.
The only downside for a home security company is the lack of connectivity or brand loyalty. Home security companies with proprietary monitoring centers can focus directly on the type of equipment and services they offer, and modify the service immediately as their products and services change.
Overall, however, Criticom provides solid and dependable service as well as any home security monitoring center does. Learn more about Protect America in our full Protect America review.
Related: The Best Security Systems of 2019