Suppose your central station receives a panic alarm from one of its customers in an American city and contacts the police department to respond, but the department has no response procedure for panic alarms – only fire or burglary alarms.

That situation could occur if the term for panic alarm is not defined so police departments understand it. That is the job of the standards committee of the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) that is reviewing the CSAA’s GOT 1 (glossary of terms).

“The germination of it started in the 1980s when there was confusion as far as simple terms, such as verification or pre-verification,” recalled Ralph Sevinor, president of Wayne Alarm Systems Inc., Lynn, Mass., who is handling the GOT 1 update with Lou Fiore, chairman of the standards committee. “So CSAA established a de facto standard.”

He estimated that GOT 1 was established in the mid-1980s, reviewed in 1998 and updated in 2001. “There’s certainly no disagreement that the terms now coming into electronic security have changed dramatically,” Sevinor commented.

He also pointed out that police departments and other authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) use different terms than those in the security industry. “We do dispatching and want to make sure we speak the same lingo,” he stressed.

The subcommittee has taken a different approach by looking at other definitions of terms, such as those of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the control panel standard and the two-call or enhanced call verification (ECV) standards, Sevinor noted.

“We tried to analyze it and see which was the best terms for the particular standards,” he explained. “We have taken a fresh approach. We don’t have to invent it. We want to point to something that makes the most sense.”

Sevinor forecast that the revisions to the glossary would be finished as GOT 2 by the end of November. Then GOT 2 would be presented by Fiore to the Security Industry Standards Council (SISC), an industry-wide standards body-clearing house, for committee action and implementation. He estimates the whole process could be completed by spring 2006.

Those interested in participating in the process should contact Claudia Harper at or Celia Besore at 703/242-4370 ext. 16 or e-mail