There is a potential for consumers to be greatly affected by the recent ruling allowing cellular customers to transfer their home landline-based phone number to a cellular phone, thus disconnecting the landline.

“Alarm system owners have to be careful when making the decision to disconnect a landline phone, especially if they have a monitored life safety and/or security system that depends on the landline for communications purposes,” says National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) executive director Merlin Guilbeau. “While there are backup communications methods for system monitoring, such as wireless communications, a consumer should check with his or her alarm dealer to determine if those methods can be used as a primary means of communication.”

Guilbeau also urged consumers to look into the costs of switching their life safety/security system to an alternate communication method. “A consultation should take place between the system installer and system owner concerning the costs involved with switching the primary means of communication,” he said. “Some homeowners may not realize the expense of converting a life safety and/or security system over to wireless communications.”

Alarm dealers may also be impacted by the phone number portability ruling and should consult their customers about the new phone regulations to avoid any potential hazards. “It would be tragic if even one uninformed homeowner disconnected his or her landline, leaving the life safety or security system without monitoring,” Guilbeau says. “Our industry should take a proactive stance on this issue and alert the consumers before tragedy strikes.”