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Silent Running

, , , , | Working | February 10, 2018

(I am a keyholder for the store where I work. I am also on the list of people that the monitoring company calls if the alarm system activates, but I am a few people down on the list. I’ve already gone to sleep, and at about 4:00 am, my mobile phone starts ringing. It’s the monitoring company calling. I give them my name and voice code.)

Caller: “Hello, my name is [Caller], and I’m calling from [Security Company] monitoring centre.”

Me: “How can I help?”

Caller: “Just calling about an activated duress alarm on your premises, and wondering whether you would like us to send the police and patrol out, as we have not been able to reach the store, or the store mobile.”

Me: “Oh, s***! What keypad was the duress entered into, and who set it off?”

Caller: “It appears to be keypad two. We can’t see who entered it, just where it was entered into. There has also been no door activity there, either.”

(This begins to sound like a false alarm to me. I ask about the arming status of a couple other areas to try and paint a picture of what is happening. I decide to call the store.)

Me: “Hold on. I’ll try to call the store and see if I can find out what is happening.”

(Using another phone, I call the store twice. No answer. I try the third time, and get through.)

Coworker: “[Supermarket], [Town]. [Coworker] speaking.”

Me: “[Coworker]! It’s [My Name]! Is everything all right there? Someone’s activated the silent alarm.”

Coworker: “Really? I can’t hear it going off… but nothing’s wrong here.”

Me: *internally face-palming* “Is there a manager there?”

Coworker: “Umm… Yeah. Hold on.”

(I get placed on hold for a minute and a manager comes on.)

Manager: “Hey, what’s going on?”

Me: “Silent alarm is going off. Everything okay there?”

Manager: “Yeah. What alarm are you talking about? There’s no alarms going off on the keypad.”

Me: *groan* “Go to the loading dock and do what I tell you. It’ll reset the alarm and then I can go back to sleep.”

(I give the manager instructions, and then verify with the security company that the duress has been reset.)

Caller: “A closing signal was just received on our end. Thanks for your cooperation!”

Me: *to employee* “Good night.” *to manager* “I’ll deal with the report for the duress and talk to [Store Manager] about the alarm later. Good night.”

(Eight hours later, I received a call from the store manager and explained everything that happened that night. Reviewing the alarm printouts, it turns out that the manager that I spoke to that night was the one who tripped off the silent alarm, by keying in the code for the door wrong and activating the duress instead of just disarming the area needed. I’m still baffled that someone actually said to me, “I can’t hear the silent alarm going off.”)

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