The Risks of Shunting

For the past several years, due to the advancement of control panel technology, keypad “Stay” shunting has become a modern-day option for alarm system programmers. Although it enables installers to completely eliminate individual mechanized shunts, which clearly had their own limitations and vulnerabilities, many serious concerns still exist when “Stay” shunting is utilized. Personally, I believe it can create a danger to the customer and a liability for the alarm company in certain circumstances. To minimize the potential liability that keypad “Stay” shunting brings to alarm companies, customers should be informed of the associated dangers of such programming before their alarm system is installed.

An advisory to your customers could read as follows:

“If ‘Stay’ shunting is selected from the system keypad, all interior motion detectors will be bypassed even though the system is armed. In this state, a burglary that would otherwise be detected by the system if the motion detectors were not shunted, will not be able to detect an intruder.  The customer confirms and acknowledges that ABC Alarms strongly recommends against this feature being employed. Therefore, since ‘Stay’ shunting bypasses all of these sensors, the customer signing below indicates that he/she has chosen and selected this programming configuration at their own ‘risk and peril.’”

Moreover, in certain environments, there may be a high propensity for the end user not to know, or care to know, about the differences between “Stay” and “Away” arming, specifically when many different employees are required to have a system code to arm the subject system. Therefore, instead of waiting for something to happen, help minimize your company’s loss potential now, and proactively have the subscriber sign off on what has been programmed into their system; or warn them, in writing, that you do not recommend “Stay” shunting, when the conditions warrant it.

Undeniably, the alarm industry seriously needs to help make sure that this never happens, by advising and training its technicians to properly configure their systems, and address these risks and vulnerabilities up front with each and every one of their customers during the system’s design stage.