Hello there! First time poster here. I have worked in call centers off and on for about 20 years. My experience ranges from customer service, collections, pharmacy, and more. Today’s tale will be from my time spent working for ABC security (not their real name).
In training they liked to scare people by having them learn burglar alarms first. They sound the scariest, but they really were the most simple alarm with the clearest options of how to handle them. We get the notification of the alarm and have to call out on it. Customers can have 1-2 numbers as OMG, CALL ME FIRST numbers. That was usually their home line and work or cell. This was useful for people with pets in areas where police fined a lot for false alarms. We could call them and let them determine if it was safe or not and with their password we could cancel the alarm. After those first two lines, we notified the police. After the police the customer could have secondary lines, neighbors or family nearby who could check on the situation usually.
Now, having explained that… my call! It started off as a burglar alarm. No answer at the home line, which was their only pre-call line. I am noticing that this is the second alarm that has gone off, ten minutes after the first. On the first alarm there were no answers on any line and police were notified. The first alarm had been front door, and now it is a rear door. This USUALLY means the police are checking doors to make sure they are secure.
Cops answer and I notify them and am told, “Yes, officers are on scene. There is a body.” Wait, WHAT?! I had no clue how to process this. We are just security. I’ve never had a body report. How does security handle that? What can we say to the other numbers?! So I get off the line with them and call a lead and get advice. They say we can’t give details but to HEAVILY suggest to anyone we may reach that they go check on the situation.
So I continue down the line to finish the calls and pray no one answers so I can just leave messages and move on. Last line… a little old lady answers. I let her know of the alarm and she informs me she is just a church friend and that she doesn’t want to intrude. I’m thinking… ‘Lady, you may not see your church friend again if you don’t look into this.’ Obviously, I have no clue if it is the homeowner that is dead or an intruder or what, but… MAYDAY! She insists it isn’t her place and that she’ll find out from her friend on Sunday so I have to let her go.
Now, the sad fact of working in security systems is that you usually do not get a resolution. Once the calls for the alarm are over, you are done. You don’t know what happens. But I wrote that woman’s name and city and state down and for a week I googled her once a night. Finally I get an article. She had a heart attack and died. From the alarm sequences she either tried to leave and get help, or knew she had an alarm and triggered it to get help called. Either way, help was not in time. It was on of the few calls I got resolution on and it was a sad one.
I still have to wonder how that woman I called felt when she went to church and found out that the calls had been because her church companion had passed on. Poor lady.