ESA takes to the Hill

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04/30/2014

ESA just wrapped up its annual Day on Capitol Hill, bringing to the attention of lawmakers several topics of consequence for the security industry, including school security.

The ESA has positioned itself as a partner with Security Industry Association in developing a comprehensive guide to help end users and legislators better understand what electronic security technologies they have at their disposal to bolster school security.

“Most school districts don’t know what type of security to install, and many legislators don’t understand all the technology that’s out there and what exists,” said Daniel Gelinas, who attended the event in his capacity as government liaison for Rapid Response Monitoring. ESA’s Electronic Security Guidelines for Schools, he said, were designed as an authoritative resource to address that knowledge gap.  

The timing of the school security guide is especially good, in light of the latest appropriations act cleared by Congress in January, which contains $75 million in funding for assessing methods to improve school security.

But ESA’s activities on the Hill weren’t limited just to school security matters. The association and industry members are also pushing for expanding the industry’s access to the FBI’s background check database, allowing security companies to better vet their employees for prior criminal activity.

Gelinas said the pair of bills addressing this (one in the House, another in the Senate) would not be a mandate. Rather, if enacted, they would allow security companies in the 26 states without the licensing requirement for the database to access it.

The organization was also in the Capitol promoting funding measures that would protect against elderly abuse through expanded use of video surveillance in nursing homes. Gelinas noted that this would not be a mandate for health care facilities, but would instead give concerned families the option to use electronic security systems to ensure that elderly relatives are getting proper medication and care.

The final area of focus for ESA was getting Congress to back a balanced approach for smoke alarms and other early fire detection systems, putting them on “the same footing as sprinklers” when it comes to receiving tax incentives and government grants, Gelinas said. That would involve amending the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act to include life safety, fire and smoke alarms.

I plan to give more space to this final issue, and some of the aforementioned ones, in an upcoming legislative roundup.