I was going through my email this morning upon return from my vacation last week when I came across this small news item from the Bay Area News Group's timesheraldonline.com. The news is from Vallejo, Calif. False alarms are obviously a huge problem, and it's great to see municipalities stepping in and helping out by providing end users a way to not only learn how to use their alarms, but also to learn why false alarms are such a big deal. The industry's various associations also have online training in false alarm awareness. CSAA has a course found here, while FARA has options here. SIA points out many municipalities are beginning to offer false alarm training/awareness schools and programs to help fight the problem. Especially in today's economy, let's all do our part to help solve the problem.
I was doing some email interviewing lately on a story I wrote on DIY surveillance systems when Keith Jentoft over at RSI--in a sort of impromptu Videofied pitch--pointed me in the direction of this little nugget from the Odessa American, out of Odessa, Texas. Can you say irony? My favorite part is this sardonic little gem:
The equipment, obviously, was not in use at the time of the theft.Really? I don't like to make fun of anyone's misfortune, but doesn't this almost seem like something you'd see in The Onion? Good luck to the Odessa PD in tracking down the stolen goods, and good luck to Utah-based Apex Alarm in recouping the loss.
I just got off the phone with SIAC director Ron Walters who, despite extenuating circumstances, called me back by deadline for commentary on a follow up story to a piece I wrote in February on an alarm ordinance task force in Santa Fe. Ron and his family could really use some positive energy and support from the industry right now. Please keep Ron, his daughter Elena, and the whole Walters family in your thoughts and prayers. Drop by the blog Ron's maintaining and show your support.
The CSAA announced the winners of its annual excellence awards at this year's ESX show in Baltimore on June 24. There were nine awards given, and, for the first time since the the awards' inception four years ago, honorable mentions in each of the three categories. The award categories are Central Station of the Year, Central Station Manager of the Year, and Central Station Operator of the Year. Here's an excerpt from CSAA's Signals:
2009 Central Station of the Year: DGA Security Systems, Inc., New York, N.Y. Honorable Mentions: ADS Security, L.P., Nashville, Tenn.; Doyle Security Systems, Inc., Rochester, N.Y. 2009 Central Station Manager of the Year: James Riti, DGA Security Systems, Inc., New York, N.Y. Honorable Mentions: Greg Hurst, Monitronics International, Dallas.; Suzie Nye, AvantGuard Monitoring Centers, Ogden, Utah. 2009 Central Station Operator of the Year: Jeffrey A. Karabinos, Vector Security, Inc., West-Central Monitoring Center, Pittsburgh. Honorable Mentions: Charles Balletto, DGA Security Systems, Inc., New York, N.Y. Stewart Pittenger, Vector Security, Inc., Eastern Monitoring Center, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.The purpose of the awards, according to the CSAA, is to "establish and promote the inherent value of central station services, to honor those who have made the most significant contributions to the service, and to promote the distinct level of professionalism attained by UL-listed/FM-approved central staions." Participation in the awards is open to any UL-listed/FM-approved central stations, regardless of their affiliation with the CSAA. Keep your eye on the next issue of the CSAA's Dispatch for more details.
So I just saw my first prime time, broadcast network commercial for the brand-spanking new Broadview Security, formerly Brinks Home Security. It happened very quickly... I definitely saw the new logo and got the sense that they were there to protect me, which is good, and they certainly aren't wasting any time in educating the public on who they are and what they do. But the thing that sticks in my mind most was the (so it seemed to me) overly emphasized, prominently featured words "Rapid Response," which appear in all the Broadview Security commercials online at YouTube. I'm no expert, but isn't there some brand dilution going on there? Isn't this kind of like McDonalds airing a line of commercials in which they say "We're the king of the burgers, the veritable burger king!"? Interesting. I saw it on FOX while watching "Family Guy" reruns, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. Keep your eyes open for it.
Just read this story from Minneapolis CBS affiliate WCCO about some rather questionable sales tactics allegedly carried out by an ADT salesperson. ADT has said it does not condone the salesperson's actions. Well, I should hope not. It's a shame that people can't rely on actual events and the truth to make the sale. According to many, the current economic climate should give plenty of fodder for people to come to the conclusion they need to better protect their lives and their property.
Just got an email concerning NBFAA's swearing in of new Executive Committee members. A portion of the release follows:
IRVING, Texas--The National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association swore in three new Executive Committee Members during the General Membership Meeting at the Electronic Security Expo (ESX) on June 25. "Officers, elected and appointed, are guardians of the reputation as well as the property of the association, and play vital roles in its preservation and progress. It is their obligation to act for and on behalf of the association and to maintian and adhere to the highest standards of ethical conduct," said NBFAA Immediate Past President George Gunning, who swore in the new members. The three newly elected officers are: * Charles "Dom" D'Ascoli, Smoky Mountain Systems Inc., elected to one-year term as vice president/president elect * David Koenig, Capital Fire & Security Inc., re-elected to two-year term as treasurer * Ralph Sevinor, Wayne Alarm Systems, Inc., elected to two-year term as vice president.More information on NBFAA and ESX co-founders CSAA can be found by clicking each clickable word.
Well, I'm back from my staycation, which is, of course, where you don't go to work, but you don't really go anywhere... What that meant for me was checking my work email, and the Security Systems News website, but not doing anything with or about them. I also did nothing about the guilty feeling I had every time I looked at my last blog post about the last minute CSAA @ ESX tweet service, which is obviously outdated now... and has been since Friday, June 19 at 5:00 p.m. Oh well, time to post. I got an email from Mike Miller over at NBFAA on the 19th. The email is a plea for support from those of us in the industry on behalf of SIAC. From the email:
SIAC works for you whether you're a member of NBFAA or not. We know that good policies for the security industry are essential to ensure our industry progresses. We all need their help and, in return, they need our help. SIAC is a nonprofit that operates solely off of donations from y ou, the security industry. Their work has saved the industry millions of dollars by ensuring that workable policies are put in place. We need to ensure they can continue to support our causes. You can help by making a contribution.Donations to SIAC can be made at their website or can be snailmailed to: SIAC 13541 Stanmere Drive Frisco, Texas 75035 SIAC has put together some info, found here, that explains how they help the industry. More info on SIAC can be obtained from SIAC executive director Stan Martin
I got my latest edition of the CSAA's Signals yesterday, and I noticed that there's still time (but only just) to sign up for CSAA tweets during ESX. If you already have a Twitter account (and who doesn't these days?), all you need to do is text "follow CSAAintl" to 40404 by close of business today (that's Friday, June 19, 2009) and you'll be all set. If you don't already have an account get going! It's free so there's no excuse. Have a good weekend all ... Try to stay dry :-( Hurray for summer in New England.
I just found out the City of Richmond, Va. has moved beyond the testing phase for the External Alarm Interface Exchange project I wrote about earlier in the year. The two year pilot program saw more efficient handling of data transmission from alarm panels to centrals to PSAPs and eventually led to the computer aided dispatch system being designated as an American National Standard. Vector helped with the program, and now Intergraph has put the program into practical application in Richmond. Proponents of the alarm signal automation standard say two to three minutes per alarm signal could be saved, allowing emergency responders to get on the scene of the emergency much more quickly, improving the chance of saving lives and protecting property. Look for a story on this at Security Systems News.