The CSAA has announced its Five Diamond program has reached an important milestone. Acadian Command Central, one of the central stations of Acadian On Watch, was the 100th central station to receive Five Diamond certification. Also this week, Per Mar Security Services of Davenport, La. announced it had renewed its Five Diamond certification. Congrats to Acadian Command Central and Per Mar! The CSAAâ€™s Five Diamond Certification program is designed to create standards of excellence for the industry. In order for a central station to earn its Five Diamond Certification, all its operators must undergo the online training course and pass a test, demonstrating proficiency in: alarm verification (reduction of false alarms); communications with public service answering points such as 911; electronic communications equipment; the codes and practices of such standards organizations as Underwriters Laboratories, Factory Mutual, and the National Fire Protection Association; the handling of a wide scenario of emergency preparedness situations. And for those central in Canada or South America who speak French or Spanish, the training, as I noted in a recent story, is now available in multiple languages with the cooperation of CANASA and ALAS. According to the CSAA, there are over 2,700 central stations in the United States, and of this group there are now a little more than 100 central stations that have undergone the process and achieved certification.
I came across this story from azfamily.com this morning and thought it was an interesting example of altruism in the industry, the more so because when I called Central Security Group seeking comment, the central station manager I spoke with had no idea what I was talking about. I relayed the story to him , and he checked their monitored account database and confirmed. "We're monitoring them, all right," he said, and promised to escalate my call to higher ups and see if I could get some more commentary on why Central decided to help these poor people out. It sure is nice to see people doing the right thing and not publicizing it; doing the right thing because it's right not because it will win them the recognition of news outlets like 3 On Your Side and SSN, who notice when people do the right thing. It's nice to see people in the industry doing nice things to keep public perception of the industry from tarnishing, even if it means they're eating the cost of some monthly RMR. I called PCA Security to try and get some input from them on what happened, and (actually, this is kind of funny) the same girl who answered the phone for poor Dawn Stapley when she tried to follow up with her alarm company answered my call. Just as in the azfamily story, the girl answered "Security, please hold!" before putting me on hold, which came complete with loud and--to my mind--unpleasant guitar rock music. She did eventually come back, though, and, after hearing why I called, asked me to call back later and speak with the boss, which I will do. I'll follow up on this story as more input becomes available.
The Alarm Monitoring Services 2009 Dealer Conference exceeded expectations as AMS dealers gathered together in New Orleans for three education-filled days, according to a release from Richard Hahn and Associates. I think it's a good sign that conferences appear to continue to do well, despite a poor economy. An industry needs investment in the form of educational endeavors, of which there were many at the 09 AMS Dealer Conference. Conference speakers included AMS' dealer services manager Brad O'Malley, Stiel Insurance's Marvin Brosset, C.J. Bruno of Compass Capital Management, industry lawyer Ken Kirschenbaum of Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum, PC, Roger Wahden of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc., Louisiana-based CPA Pat Buckley, OzVision's Stan Silberstein, and AMS' own Rick and Dera Jolet I've written about it before: Keep participating, keep learning and continue to be good stewards of the industry. Plans are already in motion for next year's event, which will also celebrate Alarm Monitoring Services' 30th anniversary.
I just came across this story from ScienceDaily, and I thought I'd put a link up. The story cites security as one of the potential benefactors of the new storage medium: "They would be valuable for storing extremely large medical files such as MRIs and could also provide a boon in the financial, military and security arenas." Storage is becoming such an issue in the security industry with the continuing conversion to IP, I thought security readers at SSN might find it interesting. Maybe advances such as this will help bring the high price of video storage down. I can't imagine: 2,000 times the storage capacity of a normal DVD. Wow. That's a whole lot of archived video on one disk.
I got a press release from SIAC the other day. It's available here. SIAC Law Enforcement Liaison Glen Mowrey, with whom I've chatted on various occasions, summed it up best when he said "There's a tremendous amount of positive energy generated by these committees because people are coming together from different disciplines and sharing their best ideas and effective practices." It's all about team work and realizing that at the end of the day, we all want the same thing: We want the product/service to function efficiently, the way it's supposed to, so that the protection of life and property is assured. Mowrey continued: "I expect the number of these committees to continue to grow as alarm management practices are refined and improved nationwide." Let's hope so. I've written about it before, and it's true: everyone wins when we work together. Also from the release, Don Williams of the Mississippi BFAA noted that "Understanding that both law enforcement and alarm companies have different ideas on how to define success is the first step in creating a cohesive working environment. We both want to provide residents and business owners with the highest level of protection. Through mutual cooperation we can make this happen." Amen to that.
SafetyCare announced on Thursday that Denver-based Gold Eagle Systems, a senior care specialist company, had joined the ranks of the SafetyCare Partner Program and would begin offering PERS systems to its customers in Denver and the Front Range. The partnership will allow both companies to maximize their services and enhance senior safety in Colorado, with Gold Eagle offering its strong ties to the local senior community and its expertise in PERS installation and SafetyCare offering its certified EMT-staffed national response center. Information on becoming a SafetyCare Authorized Partner can be found at SafetyCare's website. SafetyCare on May 14, also sent out a call for nominations for the third annual Jack and Rosemary Gulati SafetyCare Awards. The awards are given to caregivers in three categories--Caregiver of the Year in a Facility/Institutional Environment, Caregiver of the Year in Home Health Care, and Emergency Medical Technician of the Year. The national award is open to professionals who have shown dedication to their profession, an extreme level of compassion or who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help those in need. Entrants must be from the U.S. and its territories, and the deadline for nominations is July 31. Winners will be honored at a special awards ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 20 at a location yet-to-be-decided. For more information, visit SafetyCare's site.
It's that time of year again. All the centrals out there with the wherewithal to prove they've completed the necessary training are reporting their CSAA Five Diamond Central Station Certification has been renewed. Just today I received word that Monitronics International in Dallas, and RFI Security in San Jose, Calif. have received their renewal certs from the CSAA. The CSAAâ€™s Five Diamond Certification program is designed to create standards of excellence for the industry. In order for a central station to earn its Five Diamond Certification, all its operators must undergo the online training course and pass a test, demonstrating proficiency in: alarm verification (reduction of false alarms); communications with public service answering points such as 911; electronic communications equipment; the codes and practices of such standards organizations as Underwriters Laboratories, Factory Mutual, and the National Fire Protection Association; the handling of a wide scenario of emergency preparedness situations. And for those central in Canada or South America who speak French or Spanish, the training, as I noted in an earlier post, is now available in multiple languages with the cooperation of CANASA and ALAS. According to the CSAA, there are over 2,700 central stations in the United States, and of this group fewer than 100 (less than 3%) central stations have undergone the process and achieved certification. Keep up the good work guys!
[caption id="attachment_1882" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="New Mace CSSS president Peter Giacalone"][/caption] Mace today announced it had hired Peter P. Giacalone to serve as the president of its new Security Services Division, which includes newly acquired wholesale monitoring company, Mace CSSS, Inc. Located in Anaheim, Calif., Mace CSSS, Inc. is a national UL listed central station that monitors approximately 30,000 end user accounts on behalf of more than 300 dealer clients. Mace CSSS also provides high quality nationwide video monitoring services, including CCTV, IP and other configurations. Giacalone, with over 30 years of combined experience in both the electronic security and wholesale monitoring industries, will oversee all general management and sales, as well as marketing, efforts associated with the Mace Security Services Division and Mace CSSS, Inc. He will also develop Mace's new commercial dealer program, which will support the customers of Mace's monitoring services and surveillance products. Giacalone is currently the Chairman of the Central Station Alarm Association's Audio Verification Standards Committee and the Security Industry Association's Two Way Audio Verification Standards Committee. He is also a frequent guest speaker at the International Security Conference. Giacalone was COO of Criticom International/King Central-Monital.
I have to admit, I'm pretty fond of gadgets. I just like reading about new innovations and new technologies. I've been a longtime reader of scifi.com's DVICE. I'm talking back in the day, before the neat new branding and the upside-down "i" in the name. Actually, I recently found out that DVICE covered one of my most recent stories about Vaica Medical's SimpleMed for SSN before I did. Anyway, I received some press releases recently about some new PERS and security gadgets that I thought were pretty cool. First up is a new edition to the PERS market, LogicMark's FreedomAlert pendant. The small pendant functions just like a monitored personal emergency response system, except the owner of the device doesn't have to pay monthly monitoring fees. Basically, the device consists of a programmable base unit one plugs into their phone line. The base unit is connected wirelessly to the pendant (which looks like a little cell phone, complete with antenna). When the end user pushes the panic button, the base unit calls a call list of 3 numbers and then, if no one on the call list answers, dials 911. The pendant itself is a two-way voice communicator, and is unique, according to LogicMark president Mark Gottlieb, in that it takes advantage of a loophole in federal regulations on autodialer systems and is, in fact, the only autodial system in existence expressly permitted to dial 911. "Weâ€™re the only company in the industry allowed to call NENA, the National Emergency Number Association ... NENA does not allow automatic dialers to call 911 because they can never figure out what the problem is," Gottlieb said. "That's where the role of the monitoring center comes into play. It is actually illegal for an automatic dialer to call 911. We have an exception. We're the only company with a written exception to call 911, because the person who pushes the button is speaking through the pendant to the dispatch." So, basically, imagine it as a cordless phone handset that has been wicked shrunk down so you can wear it around your neck like a necklace, and it also only takes the push of one button to automatically cycle through a call list of 4 preprogrammed numbers. According to Gottlieb, "It has a range of--line of sight--almost 600 feet" from the unit base. Kind of a neat idea to give seniors a sense of security and freedom to roam about the house unfettered to their PERS base unit or by a phone handset they'll have to utilize and dial if they run into trouble. Next is the Silent Touch Watch from SilentCall Communications. The Silent Touch Watch acts as a bridge between end users with vision or hearing impairments and their environment, including their doorbell, phone, and intrusion or fire alarm. According to the release:
The Silent Touch Watch, the alerting tool developed by SilentCall Communications of Waterford, Michigan, will alert the wearer within 300 feet that the doorbell or phone is ringing, or that a smoke detector, fire alarm, or burglar alarm has been activated. The wearer is alerted by both a vibration and by a visual icon symbol lighting up on the display.I like the way the industry is going with making security and lifestyle applications portable. Innovations by Alarm.com, Xanboo, and now SilentCall are really changing the focus of traditional security from protecting a fixed address to giving people on the go 24/7 interaction with all of their lifestyle needs.
Just read through my issue of CSAA's newsletter Signals. Renewal time is here. If you're interested in renewing your Five Diamond status, you can contact Grace Fanzo at 703-242-4670, fax your renewal forms and UL/FM certifications to 703-242-4675 or send Grace an email. I got some press this morning that The Protection Bureau of Exton, Pa. has already renewed their Five Diamond status. I also noticed (with some pride, I might add) that I'm listed in the Central Station Operator Training Level I Graduates roster in the most recent issue of the CSAA's Dispatch. I still, of course, have not taken the test for the Advanced Level. I have just procrastinated too long and will need to go back and review all the modules before advancing and becoming an Advanced Central Station Operator Training Graduate. But that's okay. Thankfully, the training set up by the CSAA and the CMOOR Group allows the student to move at their own pace, and review any portion or all of the training before attempting the final test. Maybe next month. CSAA also announced that it has begun offering, through a partnership with ALAS (Asociation Latinoamericana de Seguridad), a Spanish language version of the training to better serve the world of security monitoring. According to VÃctor AlarcÃ³n, director of operations at ALAS, the Spanish version is an important step forward. "We joined in a venture with the CSAA to translate and bring to Latin America the course they have been successfully teaching in Central Stations around the United States, for several years already," AlarcÃ³n said. "Because the Latin American security industry and central stations, in particular, are in great need of education. They want to become more professional and deliver a better service to customers. ALAS committed to this purpose and then we made the course available for Latin America." CSAA said a French version is in the works.