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Monitoring companies called to action at NFPA meeting

Code’s language could create a ‘monopoly,’ shut out professional monitoring companies
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06/15/2015

CHICAGO—Alarm monitoring organizations, including CSAA and IESA, are rallying the industry to vote on two motions at the NFPA’s annual meeting, scheduled to take place June 25.

Monitoring companies called to action on NFPA vote

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The alarm monitoring industry is taking notice of the NFPA. There are two motions proposed for vote at NFPA’s meeting this year that could have a serious impact on the industry. This pair of motions directly refers to the NFPA 72 Nation Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, which, in the current draft of the 2016 edition states that listed central stations can be used for fire alarm monitoring. A group based in northern Illinois opposes this language, and seeks to alter it, giving local municipalities more authority in the matter.

“What’s happening in Chicago is that some of these communities are operating their own monitoring center. … This [code] would enable that community to have an effective monopoly on alarm monitoring,” said Kevin Lehan, executive director for the Illinois Electronic Security Association and EMERgency24’s manager of public relations.

Lehan noted that, while the authority pushing these motions is from Chicago, it is still a national code. “This is a nationwide problem. If this can happen in Illinois … it could happen in [any community].”

Jay Hauhn, CSAA's executive director, agreed, saying that if either of the motions passed, “other municipalities may see it as a revenue opportunity and also seek to prohibit the use of non-government monitoring centers.”

“The big problem is: This is happening in Illinois, and it’s being challenged by the Illinois fire inspectors,” Ed Bonifas, executive VP of Alarm Detection Systems, told me. “The fire departments that feel this way the most can come out in force, because it happens to be here.”

The vote will be held at the NFPA’s 2015 meeting, at McCormick Place in Chicago, June 25. In order to vote, you must have been a member of NFPA before Dec. 25, 2014, and you must be there in person to vote.

“Right now the language that is in place … for the revised 2016 edition states that the AHJ shall allow central stations to provide this service,” Lehan said. The first motion, 72-8, seeks to alter this language, adding the prefix "When permitted by the Authority Having Jurisdiction,” again giving the AHJ the ability to disallow independent central stations as an option for fire alarm monitoring. This motion would revert the language to how it appeared in the previous, 2013, edition.

The second motion affecting this code, motion 72-9, would entirely strike the line referring to central stations, 26.5.3.1.3, from the code. CSAA, as well as others in the industry, are pushing for a negative vote for both motions.

“If either one of those motions passes, customers will not necessarily … have the ability to use UL-listed monitoring centers for their [fire monitoring],” Hauhn said. 

“The alarm industry here in Illinois has been struggling with the fire service that wants to monitor alarms and prevent alarm companies from doing the same,” Bonifas said. “It’s my contention that there’s a huge conflict of interest when the authority—the fire department—is participating in the business, and then is able to be the one to decide who else can participate,” he said.

A negative vote on both motions would not exclude municipalities from providing monitoring, but instead, ensure that listed central stations are an option.

“All the monitoring industry is trying to do is level the playing field so that government run monitoring centers must meet the same high standards that commercially operated monitoring centers adhere to,” Hauhn said.

“The 2016 draft of the code that’s being considered right now has new language in it that says that listed central stations can monitor alarms. … That sets up a competitive landscape; government can monitor alarms, and private companies can if they follow the code,” Bonifas said. “Competition is good for the consumer because it creates better pricing, but it also creates better service."

How I Use My System: John Spooner

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03/23/2015

John Spooner, executive VP for Alarm Detection Systems, based in Aurora, Ill., has been in the industry for 28 years. Spooner rose from service technician, to installation manager, service manager then to EVP of operations. Four years ago Spooner was appointed to his current role. In February, he talked with Security Systems News about the system he has at home.

ADS creates six executive positions

Growth leads to expansion in the central station
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02/13/2015

AURORA, Ill.—Alarm Detection Systems, based here, is seeking to strengthen its executive team by promoting six people to new roles.

New positions at ADS, Rapid Response

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Updated Feb. 13, 2015

Alarm Detection Systems, based in Aurora, Ill., sought to strengthen its executive team by promoting six people to new roles. And today, as I write this, Rapid Response is looking to fill 70 or more positions for its headquarters in Syracuse N.Y.

As I’m looking over the current events of the industry, growth has been quite the theme, and these are companies that are growing by notable proportions.

At ADS, Amy Becker will become VP and Controller; Nick Bonifas, Corporate Counsel; Ken Mish, VP of Alarm Service and Call Center Operations; Peggy Raper, Call Center Manager; Rick Raper, VP of Central Station Services, Mark Schramm, VP and CIO.

“The alarm industry has changed more in the last five years than in the previous fifty. We need the talent, dedication and intelligence of every employee for ADS to remain the leading provider of security services. Fortunately, we have a committed staff that is up to the task,” said Bob Bonifas, ADS founder and CEO in a prepared statement.

Rapid Response is holding a career fair today to find candidates for openings, most of which are new positions, related to the company’s growth.

Read more on this development with ADS and the reason for this executive expansion

ASG buys in Louisiana, Florida

Optimism abounds at ASG after auspicious Q1
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04/23/2014

BELTSVILLE, Md.—Bolstering its platforms in Louisiana and Florida, super-regional security company ASG on April 22 announced two acquisitions: Alarm Detection Systems (ADS) of Houma, La., and Amsafe Security Systems, based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Fire monitoring in Illinois trending in industry’s favor

Still, some communities won’t bow to federal court decision saying public fire districts can’t be in alarm monitoring business
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02/12/2014

DES PLAINES, Ill.—The Lemont Fire Protection District is ending its fire alarm monitoring program, citing a recent federal appeals court decision saying public entities can’t monopolize such monitoring.

ADS buys in Wisconsin

Deal brings $15k in RMR
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01/10/2014

AURORA, Ill.—With its acquisition of Apex Alarm Systems, Alarm Detection Systems deepened its presence in the southeastern corner of Wisconsin, while bolstering the services available to Apex’s customers.

ADS vs. village in lawsuit

After wins in court saying public fire districts in Illinois can’t monopolize monitoring, the industry is fighting a municipality attempting the same thing
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12/31/2013

DES PLAINES, Ill.—The industry is fighting back against an Illinois municipality’s attempt to do an “end around” of a recent court ruling barring public fire districts from monopolizing fire monitoring in the state.

Decision in Illinois fire alarm monitoring case 'significant' for industry

The ruling says public fire district monitoring services 'less safe' than those offered by private market
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08/07/2013

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill.—A federal appeals court has upheld a previous court ruling favoring ADT and other alarm companies in a case involving public entities monopolizing fire alarm monitoring.

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