AARI seeks to maintain membership, increase participation
CRANSTON, R.I.--In the late 1990s, the president of the Alarm Association of Rhode Island and one member were the only people who attended the association's monthly meetings. But after The Station nightclub fire in 2003, membership in the small alarm association spiked as alarm companies joined to learn about fire code changes throughout the state.
"We went from two people to 35 members. It was a big jump because Rhode Island is as large as some cities in some states," said Alex Ferzoco, former president of the AARI and owner of Safety Signal.
Now the association hovers at 40 members, however its current leadership would like to see more consistent participation by its members. Jason Sidok, president of the AARI, wants the association to increase general participation.
Sidok noted that when a state issue arises that affects the security industry, for example when new amendments were proposed to the state fire code in July, there are more attendees at meetings.
"The point of this association is not just to be there when an issue arises," he said. "There are so many people in the association that care a lot about their customers."
Sidok would like to see more membership campaigns.
"At this point in time our current members are talking to other companies that are looking to join. We haven't created a huge membership drive, although the idea is being tossed around," said Sidok.
The AARI was once a Charter State Association belonging to the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association, but decided to drop its state membership four years ago.
Sidok said many of its members have individual memberships with the NBFAA, and the association is not looking to regain national membership.
Associations in neighboring states have addressed changing codes in the last ten years; in Rhode Island these issues have only been addressed in the last five years, Sidok said.
"It is very important for us to get together. But, more so to be a community to do what is best for the industry," he said.