Alarm Guard gets job done with a little help

Sunday, May 1, 2005

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla.--When operating in a territory that spans three counties, Alarm Guard finds keeping up with local municipalities' ever changing policies a chore, although not an impossible challenge considering technology such as the Internet that helps the company keep tapped in.
Alarm Guard focuses on the southern Florida market and is based here in Palm Beach County. The company operated a second office in Martin County, but the space was damaged during last year's hurricane season.
If only the company worked in one specific area of the state, it would not have to keep a watchful eye on all the evolving policies. But the Florida market is a busy one, and Alarm Guard representatives are often starting and completing projects in different counties.
"The government requirements drive us crazy," said General Manager Stephen Wolf. "If you deal with a municipality on an ongoing basis, it's not a big deal because you're familiar with their requirements."
But, he goes on to say, if the company enters an area it does not regularly do business with, it can be difficult to keep up with any changes. Wolf said he tries to stay up to date with local issues and said Internet research is also helpful.
Founded in 1980, Alarm Guard counts fire work to be 60 percent of the company's business. The remaining 40 percent is split 30 percent security installations and 10 percent access control and CCTV.
Asked to illustrate the complexion of the company's customer base, Alarm Guard owner Merle Guild said, "we've got everything from naked dancers to elegant mansions."
To better explain the difficulties the company faces, Alarm Guard holds a UL certificate for fire installations in Palm Beach County, a requirement. In the surrounding counties, Martin and St. Lucie no such accreditation is necessary, said Wolf.
However, a local fire district in St. Lucie now hosts a class that covers the specifics of the certification, leading outsiders to believe this is the direction the county is moving towards.
"You have to be reasonably up to date on a local municipality," said Wolf, on the importance of knowing how to navigate this part of the job. "It's tough, you do the best you can."
A search for a new office in Martin County is now underway, as an office in that area allows for easy access to southern St. Lucie County, a region that is now undergoing a development phase. This area provides the company an opportunity to do new residential construction, as well as doctors' offices, commercial workspaces and shopping centers.
The company employs six field crew personnel and overall approximately 10.