Industry lends a hand to hurricane victims

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Saturday, October 1, 2005

ALEXANDRIA, La.--When Keith Simpson of Simpson Security received telephone calls from two technicians who used to work for a security company in New Orleans but were displaced because of Hurricane Katrina, he had an easy time finding a spot for them on his installation team.
"Right now we need them and they needed the work," said Simpson about the pair of new employees.
In the weeks since the hurricane hit the Gulf Coast, Simpson Security has never been busier. By mid-September, Simpson expected half of his 65-man shop to be working in the Crescent City servicing fire and security alarm systems.
Simpson Security is just one company that has stepped up to the plate to offer jobs to hurricane victims. With so many security companies offering temporary jobs, the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association created a portal on its website to help displaced security company employees find work in the industry.
So far, 60 security companies across the country have posted temporary job opportunities with the NBFAA for hurricane victims. While a majority of the jobs are for technicians, posting also include spots for central station operators, managers and administration.
"This is an effort to put people back on their feet," said Merlin Guilbeau, executive director of the NBFAA.
The association teamed up with Alarm Debt Liquidation Group to put this project together. ADLG provided NBFAA with a full-time employee to work from the association's office and process requests as they come in.
In the short term, the plan is to help displaced employees find work. Down the road, as many security companies begin to rebuild, Guilbeau plans to use the website to help companies recruit employees.
Other associations, like the National Electronic Security Alliance and the False Alarm Reduction Association, teamed up to create a website that offers forums for industry members to see the status of Katrina victims and information about how to help them.
"It seemed to us, a simple thing to do--to create a web site so that people can post their own messages to let others know that they are okay," said Brad Shipp, NESA executive director.