Mecco garners UL, to boost fire business

Saturday, March 1, 2003

ERIE, Pa. - Three years after adding onto its headquarters to expand its central station, Mecco Alarms, an installation company based here, has garnered its Underwriters Laboratories listing for its central station.

The new certification means that Mecco, which added on about 600 square feet to its location here, is the only UL-listed central station within a 100-mile radius, according to company officials. Local fire officials told the company that Mecco would need a UL listing to continue to monitor commercial fire alarms or the company would lose that business, so the company began the UL application process in 2000 and built its addition, a process that meant about a $300,000 investment for the 12-employee company.

Now, not only will Mecco Alarms be able to keep its commercial fire accounts, but new state regulations that take effect in June regarding fire will likely send more business its way, said Dave Alloway, Mecco owner and president. Pennsylvania’s adoption of the International Building Code, which calls for more stringent codes regarding the installation, service, inspection and monitoring of fire alarm systems, will likely make Mecco a standout in the Erie region with its new UL listing.

“It will send business our way, I believe, but it’s all going to be based on enforcement,” Alloway said. While the city of Erie has historically been aggressive with its code enforcement, other surrounding municipalities have not, he said.

“There are going to be a lot of people looking to have their systems monitored by a central station, and I hope that they try something in their own town before going far away,” Alloway said.

And given that the closest central stations are located well outside of the Erie area, Alloway predicts that the new fire codes will mean not just increased monitoring business, but more customers looking for inspections from Mecco’s installation and service division. The building code, which relies on NFPA 72 for fire regulations, stipulates that fire systems must be inspected on an annual basis.

JoAnn Puskus, operations manager, said the company monitors more than 800 accounts, about 450 of which belong to Mecco. The company also expects that revenue from third party monitoring will also increase, due to both the new UL certification as well as the state’s pending regulations.