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by: Daniel Gelinas - Friday, January 22, 2010
Couldn't resist blogging about this interesting little item. Going through my Google Alerts this morning and came across this crisp little, lyrical moment captured in a pretty piece of poetry. A blogger going by the handle Feed Store Girl has created a haiku dedicated to the false alarm. As an English major, I'm fond of language, am wooed by words choreographed into associations of poetry and prose. So I was gratified to see someone address the violent juxtaposition to normal life of the false alarm (something to which I dedicate a large portion of my working, reporting life) in a tidy tidbit of verse. I love, especially, the last line, which captures the shifts in emotion that come from the scream of a siren in the middle of the night... shift... to the feelings of contrition for worrying everyone over nothing... shift... to the feeling of relief that nothing was wrong. I linked the haiku above, but here it is in all it's brevity and entirety:
Four a.m. Choteau Siren wailing, come, hurry! Sorry. No fire. Whew.
Not addressed in the haiku, but potentially there or imminent, are the feelings of irritation that the alarm went off without reason, yet again... and feelings of being raked for cash when the false alarm fine arrives in the mail.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I noticed a sort of alarming trend in my Google Alerts the last few days. It seems there have been some false alarms at nuclear facilities recently, and I find this worrisome. The first false alarm I read about is perhaps the most upsetting to me. It was an actual false security alarm at a nuclear weapons assembly plant... That right there made me go "huh..." Apparently these two guys, who worked at this plant, putting nuclear weapons together thought it would be cool to get their guns and go duck hunting inside the security perimeter of the office. They make nuclear weapons there guys... don't go crouching around in the bushes outside with firearms. What's your security company supposed to think when they're checking the security camera footage on that one? I love this line from the report: "The men apparently decided to use their day off hunting ducks, a pastime in the area." Another popular pastime in the area is assembling weapons of mass destruction. Call me naive, but why do we have a factory where people are still putting together nuclear weapons? Aren't we (or maybe, "shouldn't we be" is more realistic) all about disarmament? Anyway... The other story just came across my desk today and spotlights a loud alarm going off at a nuclear power plant. Apparently, local residents were shaken and called local authorities for answers. No kidding. I hope there's some kind of false alarm fine for the that one. How do you do ECV on that alarm?
by: Daniel Gelinas - Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Just came across this story at the Orange County Register. Seems they've been having a real doozy of a time with false alarms lately over in Irvine, Calif. The IPD holds a quarterly alarm awareness class for interested residents and businesses with alarms. The class is not mandated for offenders, but is voluntary and offers incentives. The next class will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, at the Civic Center, 1 Civic Center Plaza. Sharon Elder VP of sales at NMC's Aliso Viejo central station will co-run the class with IPD personnel. I visited the (at-the-time) brand-spanking-new Texas center on the way to last year's TechSec. Nice center. There is a $15 registration fee, but attendees get a false alarm fee credit they can use at some point in the future. Interested in attending? Contact IPD regulatory affairs supervisor Cristine Gaiennie at 949-724-7066. Elder said it's important for the industry to participate in educational efforts like this. "The class is actually written into the ordinance. It started back in 1996. I've been the police liaison since then. Christine has been involved since then, as well. It's in the 'good and good for you' category. Clearly we need to work together with municipalities to be sure citizens are educated." Quesions for Sharon on alarm awareness education can be directed to her at 800-353-3031. Gaiennie agreed cooperation was the key ingredient to educating the public and curtailing the false alarm problem. "It's a real tag-team effort," Gaiennie said. "We've held this class for years, and Sharon has been teaching it for years." This is a good example of the municipality and the industry working together to help educate end-users and thereby save resources. Good work.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Monday, January 11, 2010
Even though I won't be there traipsing up and down the aisles of the Sands with all y'all this year, I'm still looking forward to ISC West. I'm looking forward to following all the news from my colleagues, Sam, Martha and Leischen as it unfolds. I regret I will be unable to participate in the Security 5K to Benefit Mission 500, but hope everyone has a blast doing some good for a worthy cause. I also recently learned Bob Harris would be bringing the Attrition Busters treatment to ISC West with a workshop on Wednesday, March 24. Bob did a cool free webinar for CSAA last year that was very successful according to exit poll results. Overheads of the webinar can be found at the CSAA's website. From Bob's press release:
Once again the ISC West educational advisory board has asked me to step up and give something back to the industry. As a result, I am delighted to once again provide my most in demand corporate two-hour session called “The Solutions Challenge: A Role-Play Workshop.” ... This year I am asking attendees to come loaded with their toughest customer retention and sales related challenges. Collectively, we’re going to tackle those challenges and empower everyone to go back to work full of tools to use in effectively resolving these extremely difficult situations.
You can contact Bob at his email address.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Following up on a story Security Systems News broke back in November of 09, Safeguard Security has completed construction of its cutting-edge Dallas-based video monitoring facility to be occupied by monitoring partner Stealth Monitoring. A Business Wire release announced the center's completion. Stealth is set to switch all monitoring functions over to the new, larger center today at 5 p.m. central time.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Monday, January 4, 2010
Just went through my Google Alerts from over the New Year's weekend and came across a story from the Greensboro, N.C. News & Record highlighting the city's reactivation of its false alarm ordinance. I covered the story about Greensboro putting its ordinance on hold last month in one of SSN's top stories of the month. It looks as though owners of alarm systems need to be vigilant once more. At the time of the suspension, SIAC executive director Stan Martin said "We’ll probably have [someone] go in there to support the chief’s position (and ours) that fining is necessary. However, it is a strong reminder that police are there to respond to the needs of the community and if the citizens, through city council, are willing to spend those resources that way, that’s their choice. Our job is educate them on the downside or consequence of that decision.” Martin today reaffirmed SIAC's willingness to aid municipalities looking to sort out their false alarm woes. "[SIAC law enforcement liaison] Glen Mowrey has been in contact with Greensboro PD and of course we support reasonable fines as a deterrent," Martin said. "There is still much work to be done there and Glen is planning a visit to the PD this month to help with a new plan for the city council to consider." According to the News & Record:
A property owner will be subject to a $50 fine after a third false alarm within a year. But at least one councilman would like to investigate other ways to handle false alarms. “If there are repeat, repeat, repeat offenders, something’s got to give,” Councilman Zack Matheny said. Matheny said the city could consider changing the number of false alarms allowed before a property owner is fined.
The ordinance was originally temporarily shelved due to a small holiday crime wave in a particular neighborhood. Police bowed to citizen pressure that fines during this time could discourage citizens from arming their alarms and could increase break-ins perpetrated by opportunistic criminals looking for peoples' stash of holiday gifts.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Thursday, December 31, 2009
I got a call from Rapid Response events coordinator Brian Beckwith last night. He was calling to let me know he was going to email me a press release on the next User's Group. What a nice guy... and some kind of Ninja or something, if memory serves... Brian you can set me straight if I got that wrong. Seems the Rapid Response Users' Group 2010 has been slated for Aug. 1-4 and will once again be held at the beautiful Turning Stone Resort in Verona, N.Y. The 2009 RRUG was a huge success according to attendees I spoke with. They cited Rapid's care, attention to detail and willingness to go to any lengths for victory over mediocrity. I also thought it was a success because I walked outta the joint $500 richer from some slot dabbling, which was nice. I wrote about my RRUG experiences--the road trip, the gambling, the education, the gambling, the road trip--earlier this year. I was blown away by the scale of the event. I'm looking forward to the 2010 event and will start working on my publisher Tim Purpura, post haste. I don't have a link but here's the release I got from Brian.
Jeffrey Atkins, President of Rapid Response Monitoring Systems, Inc., has announced the dates and location of RRUG 2010, the Second Annual Rapid Response User Group Event. The Company’s dealers, service providers, exhibitors and vendors are invited to attend the Event being held August 1-4, 2010 at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York. An active program of training courses and breakout sessions, technical orientations, guest speakers, exhibitions and tours of the Rapid Response facility, RRUG 2009, the inaugural User Group Event, was a resounding success attended by over 400 dealers. It was also held at the Turning Stone Resort, a world-class resort featuring lavish dining, luxury accommodations, gaming and PGA golf courses. 'The success of RRUG 2009 was very instructive,' Atkins said. 'It became increasingly obvious during the Event that, in spite of hard times, if we just came together and shared a dedication to success, we could achieve it. Consequently, for RRUG 2010 we are designing our programs to emphasize teamwork and a more unified response to industry and business problems that can lead to a successful future for all of us.'
I hope to see everybody there. Last year I saw Medical Alarm Concepts CEO Howard Teicher, Keith Jentoft president of RSI (if you haven't checked out Keith's awesome music video yet, please do so!!), and OzVision president of security Avi Lupo who will now also fill the role of GM at FST21's US operations, to name a few. I also got to sit down one-on-one with the top brass at RR and SGS... Not too shabby. Hopefully, this year's RRUG will be just as eventful.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Monday, December 28, 2009
I got an email today from the Security Industry Association. Apparently they're getting ready to compile a study of security project management and are asking for help from anyone in the security industry (not just SIA members) engaged in overseeing security projects and managing people. Interested participants should check out SIA's release at their website. Join in and help SIA protect and advance its members' interests by advocating pro-industry policies and legislation on Capitol Hill and throughout the 50 states. I think it's important for the security industry to take part in initiatives like this and like the recent study conducted by CSAA, in order to assure that the industry shares best practices and grows through education and communication.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Monday, December 21, 2009
I was reading through my Google Alerts this morning and came across a story from NorthJersey.com about the false alarm ordinance in Englewood, N.J. There are some interesting points addressed in the story. One resident complains that just because there is no damage to her window or door, does not mean someone didn't try to break in. That's true. The same resident also said that every time she attempted to take the educational, online alarm course offered by her municipality at the police department website, the site was down. This problem continued, she said, until the the full fine she could have avoided through taking the course was finally levied. I think it's probably normal as an end user to get angry with the police for not showing up at your property after you've had too many "false" alarms. I think it's probably also pretty normal to get angry with your town or city when they bill you for excessive "falses." Industry attorney Ken Kirschenbaum, Esq of Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC recently pointed in his industry-related email newsletter to an online essay on what he thinks of the false alarm problem. Some interesting thoughts there. What really caught my eye, however, was the comment on the story. A comment from someone calling him/herself (probably the former, though it's hard to tell when people use aliases online...) Popeye points out the truth that the alarm industry is a private industry, and not a division of publicly-funded law enforcement. Popeye warns people to blame their alarm companies and not the police. I really liked where he said:
don't blame the cops, blame your alarm suppliers. Remember, alarm systems are private contracts for private service from a private firm. Police are not part of the contract. Nearly all calls for help from alarm monitoring firms simply mean they want help to complete their monitoring process with a free site inspection to determine IF it is an emergency, not because of an emergency. Said differently, the alarm industry technology is so outdated and sloppy that nearly all site inspections (police response) are unnecessary.
Just more proof the industry needs to be proactive in working with municipalities and law enforcement agencies, and support associations like SIAC and FARA in order to assure it's not perceived as a nuisance.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Friday, December 18, 2009
Just got my latest edition of CSAA's Signals and see that they're conducting a survey on social media like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn in the security industry (I'm going to take it as soon as I blog about it, tweet about it, and post it to my Facebook page). There are a lot of tools out there for spreading the word, reaching out to existing and potential customers, and sharing thoughts and best practices with your peers. Drop Celia a line and ask about filling out that survey and pitching in. Of course, those of you who read this post earlier, know that I originally had link posted here to the survey. That link was actually tailored to me, and there were some problems reported by people trying to follow it and participate. The actual link is here.

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