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Carter Rierson

NFPA show offers wide variety of choices

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05/28/2013

WAUNAKEE, Wis.—Carter Rierson, president of Best Defense Security & Fire Protection, said attending the National Fire Protection Association’s Conference & Expo for the first time this year will be like being “a kid in a candy store.”

Schools need to be armed … with mass notification!

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Shock. Grief. Outrage. Those are some of the feelings we’ve all experienced in the aftermath of the massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Now I’d like to add “frustration” to the list.

That’s an emotion expressed by some fire installers who say they’re frustrated that school officials don’t realize how valuable an emergency communications system/mass notification system can be in situation like the one at Sandy Hook, where a young man gained entrance to the school and shot the students and staff. Adding a mass notification component to a fire system, particularly if the system already has speakers, typically is a pretty simple job. Yet many school officials are unaware such an important option exists, fire installers say.

Among those expressing frustration is Carter Rierson, president of Best Defense Security & Fire Protection, based in Waunakee, Wis. Here’s his very articulate summary of the situation:
 

Over the summer we installed several school fire alarm systems along with dozens of card readers and cameras for schools.  No schools, however, installed an emergency communications system here in Wisconsin.

Emergency Communications Systems … are the best tool to minimize the impact of what we saw last week.  Rather than luckily having heroically push an intercom to alert the building, ECS systems are designed to do EXACTLY that.  The industry as a whole is just beginning to learn about these systems. Unfortunately, the school administrators, and the engineers who design fire alarm systems for them, have no idea what these systems are, how they work, and how they should be implemented in buildings such as this.

Much has been written about the “first responders”, the police officers, EMT’s, etc. In reality they were NOT the first responders. The first responders were the heroic teachers and staff members who ALWAYS respond first in a case like this. Unlike the other “first responders” who are fully equipped, very little has been done to equip the true first responders for a situation like this. ECS is the first step as it decreases the amount of time required to notify the staff and students, compartmentalizes the buildings, and automates the dispatch of the “first responders”.

The word needs to get out.

 

I’ll be talking more to Carter and other fire companies about what the industry can do to make sure the word does get out about ECS/MNS! Stay posted.

 

Fire alarm dealer left a great installation legacy

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

We all like to think that by the time we exit this world, we’ll have accomplished something great that we’ll be remembered by. But let’s face it, most of us are not going to make it into a Who’s Who or rate a Wikipedia page for what we’ve done in life. That’s why I found this tribute to fire dealer Larry Esch, who died last summer, so touching. It’s a good reminder of what really counts in life: getting the little things right—in this case, fire panel by fire panel.

Carter Rierson, president of Best Defense Security & Fire Protection of Waunakee, Wis., wrote the tribute and sent it to Security Systems News. He writes beautifully of a person who set a standard for quality when it came to life safety. Here’s what Carter had to say:
 

I am writing this letter to recognize an industry professional who went above and beyond to make our industry better. Larry Esch was the owner of World Security of Harvard, Ill., an NFPA 72 Code Committee member, and an industry veteran for nearly 40 years. Larry passed away last summer.

I met Larry through our fire alarm manufacturer’s dealer conventions where he instructed other dealers on the importance of setting a quality standard in their alarm installations.

In these sessions, Larry showed photos of poor, improper, and non-compliant installation examples, citing the codes and illustrating why the examples did not comply with the codes. He then continued on to show examples of very clean, professional code-compliant systems installed by his company. He noted the difference and educated the class on how his company had completed these installations.

Larry emphasized that he was not telling anybody in the class “how” to install an alarm, simply that it was important that EVERY fire alarm installing company set a standard on how they want their systems installed. He stressed that without setting a standard and ensuring the technicians installing the system follow that standard, quality cannot be guaranteed.

Shortly after his passing I received a call to service a fire alarm installed by Larry’s company.  I am a NICET level IV alarm professional with 21 years experience servicing thousands of fire panels, installed by multiple different companies, and this alarm was the cleanest, most organized, easiest to service installation I had EVER seen!

Words simply cannot describe how neatly every wire was terminated and labeled.  The installation was EXACTLY as he had shown in his training class. Although it was the very first time I had stepped foot on the job, his installation was so clean and easy to follow that I was easily able to service the system. I took photos of the panels and use them to illustrate proper panel wiring when training my technicians.  We use this as OUR quality standard!

Not only did Larry always make himself available to other alarm dealers with questions, he made the effort to make us all better at what we do. He always stressed, “Set a standard,” and lived by that standard himself.

Larry taught an important lesson and set a standard we can all learn from.  Our industry needs more Larrys!  He made a difference.

 

NICET training pays off in Wisconsin

Having the certification helps companies qualify for jobs that increasingly are requiring it, one fire company says
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04/25/2012

WAUNAKEE, Wis.—It pays in this state to have NICET training, according to Carter Rierson, president of Best Defense Security & Fire Protection, based here.

New edition of NFPA 72 to be more user friendly

The 2013 version won’t contain the dramatic revisions of 2010, but should make life easier for dealers, installers
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04/18/2012

YARMOUTH, Maine—Come this fall, you won’t have to flip through the several hundred pages of NFPA 72, the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, to find documentation requirements. Now, in the new 2013 edition, you’ll find the requirements all laid out for you in one chapter.

Running, walking and talking—Day 2 at ISC West

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Day 2 of ISC West started off with a bang … as in the bang from the starter’s pistol as I ran in the annual Mission 500 Security 5K, the running race that Security Systems News helps sponsor.

Not only does the race do good—this year the more than 500 participants helped raise about $80,000 for needy children in Mexico, India and Tanzania—but it’s a legitimate excuse to take some time to exercise at this busy show. And this year it featured new event, a 2K walk. I heard from several people on the show floor later that they’ve wanted to participate in the race previously but can’t run 3.2 miles. They said a walk would be more doable and said they may participate in that part of the event next year. So, I’m betting that at ISC West 2013 we’ll see even more people joining in this good, healthy—and fun—cause.

Speaking of Mexico, during my visit to the 2GIG booth, Todd Santiago, president of the Carlsbad, Calif.-based home security systems developer told me the company is expanding to Mexico and other Latin American countries this year. “We see international expansion as a huge opportunity,” he said. “We have significant demand for our security offering.”

He said the company, founded about two years ago, also is doing great in North America, with more than 1,100 dealers now.

Among other Day 2 meetings I had were with a couple of fire dealers who impressed me with their innovative ideas.

One was Carter Rierson, founder and president of Best Defense Security & Fire Protection of Waunakee, Wis.
Among things that Rierson and I discussed were his trademark “cellevator,” a cellular solution that enables people in an elevator to summon help in an emergency. Rierson said customers like his solution because it costs half of the traditional solution, which is a phone line voice connection to an elevator.

I also talked to Mark Popkowski of Texas-based Modern System Concepts, a Texas fire and security company. He told me he’s outfitting all the company’s technicians with iPads. He’s also saving time and money by having them do fire inspections with a new inspection app that his company developed. He plans to beta test the new software and then market it to other companies this summer.

He said the app allows companies to “have multiple technicians out in the field on an inspection and they can be doing one part of the inspection and somebody else can be doing the other” but they both produce one report.