In late March the AAF was invited to a meeting of some 35 Fire Alarm Contractors in the Ft. Myers-Naples Region. With significant local issues facing these Contractors, they wanted to discuss whether they should join forces with the AAF or start their own organization. After about an 30 minutes of commentary by Bob Neely and me and another 20 or so minutes of questions from the Contractors with answers provided by Bob Neely, Mark Paloski, myself, Dan Lanier, and John Toscano, we left the meeting to allow the Contractors to discuss the question at hand.

John Toscano called later that afternoon to advise me that they had decided to join the AAF. We all were exceptionally pleased with the news and rather gratified that the AAF, with supporting testimony, was deemed superior to starting an organization from scratch.

The situation in this western region of the state brings up a couple of interesting points and a few questions.

It was obvious from the questions and comments at the meeting that quite a few of the Contractors either did not know about the AAF or did not understand our strengths and depth.
Do you promote the AAF to your fellow Contractors, Building Inspectors and Public Safety Officials? If not, you should be since you are in contact with these people on a regular basis. By reaching out to your contacts, you help everyone in the industry. Contractors who are unaware of the AAF (yes, there are a few) may be in a position to contribute in a big way to the group. Once they join, for example, they can enhance AAF’s efforts to help reduce unlicensed contracting.

Do your Building Inspectors and Fire Service officials know about BASA/FASA cards, just as another example? Did you know that the AAF works hand in hand with SIAC (Security Industry Alarm Coalition) to write, revise, and generally make better False Alarm Ordinances, for BOTH burg and fire?

Something you might say to a Fire or Police official might lead to their city writing a better alarm ordinance.

Do you know the benefits (training and legislative support, for instance) the AAF provides? Are you involved enough in the AAF to be able to properly answer these questions?

Equally obvious was the fact that more than of a few of the Contractors who did know about the AAF believed that it is an organization dedicated to the burglar alarm side of the industry.

Although on the surface it may appear that is the case, nothing is further from the truth.

Do you know that, in fact, the AAF is fighting legislatively for all disciplines within the low voltage industry? This year alone, the AAF has worked within the State Legislature with respect to five major bills, and several minor ones, that would have had an effect on EVERYONE in the low voltage industry in a negative way had we not been there. (See Bob Neely’s article, From the Director’s Chair on page 7 for more details.)

Did you know that the Alarm Association of Florida has made major inroads with the Fire Services throughout the state in the last two years? Mark Paloski, the AAF Training Program Manager, is providing training in conjunction with the FFMIA to offer Continuing Education credits to the Fire Service. This is paying dividends in spades by placing the AAF in front of these officials as an organization full of people that can assist them as partners not confront them as
adversaries.

Three years ago I was invited to participate in a panel discussion at the FARA False Alarm Reduction Association annual meeting in Miami, FL. FARA is an association primarily of persons employed by government and public safety agencies in charge of, or working in,

False Alarm Reduction Units. When it was my turn to address the assembly I offered the following comment: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we are engaged in a war and it is ‘Us’ against ‘Them.’ The ‘Us’ is not the Alarm Companies and the ‘Them’ is not the Police or Fire Agencies. The ‘Us’ is both the Alarm Companies AND you, the Police and Fire Agencies. The ‘Them’ is the bad guys who break the law or anything that threatens life and limb like fire, all of which represent peril to life and property. We need to join forces to defeat the ‘Them.”

Promote the AAF, YOUR Association, to assist in the war to defeat the “Them.”