2002 Handshake I-dition

The I-dition (Internet Edition) of the Handshake does not always include all articles published in the printed edition

The President's Corner

It is with great pride that we congratulate two of our native sons on their appointments to the Electrical Contractor's Licensing Board by Governor Jeb Bush. The ECLB has been open for new appointments and these two gentlemen applied for the vacancies.

Pierre Bellemare has been a long-term member of this organization and served with distinction as past president during 1994-1995, as well as other board positions. He is currently working in Sarasota, Florida as Director of Business Development for Safeguard Security Systems of America. He resides in Bradenton, Florida with his wife Linda.

In addition Norman Mugford, past secretary and past regional director of this Association has been appointed as well. Norman is President of AlarmPro in Palm Coast Florida. His spouse Linda is active in his company and they enjoy time with family there.

The first ECLB meeting for Pierre and Norman will occur in Fort Lauderdale at the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport, Griffin Road Exit and I-95, March 20 and 21, 2002. I would encourage all of our members who possibly can, to attend this meeting to show our support and solidarity for their Board appointments and welcome them to their new positions.

On behalf of the Officers, Directors and Members of the Alarm Association of Florida, I want to congratulate them and wish them well in their new assignments. We look forward to their commitment of service to our fellow dealers.

Bob Worthy, President
Alarm Association of Florida, Inc.


It is not often that I have the ability to sit and contemplate issues for any length of time. But I had occasion this last week during a Doctor's visit (which most of you know can turn into a three week waiting room vacation) to consider something that is very important.

This issue is important because it involves the very life of this Association and its future. The issue is one of participation. So often we get calls in the office that ask, "What is the Association doing for me?" What the 'Association' is doing is what the volunteer members are doing at any given time. The Association is not some separate unidentified entity that functions as an automaton.

The Association is a member with an issue who decides they are going to volunteer their time and their effort to make some changes in a way that solves the problem. The Association is the dealer who takes the time to send in a contribution for the scholarship fund, or the political action committee.

The Association is the guy who sees the need for a change in a course that is being taught and does it as a contribution to his fellows, with no compensation or regard for his own profit. The Association are those women who give of their time to make sure that the needs of our children's future education are met by serving as a trustee on the scholarship Board.

The Association is the wholesaler who donates equipment to the AAF for use in our offices. It is also those suppliers who take the time and trouble to promote the AAF and their events, because it helps all of the members regardless of the potential profit for them (sometimes none at all).

The Association are the thirty some volunteer Board members and their spouses who consistently meet every quarter to discuss and decide issues that affect every alarm dealer (member or not) in the State of Florida. The Association is the regional director who shouts and cajoles and begs others to come to their meetings to receive free of charge very critical and important information affecting their businesses.

The Association is the countless souls who help and volunteer and assist us in successfully creating and generating an annual convention and meeting. Ladies and Gentlemen, you have every right to be proud of your Association and your fellow members. They are leading in today's marketplace without regard to their own compensation. They need to be recognized as the ones '…doing for me'. They ARE the Association doing FOR the Association. These are the ones giving back freely to an industry and livelihood they love so well. Thank you.

Bob Neely - Executive Director, Alarm Association of Florida (Visit our website @ www.fla-alarms.org to download your registration forms today!)

Insurance Premiums Are on the Rise
By Rick Janis

Why are insurance premiums on the rise and how can I lower my premiums?

It's been pretty obvious that insurance premiums are on the rise. Just a quick perusal of newspaper and TV news coverage (as well as your own bills) can testify to the fact.

Yet, some insurance companies have not had any rate increases in the past 16 years and in most cases, prices have been on a steady decline. Why the change?

The combination of poor results and the lack of investment return have forced some insurance companies out of business and in most cases forced others to raise their prices. These increases are small percentages at the moment but could increase substantially as the year moves on.

The good news is that there are some ways to combat these price increases, sometimes without even changing insurance companies. One way is to take advantage of changing the deductible. For instance, Automobile Physical Damage Coverage, more commonly known as Comprehensive and Collision Coverage, have deductibles, most of which start at $500 per accident. By simply increasing your deductible to $1,000 or $2,500 per vehicle, you can realize tremendous savings in your premiums. The same goes for property insurance and inland marine coverage. These typically have small deductibles and simply increasing those deductibles will decrease your annual premiums.

Improving your Loss Control will also have some effect on your final premiums. Workers Compensation Companies give credits for educating your employees about the inherent risks of their jobs. Also, improving your buildings with updated electrical systems and more protective systems can improve your premiums.

If you are unable to effect the premium costs with your present insurance carrier it may become necessary to shop your renewal. You may ask your insurance agent to try several companies or engage another agent to try the companies he or she works with. Most independent insurance agents have several companies to choose from when quoting your insurance. Just remember to always compare the same coverage when looking at alternative insurance programs. Make sure your new program is as broad in coverage as your expiring program. Remember, there are always more inexpensive products available. They just may not be what you need to fully protect your business and your customers.

Rick Janis is a Certified Insurance Counselor and president of the Alarm Insurance Agency. With over 7 years of experience in the security industry, he has been responsible for developing and managing comprehensive insurance and bonding programs for alarm dealers and monitoring companies. Rick is CEU certified by NBFAA and teaches CEU courses to the alarm industry on General Liability/Errors and Omissions and Worker's Compensation. He can be reached at 800-474-0933 or by fax at 800-240-0631. You may also e-mail him at rjanis@alarmins.com.

Magnetic Contacts 101

By Tab Hauser

Magnetic contacts are the first line of defense in the burglar alarm industry. They are inexpensive, very reliable, and in most cases out of sight. While PIR's and other interior detectors are an excellent back up, it is the contact that immediately triggers the alarm system when the door or window is open. Contacts should be used on all entry sights because a PIR will pick up the intruder after they are inside.

Over the last fifteen years Tane has been asked many questions regarding reed switches and magnetic flux that pertains to the alarm industry. Installers ask us all the time how reeds and magnets work and why they work. Some of their other concerns deal with contacts and magnets on steel surfaces.

It is not my intention to have this article be considered the law on the subject. However, it is my intention to help those newcomers in the industry and anybody who may not be up to date on reeds and magnets.

A reed switch is the heart of a magnetic contact. It is nothing more than a simple switch that turns on and off with a magnet. Presently we sell our reeds in every car produced in North America with ABS. The reed is in the brake fluid box and a magnet in on a float measuring brake fluid for ABS systems to work. (Reed switches are also turned on and off with an electromagnetic coil. This is called a reed relay. Reed relays are frequently found in the panels and PIR's you work with). The best contacts have reed switches that use a de-activated rhodium over gold material in the center of the switch. Many of today's top contact manufacturing companies use this reed style.

A reed switch in a closed loop system works on a simple process. When you put the magnet near the reed the two blades inside the glass will close at the same time. When the magnet is withdrawn the reed blades will open causing the circuit to open and the alarm to be triggered. In an open loop the opposite occurs. The reed is open with the magnet near it and closes with the magnet moved away. A supervised system may require a single pole double throw (SPDT) contact. This is a three wire contact, when the magnet is moved away the current, or lack of, will switch to the other pole.

A reed switch is a highly reliable device because the blades are sealed in glass. The best quality reeds are sealed in an inert gas. This means that the outside environment will have no effect on the actual contacts, such as contact resistance build up as sometimes found on mechanical contacts. By sealing in an inert gas contact resistance between the blades is kept to a bare minimum.

A big myth with the magnetic contacts is if the reed is closed for years and not opened the reed will magnetize shut. This is highly unlikely. In fact we say it is impossible if you are using a high quality reed switch in your contact. A reed will 'lock up' if that circuit experiences a tremendous electrical surge in the system. A magnetic contact on the average will only carry one amp at DC100 volts. On a rare occasion a surge or lightning strike will shoot current through the contacts many times the rated capacity. This will create an arcing and welding of the contact. One former manufacturer made a so-called lightning switch. Their principle at the time was that lighting on that contact forced the reed to remain open when hit by lighting. Its biggest problem was its high cost and replacement needs. Tane at this time is experimenting with high voltage contacts to counter the surge problem. Another way a reed could lock up is when no current or very little current and voltage (dry circuit) flows through it. This lock up is called 'soft sticking' and does not usually occur in better grades of the bare reed switch.

Another question asked to Tane is the speed of a reed switch. It is not likely that one can ever open a door fast enough to jump a contact. (You can jump a contact with a magnet if you know where that contact is, as well as the correct polarity. This circumstance is rare and involves high security bias contacts). A reed operates in microseconds and will not miss.

Finally, reed switches are not affected by weather too easily. Today's reeds are specified from -45 to +150 degrees. A contact cannot freeze closed. Just ask your fellow installers from Alaska if any of their Tane contacts ever froze closed.

Another myth regarding magnetic contacts involves magnets. A good ALNICO V magnet used in the industry will never permanently lose its magnetic flux. A magnet of this type will only lose some of its power under certain conditions. Flux loss can be associated with the 'he-man' installer whacking the magnet into a tight hole using a hammer. (Magnets hate violence). You can also weaken a magnet by taking it from a very hot environment to a very cold one quickly. This type of problem never happens because most of us do not bake and freeze magnets. Installers tell me they freeze or roast in their trucks depending on the season. Do not lose sleep on your magnets losing power here. They adapt well when conditions are gradual.

Another myth about magnets is that when you place them on steel they may permanently lose their power in time. On the contrary, magnets and steel feed off each other. An ALNICO V magnet will only lose part of its magnetic flux giving a smaller gap. Depending on the thickness of the steel an installer may find a contact with a 1" gap on a wood or aluminum surface go down to a 1/2" gap. This loss in magnetic flux will not get any worse. Contact manufacturers will tell you, in the event of steel surfaces use spacers for surface mount or use a true ¾" press fit that leaves a little air gap between the reed or magnet.

When installing contacts remember the best gaps come when you mount the reed and magnet in parallel or head to head. You can also align the reed side and magnet in an "L" position. Always avoid putting a magnet and reed in a "T." The reason a "T" position mounting does not work well is because all magnets and reeds have a small neutral spot so if you set it this way and there is any shift in the surface of your installation you are more likely to get a false alarm.

One other point manufacturers request is care. A magnetic contact uses a glass reed switch in the center of the contact. Please make sure holes are not too tight for recess. You are more likely to get a bad contact by pushing a recess into a tight hole than you are by drilling carefully.

All contact manufactures are out to make the best product they can. Some of the best ways to advance this part of the alarm industry is to make sure your contact manufacturer knows what you want. At times a manufacturer does not know what is good or bad unless we have the installers opinions. Remember, we need your opinion so tell us what works and what does not.

[Tab Hauser is Vice President of Tane Alarm Products, a contact manufacturer since 1983. He has written in the past on topics such as relays and reed switches. Tab may be reached at (800) 852 5050.]


FASA Technicians that were "Grand-fathered in" AND had the 6-hr FASA ce by Sept 30, 2000 and anyone with FASA training in 2000 MUST renew this year, 2002, with a 6-hr FASA ce class.

489.5185 (5) Each fire alarm system agent must receive 6 hours of continuing education on fire alarm system installation and repair every 2 years from an ECLB board-approved sponsor of training and through an ECLB board-approved training course.

The "grand-fathered-in" FASA certificates expire Sept 30, 2002. The personnel trained with FASA in 2000 will have their certificates expire 2 years from the date of the original training. Please check our schedule and web site for schedule updates.

Make Your Plans To Attend…

The ISC Show East &
AAF Annual Meeting
August 14- 17, 2002
Orlando, Florida


Getting Your Investments Back On Track

One of my basic beliefs is that one of the major reasons people fail to get their money to do what they need their money to do is that they focus on the news about investing rather than the truth about investing. The truth about investing has to do with understanding long-term history. The news about investing is brought to you by CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Barron's, etc. These are the people whose primary objective is to earn money for themselves via advertising, subscribers and viewers. Their objective is not the successful realization of your hopes and dreams.

One of the other reasons people fail is they get emotional about their investments and do things that are not usually in their best interest. They do things like buying high because "everybody's doing it" and "I don't want to miss the bandwagon." And they sell low because they think "this time it's different." In other words, they buy when they should be selling and sell when they should be buying.

Now . . . if you combine the emotion of watching your net worth decline by 20% - 70% (depending on how much tech you have/had/shouldn't have had), the emotion of a possible reduction in your lifestyle along with the day-after-day dire forecast of doom and gloom every time you turn on the TV, radio or open up a newspaper or magazine - no wonder you get frozen into inaction.

Here's the problem: The places we've long considered safe havens - money markets and savings accounts - are paying you something south of about 1.75%!! If you factor in Uncle Sam's cut for taxes and you-pick-the-number for inflation - things start to look even worse. How are you going to get your money to do what you need it to do?

The market's move in the 2001 fourth quarter may have been a reaction to the anticipation of an economic recovery this year. If proven correct, it's not too late to participate in the market's next advance. If not, don't be the last one on your block and end up buying high again.

Now is the time to grab hold of yourself, take a deep breath and move forward. Don't miss out on what might perhaps be the last major financial opportunity of your investing life - especially if you're an aging baby-boomer. Sit down with your financial professional for an in-depth review of your most important financial goals and get back on track. The clock is tick tick ticking.

My company's Chief Investment Strategist, Rod Smyth has just prepared a special "Outlook 2002" report entitled "Out of the Rough: Approaching the Sweet Spot for Stocks. This report details several strategies that First Union Securities believes will provide the greatest potential as we approach economic recovery.
They include:
1. Adjusting Portfolio Equity Allocations
2. Emphasis on Small-/Mid-Caps Relative to Large-Caps
3. Favoring Cyclical Sectors over Defensive Sectors
4. Shifting from Government Bonds to Corporates/Agencies
5. Recommended Allocations for Three Types of Investors.

While not all of his strategies may be right for your situation, you might find his comments enlightening. If you'd like a copy of Rod's "Outlook 2002" report, give me a call. My ad on the next page will give you my telephone number.

Randy "Lippy" Lifshotz is a Senior Vice President, Retirement Planning Specialist, Investment Officer (and biker too!) with First Union Securities in Coral Springs. His affiliation with one of the largest banks in the country allows him the opportunity to provide personal and business banking and lending services along with his traditional investment and financial planning services for all of his clients.


If your area code has changed or you have moved, please notify the AAF office either by mail, fax (954 748-4749), or email (bneely@fla-alarms.org) with the updated information. We need your company name, new address (if moved), old address, phone number, fax number and e-mail address. If you are planning to move we need to know as well because the Handshake cannot be forwarded and you will lose those issues, not to mention the fee we must pay the post office for undeliverable books. Thanks for your help.

Law Enforcement & Security Alliance

2002 Annual Conference
April 3- 6, 2002
Doubletree Hotel, Airport
Tampa, Florida

" False Dispatches - From the Prospective of Law
" Enforcement & the Security Industry
" Revising Alarm Ordinances
" New Equipment
" Choosing an Alarm Company and more…

About LESA

The Law Enforcement & Security Alliance (LESA) is a non-profit organization whose mission is "to maintain a professional forum for law enforcement, public safety, the security industry, and other interested parties to work together on all alarm issues". LESA is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of a President, Vice President - Public Sector, Vice President - Private Sector, Secretary, Treasurer, Immediate Past President, Public Sector Director, two Private Sector Directors, and one representative from the Executive Advisory Committee. All officers, except the Vice President - Private Sector, must be Public Sector members. No two members of the Board can be employed by the same agency or company. The Executive Advisory Committee consists of five Chiefs of Police, sheriffs and Fire Chiefs.

LESA's Goals


Wednesday, April 3rd
12:00 pm Registration
1:00 pm Welcome
1:30 pm Resources for managing your alarm unit
2:30 pm Understanding alarms
4:40 Adjournment
Thursday, April 4th
9:00 am Registration/Continental Breakfast
9:45 am

Revisions to your alarm ordinance

11:00 am Alarm tracking software
1:15 pm - 4:30 pm LESA committee meetings
Friday, April 5th
8:30 am Registration/continental breakfast
9:00 am How can equipment reduce false alarms
10:00 am - 11:30 am LESA committee meetings
12:30 pm LESA Membership meeting
3:00 pm Innovative approaches to reduce false dispatches: What's successful and what's not
7:00 pm Evening in Tampa
Saturday, April 6th
8:30 am

Registration/Continental Breakfast

9:00 am New challenges
10:45 am How to choose an alarm company
12:00 pm Adjournment


All attendees are asked to bring 50 copies of any information you distribute regarding alarm use, ordinances, tips on reducing false alarms, door hangers, etc, to exchange. A great way to swap ideas!

For Hotel Reservations call:
Doubletree Hotel - Tampa Airport
813 879-4800

Questions? Contact the
Law Enforcement & Security Alliance
2334 S McClintock Dr.
Tempe, AZ 85282
(480) 829-9653
Fax (480) 966-0442
website: LESA?International.org

New Florida Fire Prevention Code

By Don Damron
Fire/Life Safety Plans Reviewer

On January 1, 2002 the State of Florida put in to effect a newly adopted statewide Fire Prevention Code. With the exception of Broward County, the code is uniform statewide. It was ratified by the State Legislature separate from the State Building Code, which is slated to become effective on March 1, 2002, if no further changes are made. The process of developing a set of fire prevention and building codes has been a lengthy and sometimes frustrating one. Even now as code officials are enforcing the new Fire Prevention Code, there are elements that have become obvious that will need some further clarification and possible adjustments. This is to be expected with such an undertaking.

The new fire prevention code involves several elements. The major one is Florida Administrative Code (FAC) 4A-60 which is the Florida Fire Prevention Code. Florida Administrative Codes are codes developed by the State Fire Marshal's Office and are considered to be uniform codes, that is, they cannot be exceeded or reduced in requirements. They deal with everything from guidelines for fire alarm and fire sprinkler requirements to requirements for transient lodging facilities and ALFs. 4A-3 gives a list of the NFPA codes and which editions that are adopted by the State Fire Marshal's Office and are required to be used statewide.

The next primary element is NFPA 1 (2000 edition), which is NFPA's fire prevention code. This replaces the Standard Fire Prevention Code, which is produced by SBCCI in conjunction with the Standard Building Code.

Finally the Life Safety Code (NFPA 101), 2000 edition. This code focuses on the ability of a building by the design of various components of the building to allow its occupants to be warned of a hazardous situation and have a quick and safe means of exiting to a safe area. It has occupancy chapters that customize its requirements for various types of uses of the building, even allowing for a mixed use. The occupancy chapters are designed on the same format. They will list requirements for the means of egress and its components, fire alarm requirements, protections from hazards and vertical openings, fire sprinkler requirements, etc. It is the main code in NFPA that specifically focuses on the life safety of the occupants of a building. Most other codes deal with processes, life safety and fire suppression systems and procedures, installation guidelines, fire fighting procedures and safety of firefighters, handling of hazardous materials and gases, etc.

Of particular interest is that the 1999 edition of the National Fire Alarm Code (NFPA 72) is now adopted as the current code to be used statewide.

4A-60 specifically amends or modifies NFPA1 and NFPA 101. It will either delete, add to, or change various parts of these codes. As a document it is not all that lengthy. So as you read NFPA 1 and 101 you must refer to 4A-60 to make sure that it has not modified the section you are using. None of the other NFPA codes are modified by 4A-60.

Perhaps the most useful document that is available is a combination of 4A-60, NFPA 1, NFPA 101, Florida Statute 633and the current edition of the State Requirements for Educational Facilities (ESREF), plus all of the 4A codes (rules) in one binder. In the binder, NFPA 1 and 101 have notations by every section that is modified by 4A-60 and specifically note those that are unique to Broward County.

The binder is available for $97.00, including shipping, from: Broward County Commissioners / Board of Rules & Appeals Jim DiPietro (954) 765-4500 x223 or Pat (954) 765-4500 x222.

The Fire Prevention Code is available online at: http://www.doi.state.fl.us. All the 4A codes are also available online at: http://fac.dos.state.fl.us.. Go to chapter 4, Dept of Insurance and wait for the .pdf files to load. Then go to the 4A series of codes.

Are you ready Broward County?
10-digit dialing begins April 1, 2002

 Do you have a notice you would like to share?  Send it to: handshake@fla-alarms.org

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