Members Interim Activities Report

 November, 2016

MISSION: The Alarm Association of Florida was founded with a mission to promote education and training within the alarm and low voltage industries and establish preeminent professional ethics and standards. It was begun in an effort to establish statewide licensing.

Beginning in 1979, and after nine years of lobbying the Florida Legislature, in 1988 the AAF succeeded in establishing through state law one of the most effective licensing and training statutes in the United States. All alarm systems must be installed by a state licensed contractor or possess a county issued license registered with the state. The exception is the do-it-yourself system which also must comply with all permit and code requirements. Any and all fire systems are subject to full engineering and permitting approval and can only be installed by a licensed contractor.

All contractors must renew their license on a two year renewal cycle completing 14 hours of specialized training each two years to include, technical, business, law, workers compensation, advanced building code, alarm dispatch reduction, safety, codes and standards. Moreover all employees involved in installation, service, sales or proprietary administration must receive an initial training course upon employment of fourteen hours; then a renewal cycle every two years with a six hour specialized refresher course. Each employee must be drug free by at least three years and undergo a fingerprint and background check every two years or upon change of employment. The AAF is a state licensed provider of alarm classes and courses for license holders and their employees. (www.fla-alarms.org)

TRAINING AND EDUCATION: The Alarm Association of Florida is licensed through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation to offer courses both in the classroom and on line. We currently have over forty courses approved through the Department of Professions and the Florida Building Commission. These courses are used in the continuing education process for both state license holders and their employees to maintain compliance.

Beginning with the first established courses under state law in 1996 the AAF has built one of the most successful training institutions in the United States. As the largest single independent alarm trade association in the United States, we have maintained continuous improvement and active growth in the training industry for the last twenty years. Currently we have trained during these years some 40,000 industry license holders and employees. Our Board voted to establish on line courses to accompany our live classes in 2012 and in four years we have continuously grown and now have almost equal training effort in each category. The online courses are produced through our separate web based training school at www.alarmacademy.org. By any measure we are the largest training provider in the state of Florida for the industry.

Proudly the Alarm Association of Florida is also the provider of record for the recently established technician training program at Palm Beach State College. The AAF provides the Alarm Agent and Fire Alarm Agent courses for the college as well as the certificates and field credentials for the students. The AAF also financially sponsors a student through the program each year. This program is about to be expanded to several other state colleges in Florida because of its enormous success and we will support it across the state.

SCHOLARSHIPS: In the mid 1980’s several members of the AAF started an education foundation fund known as the Alarm Industry Foundation of Florida. It was formed in honor of one of our past presidents, Mr. Stan Lott. Stan was a teacher before he became an alarm dealer and his career in the alarm industry was meteoric and he established himself well in his career path. Tragically he passed away at a young age because of a heart ailment. His peers established this fund in his honor to produce scholarships for children of those in the private security industry and also children of public safety officials. Since that time the AIFF has given out tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships to worthy students. The application window opens each year September 15 and closes December 15. The Board of trustees reviews these applications in the blind and awards these each year at our annual conference.

ANNUAL CONFERENCE: The AAF has, during the course of its existence, produced an annual business conference for its members. These have been in a variety of formats and locations over the years ranging from full blown industry trade shows to modest business conferences for training and General Assembly. We produce these with an eye on the bottom line and adapt according to the financial times and the competition here in this wonderful state. It seems everyone wants to produce a conference in Florida. Our long range plan is to be the ultimate provider of a high end electronics trade show geared to all aspects of the electrical, electronics, security and fire industries. Maintaining a strong show presence with limited and changing resources is tenuous. Having relevant products and information for the industry will obviously boost that presence significantly.

NEW LIABILITY INSURANCE PROGRAM: Your AAF Board of Directors set out a plan at our summer conference to develop for our members and industry contractors a liability insurance program second to none in the state. It is now here; available to you today. As an AAF member you will receive up to a 10% premium discount. In addition for those who wish to receive this benefit you may join or ‘rejoin’ at this time and receive a 14 month membership for the cost of an annual renewal rate to take advantage of this program.

This is an “A” rated program including General Liability, Professional Errors and Omissions and Umbrella Liability Insurance from Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London. This also includes experienced underwriting, tailored forms and superior service through Merrill Insurance. Over time our members will be contacted by Merrill Insurance to explain the merits of the program. Expect to hear from them regarding these excellent services.

An insurance link is now available on the AAF web page at the following (click here). You will be linked to the portal at Merrill insurance for connection to their representatives to start the process.  Your Alarm Association of Florida works very hard for the members and industry representatives in the state. This is one more advantageous benefit you will receive nowhere else in the industry.

Act now and contact the program to start the process. Call or click NOW.

LEGISLATION: The AAF is the sole industry trade organization with a full time lobbyist and staff to serve the members in the state of Florida. Our lobbyist serves also as our Board attorney and works full time in Tallahassee monitoring the legislature activities year round. He promotes effective industry legislation while opposing harmful statutory proposals. The AAF took an active role in establishing the first statewide alarm dispatch call standards in 2006 which were signed into law by Governor Jeb Bush. With the endorsement of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Florida Police Chiefs Association and the Florida Sheriffs Association, the AAF put into law a second call to confirm alarm dispatches thereby eliminating a firm 40% of calls for service as unnecessary. This has resulted in a literal savings of millions of dollars in calls for police service.

In addition we have built solid statutes that support the industry through the years to increase protections for the consumer, public safety and contractors. That and the annual monitoring of all industry issues have contributed positively toward maintaining a solid legal standing for the alarm community, for Public Safety and for the public.

INDUSTRY AFFILIATIONS: The AAF Board of Directors decided in 2003 under the guidance of then state President Bob Worthy that industry outreach was one of the best ways to lay a foundation of relationships and maintain presence. The effort was to promote both education and training as well as industry standards. What transpired was astounding. Today the AAF members are represented to some twenty (20) different trade associations at the state and national level. Among these are: The International Association of Chiefs of Police (Private Sector Liaison Committee); the National Sheriff’s Association (Outreach Committee); the American Society for Industrial Security (Private Sector Liaison Council); Florida Sheriff’s Association (Cadet Scholarship Sponsor); The Florida Police Chief’s Association (Public/Private Partnership Committee- Alarm Management Sub-Committee); the Florida Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association; The National Fire Sprinkler Association, The Florida Fire Sprinkler Association; the Construction Coalition of Florida; Associated Builders and Contractors; Business Industry Consulting Service International (BICSI); National Fire Protection Association; Florida Underwriters Business Association; Construction Licensing Officials Association of Florida; Florida Homebuilders Association; Florida Fire Equipment Association; Building Officials Association of Florida; Florida Pool and Spa Association; Florida Fire Chiefs Association; Florida Swimming Pool Association; Building Industry Association; Central Station Alarm Association

LONG TERM GOALS: As the AAF completes its 46th year we are proud of the accomplishments we have achieved. Through good times and bad our members have continued to support us and we appreciate the efforts of the many volunteers who have served to achieve those goals without compensation. They have given back to the industry and provided for those around them without expectation of reward.

However we are not done. We have much work ahead. We must increase members’ services in education and representation in government. We need better participation through membership growth. Statewide outreach is an excellent opportunity for us to provide for the members a valuable service that will in turn increase membership and participation of the individuals so badly needed for the work ahead.

It would be a dream accomplished if we could establish a self-regenerating educational trust for scholarships. This would also serve to create career pathways for our next security generation and insure the future of the industry. It would also be a goal achieved if our annual conference and show could increase training opportunities exponentially through our manufacturers and distributors.

SUMMATION: The Alarm Association of Florida through its 46 years is directly involved directly not only in the security industry, but also the business community and government. This group is the ONLY trade association representing the security and low voltage industry in Florida in many ways with a professional staff and member participation. Please contact us if we may provide you with additional information of any kind.

Bob Neely

Executive Director

Alarm Association of Florida