“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”

Mark Twain – American Author and Humorist 1835-1910


At the time this is written it will have been posted on the AAF web site in plenty of time for action, so many will have been able to follow through. Unfortunately as you read this in hard copy the digital version will have pre-empted you. HOWEVER…

The reason for continuing to read this article will be self-evident. It continues a theme that more and more people are coming to realize is true. There are certainly some things that only government can do best. But there are other things that private industry can and should do as well.

Please read the following email sent to our AAF contractors, May 28, 2015 and at the end I will comment further on these issues:



As many contractors in the industry are aware there has been an ongoing battle in Illinois as to which entities may or may not monitor fire alarms. Some individual fire districts in Illinois have attempted a governmental takeover of the fire monitoring business and to close down private central station monitoring of these systems.


There have been huge, lengthy and costly law suits on the issue and each time the rulings have been in favor of private industry remaining as a viable business. HOWEVER, that could change as we see in the email below. Become involved with NFPA and vote on this issue. Otherwise this could spread nationwide. You have been forewarned. See the email received from Executive Director, Kevin Lehan in Illinois below:”


“All –

Alarm industry participants from across the nation are encouraged to help defeat two items by voting NEGATIVE on motions 72-8 and 72-9 during the NFPA meeting in Chicago on June 25. To be an eligible voting member of NFPA, you must have been a member as of December 24, 2014. The meeting starts at 8:00 am. To register for the technical committee meeting, click here.


The defeat of these motions is necessary due to a cluster of fire-service personnel in the Chicagoland area who filed Certified Amending Motions to rescind newly proposed language written during this revision cycle for the 2016 Edition that would clearly ALLOW Listed Central Stations to provide Remote Station Service.


Specifically, within the proposed final edition – which the IESA supports – is a paragraph which reads Alarm, supervisory and trouble signals SHALL be permitted to be received at a listed central supervising station.” 


Opponents of this code progress would remove SHALL and keep the word MAY, thus allowing the exclusion of a central station from being recognized as a remote station. This is occurring in some Chicago suburbs in which fire departments operate their own alarm-monitoring centers. In those communities, the AHJ designates a single remote station, typically operated by the AHJ itself, as “approved” under the Code and then REJECTS all forms of private fire-alarm monitoring, including monitoring via a listed central station. This eliminates all private competition and leaves the AHJ as the sole provider of a service.  


It is this sort of practice that has resulted in two federal lawsuits in the northern district of Illinois.


If you will be voting at the Chicago NFPA meeting in June, please contact me.



Motion Seq# 72-8

Certified Amending Motion: Accept Public Comment No. 140

Recommended Text if Motion Passes: When permitted by the Authority Having Jurisdiction, alarm, supervisory, and trouble signals shall be permitted to be received at a listed central supervising station

Recommended Text if Motion Fails: Alarm, supervisory, and trouble signals shall be permitted to be received at a listed central supervising station.


Motion Seq# 72-9

Certified Amending Motion: Accept Public Comment No. 192.

Recommended Text if Motion Passes:

The proposed new text ( is not recommended for inclusion in the 2016 edition of NFPA 72.

Recommended Text if Motion Fails: Alarm, supervisory, and trouble signals shall be permitted to be received at a listed central supervising station.



My best regards,


Kevin Lehan

Executive Director




First let’s analyze what is happening. As municipalities have less and less revenue with which to operate and less resources to bring to bear on community problems, they will look for any opportunity to increase revenue. What better way than to ‘go into the business’.

But look at the evolution of fire districts throughout the country. Fire responders today do a terrific job in public safety and education every single day saving lives and property. However recall the initial startup of fire districts in early communities in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut were a very ‘patch work quilt’ of coverages and insurers. Responders ONLY went to buildings that had their company insurer mark. Even if the fire house was next door to the burning building, if it did not bear the proper insurer logo the responders let it burn.

Fortunately for all of us, people with common sense developed a sound, organized system of fire houses, private insurers and industry technology to preserve and defend against catastrophe. It became evident that private companies performing installation, service and monitoring of security and fire systems was a solution to a problem. The problem being that once police officers started installing security systems and fire personnel started installing fire systems there was a HUGE potential for conflict of interest, corruption and poisonous money changing hands.

Imagine that your local police department decided to start selling, servicing and monitoring security systems? What possible motive would any customer have to purchase a system from a private contractor? There would be no competition and thus no incentive for the police department to ever offer a better product or enhanced service and certainly no choice for the consumer. If a burly detective insists that Mrs. Smith needs 20 motion units to protect her chicken farm who is she to argue?

Our systems, insurances and technologies have evolved over time to a great success. As we look into the future we see unlimited possibilities in the marketplace through private industry with proper governmental oversight and codified industrial standards. We certainly do NOT need the fox running the hen house which is exactly what the boys in Illinois insist we need. Sorry folks, this time we do NOT need the ‘Chicago Way’.

Get behind our industry; become involved at every level through membership in your associations; support standards organizations such as NFPA and others that are needed for self-regulation; and above all maintain your independence before government takes over your company and your life.

We wish the best possible for every single police and fire responder in this great country and thank them for their service. But please; let us do our jobs as well.

Bob Neely

Executive Director

Alarm Association of Florida