NFPA 72: Action Needed Now from Alarm Industry

A Message from CSAA Standards Committee Chair Steve Shapiro:

Steve Shapiro

Steve Shapiro

One of the most important challenges facing CSAA members in the near future is the issue of NFPA 72, the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. In 2015, language favorable to our industry was removed from the 2016 code revision.

Our next chance to affect change in the code is the 2019 revision. That seems a long way away, but in fact, activity is already happening on this revision, and CSAA members need to take action now so that our concerns are heard. The deadline for submitting public input for the 2019 edition of NFPA 72 is June 29, 2016.

Please review the 2016 edition (it is free to read online, though you need to create a profile if you are not an NFPA member) and send feedback as soon as possible to Dr. Shane Clary, chair of the CSAA Public Sector Liaison Committee subcommittee on Fire, at and to me at , with a CC to We will review your suggestions and propose recommendations that members should submit via the NFPA web portal by June 29.

Your action is needed now! Thank you.

Steve Shapiro
Chair, CSAA Standards Committee

CSAA Education Program Answers Members’ Demand for Up-to-Date Operator Training

Revised Level One Operator Training Course to Launch in 2016

More than 20,000 people in 30+ countries have registered for CSAA Online Training. CSAA members have been clamoring for the all-important Level 1 Online Operator Training course to be updated to reflect today’s central station environment. That demand is about to be answered as CSAA prepares for the launch of the revised course in summer 2016.

Watch our video summary below. 

“Education is one of the CSAA programs that brings the most value to members, and one of our most important focus areas,” said CSAA Executive Director Jay Hauhn. “With the coming launch of the revised course, CSAA has made great strides in providing education opportunities that are of value to our members and their employees.”

The Level 1 review and revision began some 18 months ago and resulted in a complete reorganization of all the course content. The original plan to simply correct dated content was changed when it became apparent that both the content and the student interface were in need of overhaul.

The new modules are:

  1. Industry Overview
  2. Code of Excellence
  3. The Alarm Process
  4. Effective Communication
  5. Technology and Professional Monitoring
  6. Automated Security Alarm Protocol (ASAP)
  7. NRTLs and Industry Standards
  8. Disaster Preparedness

 “The first two modules have been updated to reflect the current industry and to emphasize the importance of professionalism and integrity in the Central Station,” said CSAA Education Committee Co-Chair Teresa Gonzalez, President, UCC. “Modules 4 and 6 on communication have been combined and renamed Effective Communication. In addition to a complete update of the Technology module, a separate module on ASAP has been added. Revision recommendations were incorporated from ETL, FM Approvals and UL for Module 7.  And Module 8 on Emergency Procedures was revised and renamed Disaster Preparedness.”


Course Capture

To see the CSAA members who generously have given their time and expertise to the Level 1 revision project, check out your Summer 2016 issue of CSAA Dispatch. Stay tuned for updates on the launch date of the course later this summer.

Act by August 1: Annual AICC Communications Survey

AICC Chair Louis T. Fiore has issued a call for participation in the annual AICC Communications Survey. The results of the survey assist the AICC in planning messaging and strategy for legislative efforts involving Congress and the FCC.

This survey, now in its fifth year, focuses on the percentages of monitored accounts using POTS (plain old telephone systems), VoIP digital dialers (DACT), or other technologies either as a sole method of transmission or in conjunction with another technology. The ten-question survey will take no more than a few minutes to complete.

Survey participation is not limited to AICC or CSAA members. Industry-wide input will strengthen the findings. Input is anonymous and individual answers will be kept confidential.

Results will be presented at the September 2016 AICC meeting.

AICC: Wireless Disaster Resilience and Information Sharing Proposal

AICCLogofullcolorWireless Industry Seeks to Avoid Unwanted Regulation Following System Failures after Superstorm Sandy

On April 28, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau issued a Public Notice seeking comment on the ex parte presentation made by wireless providers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and Verizon, together with CTIA, in which they announce a “Wireless Resiliency Cooperative Framework” described as “a voluntary initiative that will enhance coordination and communication to advance wireless service continuity and information sharing during and after emergencies and disasters.”

In the letter, the carriers detail a five-pronged approach to enhance industry coordination to “facilitate greater network resiliency and faster restoration of service” which they assert will “obviate the need for legislative action or inflexible rules that could have unintended consequences.”  Specifically, the five prongs include: (1) providing for reasonable roaming under disaster arrangements when technically feasible; (2) fostering mutual aid during emergencies; (3) enhancing municipal preparedness and restoration; (4) increasing consumer readiness and preparation; and (5) improving public awareness and stakeholder communications on service and restoration status.  Under each prong, the carriers provide specific actions that they will undertake designed to “enhance coordination among wireless carriers and all key stakeholders, improving information sharing and making wireless network resiliency more robust.”

The Disaster Resilience Proposal is clearly an effort by the wireless industry to avoid unwanted regulation in the wake of notorious system failures after Superstorm Sandy and other recent disasters. Since many alarm companies rely on the existing cellular network for customer premise alarm radios, as well as communications with field personnel, this matter is of obvious interest to the alarm industry. Since the FCC is fond of adopting “industry consensus” proposals on thorny issues that draw a lot of public complaint (such as network outages), AICC and alarm providers should review the proposed approach to see if it is something that they can live with (or if it instead ignores the need for protecting and rapidly restoring wireless alarm operations).

Opposition comments, or suggestions on how to remedy any shortfalls in the industry proposal, can be submitted to the FCC. AICC is planning on providing feedback on this matter to the FCC by the end of June.  Please contact CSAA Counsel John Prendergast at if you have any concerns to include in such comments.

Rapid Response is the 2016 CSAA Central Station of the Year

Vivint and Vector Also Honored at ESX on June 9
CSAA is pleased to announce the four winners of the 2016 Excellence Awards:

Central Station of the Year
Rapid Response Monitoring Services, Inc.
Central Station Manager of the Year
Michelle Lindus, Vivint Smart Home

Central Station Operator
of the Year
Amy Cerney, Vivint Smart Home

Central Station Support Person of the Year
David Carter, Vector Security, Inc.

Excellence Winners with Pam June 2016

From left: Vivint’s Amy Cerney and Michelle Lindus, CSAA President Pam Petrow, Rapid Response President Jeff Atkins, and representing Vector’s David Carter, Vector Central Station Manager Sal Calafato following the presentation of the 2016 Excellence Awards. Photo by Elizabeth Lasko.


Rapid Response’s core belief is three-pronged: people, training, and technology. The Excellence Awards judges determined that this outstanding company proved to deserve the spot at the pinnacle of our industry. Rapid’s application detailed extensive plans for disaster recovery, false alarm reduction, education and training, technology innovation, customer relations, and community outreach efforts including charitable activities. Its leaders are heavily involved in bettering the industry through volunteering with industry associations to advance important issues such as standards, public sector engagement, and legislation.

Michelle Lindus is Central Station Manager at Vivint, where she leads a team of 140. She participated in the establishment of Vivint’s HOME Quality Service policy to ensure world-class customer service and heads the team that specializes in false alarm reduction. A perpetual student who is always reading, researching and testing new ideas, Michelle has a passion for service in the alarm industry that compels her to work holidays alongside her team and volunteer her off time to CSAA education programs.

David Carter is East Central Station Tech Support Leader at Vector, where he started in 1997 as an operator in data entry. He is a key member of the Disaster Recovery Team and excels at quickly troubleshooting and solving phone carrier issues. Always striving to expand his knowledge, David is known for his willingness to travel to other sites for technical projects and to stand in as an operator or tech support representative whenever needed, and for his commitment to ensuring no piece of equipment ever fails.

Amy Cerney has been a Monitoring Representative at Vivint for ten years. Her responses are frequently featured in company-wide reports of exceptional service; she ably mentors new representatives; and is known as a comforting voice of calm for customers. She is a shining example of Vivint’s and the security industry’s core values to protect lives – last year, she donated a kidney to save the life of a Vivint co-worker.

The CSAA Central Station Excellence Awards recognize any FM Approvals, Intertek/ETL or UL-listed central station (CSAA members and non-members) and outstanding personnel who perform in the highest professional manner, thereby making a significant contribution to the betterment of the alarm industry and the alarm profession while demonstrating exceptional service to their customers and community.

The purpose of the awards program is to:

  • Establish and promote the inherent value of central station services in general.
  • Honor those who have made the most significant contributions to the service.
  • Promote the distinct level of professionalism attained by NRTL-approved central stations.

The CSAA Central Station Excellence Awards Program is sponsored by SDM Magazine.

Entries are judged by a blue-ribbon judging panel appointed by CSAA. The four winners were announced at the 2016 Industry Excellence Awards Breakfast at ESX in Fort Worth on Thursday, June 9. For past winners and more information, visit



Chief Harlin McEwen is Recipient of 2016 CSAA Public Sector Award

Chief Harlin McEwen is the recipient of CSAA’s 2016 Public Sector Award. This special honor is given by CSAA in recognition of a public sector individual’s contribution to the alarm industry. He will be presented with the award at the 2016 Electronic Security Expo (ESX) Public Sector Luncheon on Thursday, June 9, at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

Harlin McEwen headshot June 2016

Chief Harlin McEwen at the June 2, 2016 meeting of the Alarm Industry Communications Committee at which he briefed members on FirstNet developments. Photo by Elizabeth Lasko.

“It is our pleasure to recognize Chief McEwen for his tireless efforts to advance the relationship between monitoring companies and our partners in the public sector,” said CSAA President Pamela J. Petrow.

Chief McEwen served for 13 years as the Chief of Police for the Cayuga Heights, New York Police Department before moving on to serve as the Deputy Commissioner for the NY State Division of Criminal Justice Services. He later returned to police work, serving as the Chief of Police for the City of Ithaca, NY, before taking the position of Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI.

In addition, he served for more than 37 years as the Chairman of the International Association of Chiefs  of Police (IACP) Communications & Technology Committee. During that time he was the principle representative and spokesperson for the IACP on matters relating to Communications & Technology. For this ongoing work, in 2000, the IACP honored him with a presentation of the first (and only) Lone Star Distinguished Award, and in 2006 he was elected as IACP Honorary President.

McEwen has also served as a distinguished Member of the Executive Steering Committee of the Global Advisory Committee, a Federal advisory group to the U.S. Attorney General. The GAC has been responsible for the development and implementation of numerous innovative justice information sharing standards and programs.

Since 2012 he has served as the Chair of the FirstNet Public Safety Advisory Committee. In this role he is leading the efforts of the 42-member PSAC to interact with the FirstNet Board and staff and the nationwide public safety community to develop and implement a new Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Wireless Network.

McEwen played a critical role in the launch of CSAA’s ASAP program and has worked tirelessly in its promotion.

“I am deeply honored with being selected for this prestigious award and have enjoyed working with the members of the Central Station Alarm Association for many years,” said McEwen.  “The continued close working relationship between the public safety community and CSAA is resulting in greatly improved public safety services to the public.”


The award recipient must be nominated by one or more CSAA members in good standing. Two CSAA Past Presidents, Lou Fiore and Jay Hauhn, put McEwen’s name forward for consideration. Fiore noted that, “An essential component of ASAP is its connection to the Nlets network. Chief McEwen was instrumental in bringing CSAA’s ASAP program together with Nlets.”

“Chief McEwen’s leadership of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet)’s Public Safety Advisory Committee, and his commitment to engaging the alarm industry in FirstNet’s activities, has been critical to the advancement of our relationship with FirstNet and our favorable positioning for the future,” said Hauhn.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Lasko at CSAA, 703-242-4670 or



CSAA’s Hauhn Joins ESA, ADT in Warning of Deceptive Alarm Sales Practices

On May 25, CSAA Executive Director Jay Hauhn participated in a press event in Salt Lake City to raise awareness of deceptive home security sales practices. The event was co-hosted by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and ADT. Merlin Gilbeau, executive director of ESA, also spoke at the event, which featured two individuals who had been the target of sales scams relating their stories to the media. Hauhn and Gilbeau both spoke about the deep integrity of the vast number of security companies.

In 2015, consumer complaints about home security sales ranked in the top 25 of the 3500 business categories BBB tracks. CSA members can share BBB tips about buying a home security system with their potential customers; visit

Check out media coverage of the event at the links below.


WS of Room

ESA’s Merlin Gilbeau, CSAA’s Jay Hauhn, and BBB CEO Jane Driggs address the media. Photo by Bob Tucker.