Building Capabilities with the AFAA

Security Fire Alarm Monitoring

National Monitoring Center (NMC) works closely with the Automatic Fire Alarm Association (AFAA) to ensure our staff members are well-informed about fire safety advancements. In addition, we provide critical information about real-life circumstances that help the AFAA improve and enhance its programs and initiatives.


Just like other security sub-categories, fire safety precautions are improved through the widespread use of technology. As a monitoring service, NMC is at the forefront of fire detection thanks to our on-going relationship with the AFAA. AFAA training and support means that our staff members are able to understand how to interpret and respond to the various signals that fire detection systems emit.


The AFAA also has a key role in fire detection and prevention ordinance development. As a local security provider, you know how challenging it can be when different communities have different laws that govern fire detection. In addition, you know how dangerous it is when local ordinances don’t do enough to protect citizens from fire.


The AFAA and NMC work together to ensure that your fire prevention installations exceed current and near-future ordinances. No client wants to spend thousands of dollars to protect major assets only to find that the installation is out-of-date within the year. NMC works with the AFAA to remain well-aware of the local and state laws that are changing so that your installations exceed your client’s expectations.

Technology and Industry Convergence

technology convergence security monitoring

The use of technology to drive progress in the security industry creates several weaknesses. As consumer technology continues to expand, security providers will have to answer to customers who both insist on simplicity but demand security. The security industry is converging with other industries (like app builders) and everyday new players join in the mix of people who have a say in the supply chain for security products and services.


The use of hardware and software that can affect security should be treated like the chain of evidence in a criminal case. Any breach in that chain can mean contamination. Unfortunately, end-users (especially personal-use consumers) don’t think about how the various players can impede security.


Cell phones, for example, are becoming an all-in-one device. In the very near future, a measurable percent of consumers won’t be using credit cards or cash to make purchases. Most consumer purchase power will be imbedded in the software and hardware built into phones. The same trend is true for security options like keys, remote entry fobs, and access codes.


Security providers have to follow suit or get left behind. Unfortunately, there are major security questions when an individual’s phone can control everything from the the light in the attic to the garage door. And while you might do everything you can help prevent the phone from being compromised, one single piece of malware downloaded by a hapless consumer can mean a major breach in security.


National Monitoring Center (NMC) will help you stay informed about any new and trending security problems. As your monitoring service, we can provide the necessary support to ensure that the technology you install remains secure for your end consumers.

Fire Alarm Installation and the AHJ

fire alarm system california

When creating a fire alarm installation and inspection plan, contact National Monitoring Center (NMC) to help guide you through the possible variables based on the local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ). Every jurisdiction is unique and the more research you perform prior to the inspection, the less likely you will encounter surprises that delay building code approvals.


Start by collecting information from the building owners, system designers, general contractors, and architects. Any one of these key players may claim to be the final authority on any necessary steps for fire alarm installation, however, each is likely to have a limited perspective based on its original role. Generally, this initial step is the most time-consuming. Once you’ve compiled the information from each stakeholder, compare their suggestions and look for gaps and variations.


As the security firm selected for the fire alarm installation, the client may expect you to be the final authority before submitting the plan to the AHJ. Any mis-steps could undermine your authority and ultimately deteriorate your chances of retaining the client. As your monitoring authority, NMC can review your plan and help avoid any errors in the plan for AHJ approval.


Frequently, if the building is new, the owner or architect will hire an outside fire system designer. NMC is well-qualified to handle the complexity of opinions when a fire system expert joins the team. Frequently, they have a close relationship with the AHJ. NMC can act as a go-between juggling the opinions of all the key stakeholders.


Working with the AHJ for fire alarm approval is a complicated process. Even with a properly installed system, the AHJ can delay the building’s approval for use, angering the owners, the tenants, and the other key stakeholders.

Community Improvements Improve Sales

community watch security monitoring

As a community-based security broker, getting involved in neighborhood concerns is one major avenue toward finding referrals and building sales. While many security firms find community involvement through neighborhood watch programs, you might find additional success in joining neighborhood improvement groups. National Monitoring Center (NMC) can help you connect with community programs thanks to our relationships with police forces around the country.


Local police forces know that neighborhoods undergoing gentrification need additional support. As young couples move into affordable neighborhoods, they often become the target for burglars. These new homeowners know that the more-affordable neighborhoods may not be as safe as upscale locations. Often they will work with the local police to coordinate neighborhood improvements in an effort to deter crime.


To start, these groups will need help fixing city facilities such as streetlights and road conditions. As a local business, you have greater pull with city politicians and municipal services. Overgrown shrubs, hanging tree branches, and excessive litter can all be solved through public services. Join forces with a group of residents to help change the baseline appearance.


You can also reach out to other business owners to find donations to improve curb appeal. Studies show that when curb appeal increases, crime decreases. Burglars want to avoid detection, and in well-kept areas they stand out. Find a locally-owned hardware store (or franchise) that wants to discount or donate supplies such as mulch, fencing, and saplings. These business owners also become ideal candidates for commercial security sales.


Some of the most needy residents may be the elderly. Contact a non-profit focused on helping the elderly maintain an excellent quality of life. Once you’ve involved the police, other business owners, and local non-profits, you’ve become a true sponsor of a neighborhood clean-up effort.


Every neighborhood deserves to be safe and secure. Although basic homeowner security packages might not be your targeted sale, customers in emerging areas are ideal for new salespeople looking to build a list of young clientele.

Don’t Get Too Close to the Businesses

security monitoring customer service

As you likely know, National Monitoring Center (NMC) is a contract monitoring service. You do the sales and installation, and we provide you with the monitoring systems. You’re the dealer. We’re the third party monitoring company.


Although this system may be obvious to you, to your potential clients, it’s not. They do not know the difference between how you serve your clients and how the big names, like ADT, serve their clients. (Potential clients might not even understand that there are companies, like casinos and banks, that invest in an in-house staff.)


Teaching your sales team how to explain these differences will boost sales. Sales teams often get, “too close to the business.” They don’t realize that a potential client doesn’t have a working knowledge of the security industry. And while you might be sending out down-to-earth, no-pressure salespeople, They can still appear to be pushy when they don’t take the necessary time to explain security fim differences. No one likes to admit to feeling confused during a sales pitch; so if the potential client is lost, so is the sale.


As a dealer, your biggest competitor is likely to be one of the big firms. They have the brand recognition necessary to land accounts with name-recognition alone. In order to compete with that kind of brand marketing, you have to explain to clients how and why a contract monitoring center, like NMC, is better.


NMC provides your clients with a focused team of security professionals continually undergoing training. We are not a mass employer putting bodies in the monitoring seats to simply fulfill contractual obligations.


Encourage your sales teams to acknowledge the size of the big names in security. Liken those services to other big brands in other industries. And then ask who is more likely to care about the individual client. More often than not, clients will come around thanks to the personalized services you provide.

IT and Security for the Small Business Owner

small business security

Although the conflicts between IT and physical security might be a well-worn topic within the security industry, the owners of growing businesses are likely to stumble when they encounter this issue for the first time. And when they do, they will turn to you for help and guidance. National Monitoring Center (NMC) can give assistance in showing your clients how to successfully merge the two departments and increase security in doing so.


When a small business is very small — fewer than 20 employees — information technology and business security have very little overlap. The physical security is handled by an outside firm, like yours, while the IT department is run by one or two people busy with installing software on broken laptops. Eventually, the small business gets bigger and issues such as information security and video surveillance begin the blur the lines between the “IT guy” and front-door security.


The business owner will turn to you with questions such as, “Are we safe from hackers accessing our internal records?” and “Can we track employee movement in and out of the building?” Of course, most of these issues will lead you directly back to the company’s IT department. Unfortunately, the IT staffers in a small business will already feel overwhelmed with their level of work. And they might take offense to the implication that the company needs your help to keep data safe.


Proceed slowly when addressing these issues with the IT department. Give the IT staff plenty of room to speak their mind and express concerns about an outside security firm interfering with internal issues. Keep in mind, you don’t have to prove them wrong. You already know that you can integrate well with their systems, but give the IT department some time to adjust. These kinds of operational improvements can be a significant opportunity for you to increase revenue per client. You already know this is a sensitive issue. Having a discreet conversation with the CEO or COO before and after meetings with IT can help you secure the client and remove any chance of direct conflict.


Small businesses are valuable clients. They are the most likely to grow rapidly and need ever-expanding services. And small businesses are the most likely place for you to find referrals. Learning to manage the conflict that arises with small business IT staffers will ultimately help you expand your client base and increase your revenue streams.