American Alarms Blog

Occupational Licensing - Alarm Contractors

by Adam Jacobs 9/15/2020

In the 1950's only 5% of workers in America needed a license to do their job.  Today it's estimated that 19% of all workers in the U.S. need an occupational license.  Workers who install, program, test/inspect, and service fire alarm systems are in that 19%.  For at least the last 10 years, the Iowa Department of Public Safety, State Fire Marshal's Division, has required anyone wanting to work on fire alarm systems to get a license first.  Here are the different levels (endorsements) of licensing required for fire alarm in Iowa:

#1 = Fire alarm system contractor or installer (all-inclusive, 2-7 not needed)

Allows the license holder to do anything related to fire alarm systems - install, test/inspect, service, and program.

#2 = Nurse call systems only

#3 = Security alarms only

#4 = Alarm system maintenance/inspection only

#5 = Dwelling unit alarm system only (Residential)

#6 = Alarm system component installer only

Allows license holder to hang devices, but not to program or test the system.

#7 = Alarm system assistant (must be supervised by #1 license holder)

 

In order to get each of these licenses, you need to be pre-certified using an approved training/testing course:

NICET II Fire Alarm Systems or ESA Certified Alarm Tech 2 = #1 State License

NICET I Fire Alarm Systems or ESA Certified Alarm Tech 1 = #2-#7 only

 

In addition to certification, before getting the Iowa license, we must also go through a complete criminal background check including fingerprinting.

To make sure you get a qualified alarm technician, ask to see the technician's State of Iowa license.  They should have a card with the state seal and a list of endorsements.  If their endorsements don't match what they have come to do for you, question them (or flog them) rigorously.  The state fire marshal doesn't have time to run around and check everyone's license, but you should.  Your safety and that of your co-workers, customers, and visitors are in their hands.  

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What is the REAL cost?

by Adam Jacobs 9/15/2020

Whenever I get into a discussion with a customer about the cost of our products or services, we eventually get to the REAL cost of doing business with someone who does not do EVERYTHING possible to protect the customer.  What do I mean?  Here are some of the things American Alarms does to make sure our customers don't get into regulatory, legal, or even life-threatening danger.

- We buy products that we trust, we use, and have the best guarantees/warranties we can find.  When a system is designed for your life safety and/or security, you want parts that are as reliable as possible.

- We buy as many products from LOCAL manufacturers and vendors as we can and still offer the products our customers want.  This takes extra time and effort to seek out sometimes, but it's worth it to us.  It makes me feel good to know I can jump in the car and drive to this vendor's office in less than a day if needed.

- We spend thousands of dollars every year on technical and administrative training for our employees.  We feel this is a great investment in the people that we depend upon every day.

- We make sure EVERY field technician that touches a customer's system is trained, certified, and licensed to do what they are doing.  If we didn't, we may never get caught, but we like to sleep at night.

- We use contracts/agreements written by the best ALARM INDUSTRY attorney in the country.  This protects us AND our customers, so we can both be around for a long time.

- We carry DOUBLE the insurance that most customers request.  Our carrier has us in the proper classification so that claims won't be denied.  We have a "fire protection" specialist at our carrier that understands our business, lingo, and negotiates claims on our behalf.  We've had one claim in the last 10 years and that claim was proven "unfounded" and was never paid.

- We take responsibility for our mistakes and we fix them, even if we lose money short-term.  We have never walked away from a project just because we underestimated the cost.  I can't promise we'll never make mistakes, we're human, but we'll own up to that mistake and make it right.

 

If your alarm company (or any vendor) can't say they do all of these things, are you really comparing costs equally?

 

What is the REAL cost of doing business with that company?

| To the top |

What is the REAL cost?

by Adam Jacobs 9/15/2020

Whenever I get into a discussion with customer about the cost of our products or services, we eventually get to the REAL cost of doing business with someone who does not do EVERYTHING possible to protect the customer.  What do I mean?  Here are some of the things American Alarms does to make sure our customers don't get into regulatory, legal, or even life-threatening danger.

- We buy products that we trust, we use, and have the best guarantees/warranties we can find.  When a system is designed for your life safety and/or security, you want parts that are as reliable as possible.

- We buy as many products from LOCAL manufacturers and vendors as we can and still offer the products our customers want.  This takes extra time and effort to seek out sometimes, but it's worth it to us.

- We spend thousands of dollars every year on technical and administrative training for our employees.  We feel this is a great investment in the people that we depend upon every day.

- We make sure EVERY field technician that touches a customer's system is trained, certified, and licensed to do what they are doing.  If we didn't, we may never get caught, but we like to sleep at night.

- We use contracts/agreements written by the best ALARM INDUSTRY attorney in the country.  This protects us AND our customers, so we can both be around for a long time.

- We carry DOUBLE the insurance that most customers request.  Our carrier has us in the proper classification so that claims son't be denied.  We have a "fire protection" specialist at our carrier that understands our business, lingo, and negotiates claims on our behalf.  We've had one claim in the last 10 years and that claim was proven "unfounded" and was never paid.

- We take responsibility for our mistakes and we fix them, even if we lose money short-term.  We have never walked away from a project just because we underestimated the cost.  I can't promise we'll never make mistakes, we're human, but we'll own up to that mistake and make it right.

 

If your alarm company (or any vendor) can't say they do all of these things, are you really comparing costs equally?

 

What is the REAL cost of doing business with that company?

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