American Alarms Blog

Increased Review/Permit Fees For Fire Alarms in Des Moines

by Adam Jacobs 9/18/2021

The Des Moines Fire Department announced 3 weeks ago that they would be increasing the fees to submit, review, and obtain a permit for all fire alarm systems and fire sprinkler systems in the city of Des Moines.  These new fees will be effective September 1st, 2014.  The fees will go from $150.00 flat fee on all projects, to a graduated fee schedule based on effected area of the project.  The minimum fee, for projects 10,000 square feet and less, will now be $300.00.  Attached is the full schedule of fees, based on square footage.  We will pay these fees, just like in the past, but will include the increased fees in all estimates/bids for work.  Please make sure you pass along the fees to your customer (general contractor or building owner) also.  Thanks.

 

Permit Fee Sched City of DSM - Aug 2014.pdf (416.18 kb)

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What is the REAL cost?

by Adam Jacobs 9/18/2021

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?

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Des Moines is becoming the "no coast" tech hub

by Adam Jacobs 9/18/2021

The Des Moines Partnership just published a great article about WHY Des Moines is growing faster than almost anywhere else, when it comes to tech companies and workers in these fields.  As a business owner that relies on other businesses, and workers that understand technology, I have enjoyed seeing this growth in the Des Moines area.  Here's a link to article, in case you didn't catch it.

 

https://www.dsmpartnership.com/news-media/blog/3-reasons-dsm-usa-is-a-tech-hub

 

If you look for it, you can find something local for all of your technology needs.

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Building Automation and Fire Alarms

by Adam Jacobs 9/18/2021

What if you could have the ability to network many or all of your building systems onto one network?  What if your HVAC systems talked to your fire alarm system and your access control system?  Well, this is possible.  BACnet, which is short for Building Automation and Control Network, allows communication between different types of systems on the same network.   To see an overview of how it works, click here: www.mircom.com/bacnet

 

For a complete list of vendors that use BACnet, go here: www.bacnet.org

 

 

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Does every building need a fire alarm?

by Adam Jacobs 9/18/2021

I thought our area had some strict fire codes...until I read this article from Sweden.  The local officials there want the ice hotel, made entirely of frozen water, to have fire alarms!  Check out the full article at newsfeed.time.com

 

 

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July Sale on Wireless Fire Alarm

by Adam Jacobs 9/18/2021

CWSI, who makes the most reliable wireless fire alarm systems anywhere, announced a sale on all initiating devices.  This includes pull stations, smoke detectors (with or without sounder), heat detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors.  These are not old models or used devices, all devices are current model and brand new in the box.  Because of this sale, American Alarms is offering 15% - 30% off your new wireless system (depending on exact design).  This is ONLY for the month of July.  If you're close to a decision on your new wireless system, and you can get us your order by July 31st, you can save up to 30% off the total.

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Get to Know Mircom Technologies Ltd.

by Adam Jacobs 9/18/2021

Our premier partner for building technologies is Mircom Group.  They are North America's largest independent manufacturer of building systems technologies.  Here's a short video from their president Mark Falbo.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nud9N8aePxg&feature=em-subs_digest

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What is the REAL cost?

by Adam Jacobs 9/18/2021

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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Pull station without wires

by Adam Jacobs 9/18/2021

Most people who have heard a fire alarm activate, knows what a pull station is.  But did you know that you can have this safety feature without wires?  So even in areas where wiring is a challenge, or you're preserving a historic building, you can have pull stations to indicate a fire so occupants can evacuate.  CWSI by Johnson Controls makes wireless pull stations, smoke detectors, heat detectors, fire transmitters, and CO detectors that can allow fire detection and alarm in challenging places.   

 

Photo by Jared Reese

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Understanding CCTV and all its parts

by Adam Jacobs 9/18/2021

CCTV, first of all, stands for "Closed Circuit Television".  Although the acronym is a bit antiquated, the systems and their purpose are as relevant as ever.  Our customers are looking for ways to SEE what's going on.  Whether it's for security at night, to cut down customer (or even employee) theft, or for peace of mind when your gone on vacation, video security is a solution we go to for answers.  With all of the options out there now - high-end IP systems, DIY systems, internet kits, etc. - you have to know WHY you are buying the system.  These are the questions you need to ask yourself when looking at CCTV option:

What do I want to see?  This will help you decide how many cameras, what angles, how much light, etc.

What detail (resolution) do I need? This will help you set your budget, because a camera's price is based largely on resolution (pixels).

*** This answer may also determine whether you can do wireless cameras, or you need wired cameras for higher resolution.

How do I want to see it?  PC monitor in my home/office, smart phone app, website app, etc.

Do I want any video stored?  If so, you'll need a DVR on site, or a subscription to an off-site storage service.

 

Once you know these answers, you'll be ready to start comparing systems to find the one that fits your needs.

Call us, if you have more questions.

 

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