"98 percent of alarms are false."

"Our city is turning to a no-response policy."

"15 percent of our police resources are wasted on false dispatches."

"We are enacting verified response."

"Salt Lake City has successfully implemented verified response."

These very powerful words are influencing and challenging the security and fire alarm industry in today's marketplace. Each delivers dissimilar reactions from dealers, manufacturers, distributors, and third-party monitoring stations, depending on their viewpoints. When these few, yet dangerously crafted words are used to erroneously characterize our industry, it becomes increasingly obvious that this industry must take stock of its strategies and principles to forge strong alliances with each other, proactively articulating to the general public the intrinsic value of the services we provide on a 24/7 basis.

In almost every state, and almost every major metropolitan city, our industry is under fire for allegedly being wrong 98 percent of the time. Well, I am mad as hell and I will not take it anymore, and neither should you.

Our purpose is to keep people and property safe – safe from the threat of crime and fire. It is called public safety. For the homeowners, businesses and government facilities that possess and regularly use security or fire systems, little or no explanation is needed for their stated value. Yet those who doubt the usefulness of security technology should reconsider their contrarian analysis of the inherent value of electronic deterrent and detection systems and erroneous assumptions that these systems are a drain on police and fire service resources. Professionally installed and maintained intrusion, access control, camera surveillance and fire systems in airports, schools, churches, grocery stores, banks, movie theaters, hospitals, government facilities and businesses are allowing these locations to be far safer than ever before, allowing the public to freely live, work and play with a high degree of confidence. Moreover, how would each of us feel if our loved ones and assets were at risk to the constant threat of crime and fire? These systems are protecting lives and property that are priceless.

The security and fire industry has its place – an important and valuable place. It is a place that allows us to augment the police and fire services that have limited resources to perform the incredible task of keeping the public safe from the threat of crime and fire.

Get this message out: the security and fire industry is 100 percent dedicated in keeping you, your loved ones and your assets safe – period.

This industry should be proud of its accomplishments. It is critical that we develop a message and a strategy that is positive, proactive and meaningful, enhancing the perception so clearly tarnished by misconceptions, innuendoes, and false alarms. This industry needs consolidation of thought, attitude and shared aims. This industry needs a unified mission statement that demonstrates our dedication to public safety. For without public safety our lives would be enormously different.

Editor's Note: SDM wants to hear your opinion on this and other issues that affect the electronic security industry. If you have a strong viewpoint that you'd like to share with your peers, contact the editor: Laura Stepanek, SDM Editor, 1050 IL Route 83, Bensenville, IL 60106; tele. (630)694-4027; FAX (630)227-0214; e-mail stepanekl@bnpmedia.com. The editors will consider all serious submissions.