You hear this statement all the time in the media – “I never thought it could happen to me, but it did!” That statement is what this issue ofSDMis all about, and it concerns your customers’ life safety and security in an essential way.

It’s what John Dunton and Carol McKeen said after their carbon monoxide detector accurately indicated CO levels that were dangerously high in the bedroom where they were soundly sleeping last February. Keith Creamer, integrated systems sales consultant for American Alarm & Communications in Arlington, Mass., had the prescience and conviction of mind to make a strong case to his customers for adding monitored carbon monoxide detectors to their alarm system. Dunton said of Creamer’s sales efforts, “If he hadn’t pushed back at my reluctance to buy it, we wouldn’t have bought it, and we’d literally be dead.”

Their amazing story garnered the 2006 First Line of Defense Award, jointly sponsored by SDM and the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association. It is presented on page 70 of this issue. American Alarm will be honored at ISC West, April 5-7, in Las Vegas.

This year’s ISC West show will be, I think, packed with great happenings and news. Hopefully you’re planning to attend and take advantage of new types of displays on the exhibit floor, such as Urban Security – a show within a show. SDM’s contributing technology writer, David Engebretson, is on the educational track with his seminar, “VoIP and Alarm Transmission,” to be presented on April 5 at 3:00 p.m. For more information, contact David at

If you’ve been following Dave’s writing in our monthly department, Security NetWorkings, then you’ll know you can expect the same high-caliber content from Dave in person by attending his seminar. Plus, you’ll have a chance to ask Dave to autograph your copy of his book, Technician’s Guide to Networking for Security Systems. (For ordering information, see p. 120 of this issue.)

If you can’t travel to ISC West next month, SDM will be pleased to bring the show to you… in a virtual sense. Every day from April 1 through April 9, I will be providing a personal, daily account of the events and important developments taking place at ISC West, in a blog report. Please visit SDM’s Web site – before, during, and after the show – at I look forward to talking with you there about the most influential security show of 2006.


Beginning this month,SDMmagazine will bring you a series of articles that will explore many aspects of alarm management and dispatch issues. We kick off this series with key phrases, definitions and explanations of verified response, along with alternatives to it. Check out our new Monitoring Scorecard on page 52 of the Insider news section.


SDM’s annual Field Guide to DVRs is online at Get the latest on DVRs in a special publication that includes a technical overview, success stories, 20 questions and answers, troubleshooting and installation checklists, showcases and a performance guide.