ESA issued a statement calling for involvement from the security industry in fighting legislation being proposed in Illinois and backed by the Illinois Association of Fire Protection Districts, which has the possibility to impact the industry in Illinois and cause a ripple effect across the country.


The proposed legislation would give fire protection districts the right to create a profit center. ESA and the Illinois Electronic Security Association (IESA) believe the profit center would allow the fire protection districts to build central monitoring stations. Such a move would effectively place private alarm dealers in direct competition with public entities. It also provides incentive for municipalities, needing to boost their budgets, to mandate that all fire alarms be directly connected to the fire protection district.


Some municipalities and fire protection districts have already passed such mandates. On the City of Crystal Lake’s website, the following information can be found:


“Q: I have a fire alarm system that is currently monitored by a private company. Do I have to connect to the city?


Yes. The Crystal Lake City Code requires all fire alarm signals monitored by a private company to be transmitted to receiving equipment housed by the City of Crystal in the following time frames:

§         Systems currently connected to the City’s Dispatch center need to convert by March 18, 2011.

§         Fire alarm systems monitoring a sprinkler system that are monitored by a central station need to convert on or before March 18, 2013.

§         Fire alarm systems monitored by a central station need to convert on or before March 18, 2016.”


According to ESA, the city claims, “This is in order to reduce response times and maintain better oversight of fire alarms, it is important to have fire alarms directly connected to the City’s dispatch center.” The city also claims that by having their systems directly connected to the city’s dispatch center, businesses can save approximately $44 per month in monitoring fees.


This ordinance, and ones similar to it in the Illinois towns of Naperville, Algonquin, Northbrook, Hoffman Estates, Highland Park, Lisle/Woodridge, Elmhurst, Wheaton and Woodstock, threaten to create a monopoly of the fire alarm monitoring business.


To help combat this trend, ESA and IESA asked that if you live and work in Illinois, fill out the form located at with your business and home address information so that IESA can compile a comprehensive list of elected state officials who must be contacted in the coming weeks.


This information will also help guide IESA when planning emergency meetings taking place within the next few weeks throughout the state. In addition, ESA remarked it is important for individuals to be on the lookout for other municipalities and states throughout the country that may take similar actions, especially if the initiatives in Illinois are successful, and to report any similar actions by municipalities in your state to the association immediately.


According to the association, involvement in this issue is critical. Sitting on the sidelines could seriously damage your company’s ability to compete in a free market. To get involved, contact IESA executive director Kevin Lehan at (630) 305-8800.


Any correspondence members have with their elected officials should be shared with both Kevin and ESA’s director of government relations John Chwat at and respectively.