Integrators, This is Your Most Important Opportunity

With NSCA and SIA’s PASS program, AV integrators have the ability to play a role in preventing tragedies like what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Tom LeBlanc

I had the day off on December 14, 2012. We were switching cable providers and I stayed home to wait for the cable guy. He was the type of installer that annoys me, because he always seemed anxious to be done.

For instance, he told me our landline was “all set,” but when I checked there was no dial tone. So I was skeptical when he told me, “Okay, you’re online,” and began collecting his tools. I told him to hold on, grabbed our iPad, opened up the browser and went to a news site. Then everything about the world changed forever.

I read that a gunman had just shot several little kids in Newtown, Conn.

One thing I admire about the integrators and consultants that comprise the commercial integration industry is that they have the ability to play a role in potentially preventing tragedies like what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School. AV integrators often think that mass notification emergency communication (MNEC) solutions are more in sync with what security integrators offer, but the reality is that AV and security are intertwined.

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About two years after Sandy Hook, our friends at NSCA and the Security Industry Association (SIA) announced the SIA Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS). The “Partner” aspect of PASS speaks directly to the need for a coordinated approach when it comes to designing and implementing solutions for protecting schools.

Since then PASS members have been developing guidelines for the use of electronic security and life safety equipment in schools, providing tiered recommendations for facilities’ unique needs. It’s a “huge task,” acknowledges PASS Steering Committee member Scott Lord, VP of All Systems, a Kansas City, Kan.-based integrator, adding that it’s worth the effort. “I feel confident that we can and will make a difference as our entire team is driven to get these solutions implemented in our schools.”

At ISC West 2015, April 14-17, in Las Vegas, the PASS objectives including initial document and related sessions are set to be released. It’s a big deal for AV integrators, but I wonder how many realize it.

Those who know NSCA executive director Chuck Wilson know he isn’t prone to hyperbole. Here’s what he says about PASS on behalf of himself and PASS co-founder and organizer Don Erickson, CEO of SIA:

“We’re about leadership for our profession: what’s emerging, what’s coming, and how it will affect us. We step up as leaders, always educating and assisting members and their clients in quickly and effectively responding to the world they operate in. This could well be the most important life safety and security industry project we’ve ever been a part of.”

Again, it’s a big deal for integrators. I hope they’re not looking at PASS and thinking about how it’s a stretch for them to play a role in marketing and implementing clear-cut safety rec-ommendations for schools. I hope they’re thinking about how their firms can step up.

Register Now: Inside PASS Electronic Equipment Guidelines to Safer Schools

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