Goodbye NBFAA, Hello ELSSA? Alarm Association Considers Name Change

IRVING, Texas — The National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) name may be on the way out.

The association has put a vote to its members on whether to undertake a name change for the association that was founded as the National Burglar Alarm Association in 1948, adding “Fire” to its name in the early 1950s.

Electronic Life Safety and Systems Association (ELSSA) is the proposed new name and was approved 31-1 by the board with one abstention. Ballots on the name change and other proposals were mailed to NBFAA members on Feb. 10, and the results of the vote will be announced during the April 2-6 NBFAA Spring Conference in Las Vegas.

The proposal is one of many that the association’s board of directors approved during a late-January strategic summit at NBFAA’s headquarters in Irving, Texas. Also approved were changes to the association’s vision and mission statements, an affirmation of the rule state associations must be chartered to be in the NBFAA and sent to committee was a proposal for a flat dues structure.

NBFAA Executive Director Merlin Guilbeau says a name change is long overdue, but it’s not so much the “Alarm” part of the name that warrants the change as the “National” portion.

“The national element that was in our name has long hindered us from expanding beyond the borders of the United States,” Guilbeau says. “We have had members from outside the United States for a long time. While we don’t act as an international association, it gives us an opportunity should we decide to do so.”

Guilbeau says that the only reaction he’s heard thus far is positive and dismisses any suggestion that a name change may not be good for the association. He adds that the association won’t abandon the legacy NBFAA name completely.

“People will always know us as the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and will hopefully know us as the Electronic Life Safety and Systems Association, formerly known as the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association. Hopefully, eventually, they will know us as just the Electronic Life Safety and Systems Association,” Guilbeau says, adding that if the ELSSA name is approved, it won’t be implemented until early 2007.

Even after that, it will be slowly phased in. “I wouldn’t expect our members to go out and change their business cards.”

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