Hot New Fire Markets Set to Ignite Profits

Response Systems Offer Recurring Revenue Opportunities

Another area that professional security contractors see as an area of growth within the life-safety market is the personal emergency response system (PERS).

“As baby boomers get older and start to enter assisted-care facilities, PERSs are becoming increasingly important as safety and security tools,” advises Bitton. PERSs are increasingly employed in private homes where older individuals live. Siblings often get together to orchestrate the purchase, installation and ongoing maintenance of these systems for the sake of an aging parent. In some cases, the purchased PERS becomes an extension of an existing burglar/fire alarm system.

“The medical alert market is growing in accordance with the growing older population,” says Markowitz. “But the downside is higher liability and increased demand for 24/7 service.”

Nursing homes are another possible target for PERS products as they cater to older individuals who require hands-on care (see sidebar on page 52 of January issue). Assisted-living facilities, where people live without the same level of hands-on care, is also a likely place where PERS can be employed.

Voice Evacuation Systems Provide Profitable Side Benefits

TVA’s Dotts says many jurisdictions are becoming code conscious to the point where they now require the use of notification appliance devices where they had not before.

“Years ago, in BOCA [Building Officials Code Administrators Int’l], they only required one device inside the location and one outside in mercantile occupancies. Now, code requires a full notification system comprised of horns and strobes throughout the facility, which obviously adds quite a bit of cost to the fire alarm system,” Dotts explains. “Of course, now we are no longer under BOCA, but rather IBC [International Building Code] and IFC [International Fire Code], which require the additional protection.”

According to Dotts, not only is this trend becoming widespread, it offers some additional sales opportunities to enterprising security dealers. Dott’s firm does not install life-safety systems – it offers engineering services to the life-safety market. These include security companies and fire alarm contractors.

“There’s a fire alarm system on the market today where you can use the same system for both paging/background music as well as emergency voice notification. This is a big trend in certain areas of the fire market,” continues Dotts. “Rather than putting a full paging system in there and doubling it with horns for fire alarm, you can now eliminate the traditional fire horns and save the end user some money.”

In years past, the traditional security dealer would have installed a simple fire alarm system and would never have thought of selling them a paging/background music head-end.

More AHJs Accept Sprinkler Monitoring

Markowitz is now seeing a trend toward system upgrades in commercial and institutional facilities. This is especially true in the area of sprinkler monitoring.

“I see an increase in commercial fire work, both new systems and upgrades. Sprinklers are a big growth area as well as states adopt model codes, such as the International Code Commission [ICC],” he says.

What Markowitz is talking about is the shear volume of local communities and states now adopting their ICC code system and the fundamental differences between ICC’s International Fire Code and the core group of NFPA fire codes, although there are only a handful at best.

For example, where NFPA 72 allows the sprinkler main valve to be secured by a chain and lock, IFC does not.

According to Section 903.4, International Fire Code, regarding sprinkler system monitoring and alarms: All valves controlling the water supply for automatic sprinkler systems, pumps, tanks, water levels and temperatures, critical air pressures, and water-flow switches on all sprinkler systems shall be electrically supervised. For more on this, see this month’s “Fire-Side Chat.”

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