1977 The National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) creates the Alarm Industry Research & Educational Foundation (AIREF) as a tax-exempt foundation representing the electronic life safety, security, and systems industry and its allied associations. AIREF's mission is "to engage in initiatives critical to public safety, the consumer, and the alarm professional," and its purpose is "to receive, invest, and reinvest money exclusively for charitable, scientific, and educational purposes." Ben Call, founder of NBFAA and AIREF, sees the foundation as a way for those who had profited from the industry to contribute money back to it.
1984 AIREF and the National Crime Prevention Institute form a joint effort The Alarm Efficiency Task Force. With representation from various affiliated associations, such as NBFAA, SIA, CSEPA, UL, IACP, the FBI, and several police departments, the Alarm Efficiency Task Force calls for User Education, State Licensing, Dealer Training, and Equipment Testing & Verification to address the growing false alarm problem in the U.S.
1991 AIREF publishes "A History of Alarm Security," documenting the evolution of the industry. The book is dedicated to "all who pursue the vision that science can be harnessed to secure society from crime and fire. And to those entrepreneurs who promote and therefore ensure the widespread use of security alarms."
AIREF helps fund the research and publication of "Securing Suburban Homes: The Greenwich Case." This research study and its subsequent results explore alarm effectiveness and, in particular, the issue of false alarms. Some of the major findings documented in this study include:
- Of all uncompleted burglaries, 74% can be credited to an audible alarm.
- Homes without alarm systems are 2.2 times more likely to be burglarized than homes with alarm systems.
- Burglary rates are especially high in the first two years that residents move into the house. Thirty four percent of all burglaries occurred within the first five years of occupancy; 47 percent occurred in the first two years.
AIREF teams up the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) for the "Model Cities
" project. Once again focusing on the false alarm issue, this research project involves three cities that were tasked to develop their own programs to reduce false alarms. Each city used an IACP resolution on false alarms and the alarm industry's proposed solutions as the basis for structuring its approach. While the program continues to yield information to this day, the overall results of the project can be seen by clicking here
The Model Cities project evolves into a "Model States" program. Utilizing the same methodology of its predecessor, the goal of the Model States program was to analyze the false alarm issue and, specifically, to measure the "false alarm rate" of several states. States included in the study were Washington, California, Illinois, and Florida. This was a benchmark project for AIREF, as then AIREF Chairman Bob Ohm proclaimed, "What gets measured, gets managed."
This highly regarded look at alarm response management is still one of the most referenced documents in the alarm industry. The Model States program proves that when the public and private sector work cooperatively, false alarms can be drastically reduced. Some of the major findings included:
- Roughly 20 percent of the alarm users cause 80 percent of the false dispatches
- Jointly establishing a responsible ordinance with several key elements can drastically reduce the amount of false dispatches
The full Model States report can be seen by clicking here.
1999 Due to the success of the Model States study and report, AIREF begins the Coordinated Alarm Reduction Effort (CARE) as a way to disseminate this valuable information to the public. Built upon the foundation of knowledge acquired from 1983 through the Model States project, its mission was "to promote the effective and responsible use of electronic security and life safety systems by actively reaching out to the law enforcement community to communicate the lessons learned in IACP/NSA Model States dispatch reduction programs, and to provide assistance in implementing solutions to receptive communities, in coordination with local alarm dealers and associations."
2001 In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on our nation, AIREF veers away from industry research projects to establish the "Hero Scholarship Fund," a tribute to the police and firefighters who gave their lives in an effort to save others at the World Trade Center complex. This memorial scholarship fund was dedicated for children of police officers and firefighters who perished in the tragic events of that day.
AIREF relinquishes oversight of the CARE program to the newly formed Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC). The foundation names 18 new board members and installs Peter Michel, former chief executive officer of Brinks Security, as its new chairman.
In his first meeting as AIREF chair, Michel emphasizes the need for the foundation to reestablish itself as the instrumental research arm engaged in initiatives critical to the health of the electronic life safety, security, and systems industry. He reiterates the necessity of a three-tiered approach to all research, highlighting perspectives of not only the alarm industry, but also law enforcement and the general public.
2004 AIREF continues to work on multiple studies and welcomes new ideas or projects that would benefit the alarm industry.