Peer Review - Alarm Expert

Peer Reviews: The Alarm Science Manual™

At last, a book about an important subject that the nontechnical among us can read and understand. Although those of us in the safety and security professions are fully aware of the importance of intrusion detection systems and fire alarms, rarely can we find a book on the subject that is both highly informative and yet very readable, or “user friendly”.

The book’s author is Jeffrey D. Zwirn, a nationally known alarm specialist with extensive history in all aspects of alarm development, operations, installation, and monitoring. Zwirn holds multiple, respected certifications such as CPP, CFE, CFPS, and a host of others.

Zwirn is also a master alarm technician and is a burglar and fire alarm certified contractor in Florida, New York, and New Jersey. Not only is he a master of his trade, Zwirn also has wide-ranging experience as a forensic consultant who has served as an expert witness in various courts across the country. In addition, he has produced training curricula for the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, among others.

The Alarm Science Manual is divided into seven information-filled chapters. Chapter 1 introduces the reader to alarm basics while Chapter 2 delves into specific technologies, features, and devices. Chapter 3 focuses on fire protection in particular while Chapter 4 discusses best practices in the industry. Chapter 5 includes case histories detailing the human tragedies that have occurred due to a variety of technical and human errors. Chapter 6 appropriately details the liability consequences of failing to follow acceptable alarm practices. Finally, Chapter 7 provides an overview of certain current issues in the industry.

This book is to be commended for its authority, content, and clarity. It reminds me of the enormously popular Protection of Assets Manual in terms of its readability and focus on the most important issues concerning the alarms segment of security and safety efforts emphasized in modern societies.

About Dr. Kennedy

Dr. Kennedy has developed expertise in forensic criminology: the application of criminological knowledge to matters of immediate concern to various courts of law. Dan practices this specialty in three ways: academic publication, participation in litigation as an expert, and teaching. He is widely published in such journals as Journal of Police Science and Administration journal of Criminal Justice, Justice Quarterly, Crime and Delinquency, Professional Psychology, Journal of Social Psychology, Criminal Justice and Behavior, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Police Quarterly, The Police Chief, Security Journal, Security Management, Journal of Security Administration, American Jails and a host of others.

Dr. Kennedy frequently is called to court to testify in cases involving state police agencies, municipal police departments, and county sheriffs’ departments. His testimony generally involves explaining to jurors the appropriate standards of care for the use of deadly force, vehicle pursuits, emergency psychiatric evaluations, prisoner health care, prevention of prisoner suicide, positional asphyxia/excited delirium, and “suicide by cop." Also, Dr. Kennedy evaluates numerous lawsuits concerning premises liability for negligent security in the private sector involving properties both in the U.S. and overseas. He specializes in crime foreseeability issues, appropriate standards of care in the security industry, and analyses of the behavioral aspects of proximate causation. As further evidence of his expertise in these areas, Dr. Kennedy has published various book chapters and journal articles on negligent security issues.

Daniel B. Kennedy
Ph.D., C.P.P., C.S.P.
Consulting Forensic Criminologist and Professor Emeritus, Criminal Justice and Security Administration University of Detroit Mercy

Alarm system planning, selection, installation, and monitoring is completely understood by most security practitioners. Confidence in the installer or central alarm monitoring organizations is sometimes badly placed.

Jeffrey D. Zwirn has been an alarm industry expert for over four decades. His involvement began early when he configured his own alarm system before the age of 10. Zwirn went on to build a large, independent alarm biz in Florida. He sold it, moved north, and has largely concentrated on alarm consulting since then. As one of the nation’s leading forensic consultants on alarm standards, he has seen plenty of examples where alarms have made society safer.

In this highly personal book, Zwirn shares case histories of what has gone wrong, why, and the consequences. Zwirn writes this book for alarm dealers and installers. Yet anybody who is responsible for alarm systems selection and management could benefit. The Writing is non-technical. Scores of full-color images make the subject matter alive. Eighteen mini-quizzes add a challenge.

About Dr. McCrie

Robert McCrie began his career in protection as a security guard in his home town of Toledo, Ohio. Upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree, he began his teaching career in biology at the University of Toledo. He subsequently conducted research and studied in the US and Denmark. He next became an advertising copywriter on scientific and consumer accounts at a series of New York City advertising agencies. In 1970, he left advertising and started a newsletter concerned with protection of assets from loss. The next year he began consulting in a wide variety of issues concerning security. In the 1970’s McCrie joined the advisory board of John Jay’s Security Management Institute. In the following years, he became more involved at John Jay planning programs, lecturing, and aiding students. In 1986, McCrie joined the faculty on a tenure-track line, eventually reaching full professor and serving as chair (1997-2003). En route he obtained a doctorate in urban history under Richard C. Wade. McCrie has written and edited widely in the field, including Security Operations Management, published by Butterworth-Heinemann. Professor McCrie founded the B.S. in Security Management major and has coordinated the M.S. in Protection Management degree at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Mr. McCrie also edits Security Letter and was the founding editor-in-chief of Security Journal. His awards include the President’s Award of Merit from the American Society for Industrial Security and the Breslin award from the International Security Management Association. In recent years, he has become committed to the radical reform of prisons in the US and other countries. Mr. Jencroft is the holder of 12 Patents in several fields.

Robert McCrie
Ph.D., C.P.P.
Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Jeff Zwirn has made the security industry more observant and responsive. During the years I have represented the industry it has gone through a very significant evolution. When I first represented the industry, there was little if any regulation or oversight. Technology was years behind in innovation and communication. Security companies were fortunate in what they were able to include within their contracts, i.e., language, which under most circumstances protected them from liability.

As the industry joined the computer age and technology became a part of the industry, legal challenges became more prevalent. Security companies were required to assess the risk and recommend appropriate security coverage for each individual installation. This gave rise to a new industry, “expert evaluation of the risk.” Security companies were not required to make certain not only that the security they recommended was appropriate, but that it was properly installed, services and maintained.

Then emerged Jeff Zwirn. A number of expert witness, knowledgeable in the industry preceded Jeff, but none who possessed his technical and engineering skill and prowess. He has become the leading expert witness in the field and has positively impacted the industry on the importance of doing it right. Jeff is widely relied upon by the security industry in determining the proper installation, maintenance and use of security systems. Plaintiffs and defendants race to call Jeff to make sure they get to him first.

About Attorney Gold

Recipient of the George R. Lippert Memorial Award from the Security Industry Association for exemplary service to the security industry, inducted into the SSI Hall of Fame for distinguished industry service to the electronic security industry, recipient of Lifetime Achievement Award from the California Alarm Association for service to the security industry, AV® Preeminent™ Rating, Martindale-Hubbell, formation of several major security alarm and integration companies, lead counsel in acquisition of one of the largest security alarm companies in the United States, authored California alarm licensing law, worked with many municipalities and states to develop licensing and standards, and served as counsel to many buyers and sellers in some of the largest and smallest acquisitions in the security-related industries.

Lessing (Les) Gold
Partner, Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp

The Alarm Science Manual™ is the first of its kind in the Security Alarm Industry and a welcoming addition to any alarm dealer’s “tool box.”

Ignore Mr. Zwirn’s guidance, tips, strategies, and warnings in this industry bible at your own risk. There is a good reason he is one of the most respected and sought after alarm security experts in the United States. It would do you well to listen to him.

This manual is peppered with “life safety” and “company saving” gems which, if followed, will most certainly reduce your risk of having to spend some unpleasant and unwelcome time with litigation attorneys like myself!

Enjoy the read and the education—I most certainly did.

About Attorney Revness

Michael is a founding partner of the Firm and chairs the Litigation practice group and Security Alarm practice group, and co-chairs the Firm’s Business practice group and Construction Litigation group. For more than 20 years, Michael has represented businesses, individuals and insurers throughout the country in high-profile, complex commercial litigation matters, including business and contractual disputes; security/alarm litigation; general commercial liability and errors and omissions claims; construction litigation; corporate, partner, and shareholder disputes; and employment contract, restrictive covenants and trade secret matters. Michael is a trial attorney with extensive experience trying complex cases before judges, juries, and the American Arbitration Association.

Michael is a leading legal authority in the security alarm industry, where he serves as General Counsel to the Pennsylvania Fire and Burglar Alarm Association and the New Jersey Electronic Security Association. Michael drafts security alarm contracts; handles mergers and acquisitions in the security alarm industry; and, on a day to day basis, advises security alarm businesses on the vast legal topics and challenges which confront the industry. Further, Michael is a highly sought after and frequent guest speaker before a variety of different professional associations within the alarm security industry.

Michael is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and the United States
District Courts for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Middle District of Pennsylvania, and District of New Jersey.

Michael J. Revness
Attorney at Law
Legal Counsel To The New Jersey Electronic Security Association And The Pennsylvania Burglar And Fire Alarm Association

Thank you, Jeff… For a copy of your new book. It is, indeed, impressive. I have heard a great deal about your work, and am impressed by both the quality of the work that you do as well as the knowledge you possess. Your book, should be a “must read” for anyone in the alarm industry, particularly those who are managing a traditional alarm company.

I have read your book in its entirety, and find the body of work to be unique, necessary and not easily duplicated. If I am ever going to be involved in litigation, I want to be prepared by having read your book, once again, ahead of time. I am most appreciative of your efforts in making this information available to the industry. If ever I can return the favor, all you ever have to do is ask. Again, congratulations on a fine work.

Yours for greater success, Ron

About Mr. Davis

Founded in 1973 by Ron Davis, the Davis Group has consulted with hundreds of alarm companies, manufacturers, distributors, investors and international players looking to understand the dynamics of the American security marketplace. It’s estimated that over 70% of the alarm installing companies have been reached by Davis Group through its seminars and audio tapes.

Ron Davis
Davis Mergers and Acquisitions Group, Inc

The biographical preface of Jeffrey Zwirn’s highly impressive background should be an inspiration to anyone considering entering the life safety field. From a young alarm tinkerer to professional alarm installer/owner to a highly qualified industry expert, Jeffrey has written a text book that should be used by every alarm company to upgrade the training of their installers on industry best practices. It should also be read by both experienced installers and novices who intend to enter alarm industry. The hints, tips and basic alarm installing features should help make this book available at local alarm associations for purchase by their members or used as a teaching tool by associations during training sessions. An excellent resource.

About Mr. Darsch

Nonvoting Vice President and SIA Representative to the NBFAA board of directors
Ex-Offico for the Alarm Industry Research Educational Foundation (AIREF)
Former President of the Security Industry Association (SIA)
Former Director of Corporate Relations For System Sensor
Former Board Member of CSAA
Triton Award Winner

Charles G. Darsch
Nonvoting Vice President and SIA Representative to the NBFAA board of directors

Spellbinding, Mesmerizing, Captivating.

Having been in the electronic life safety and security industry for thirty-plus years, I can count on one hand the number of speakers who
I would describe with these terms. . .  Jeffrey Zwirn is clearly one of these individuals. . .

I have witnessed, firsthand, seminar session rooms overflowing with alarm company owners, managers, technicians, and salespersons hanging on every word Jeffrey spoke, and those sessions ran thirty to sixty minutes past their scheduled conclusion time due to the continuous barrage of attendee questions.

A truly gifted teacher and subject matter expert, Jeffrey is one of our industry’s masters who now has taken his wealth of knowledge and penned what I am sure will quickly become a must read for anyone who wants to make a living in this industry “the right way.”

About Mr. Eller

With over 35 years of experience in the alarm industry, Mr. Eller is the Executive Director of The Pennsylvania Burglar and Fire Alarm Association, Executive Director of The New York State Electronic Security Association, and is the Executive Director for The IQ Installation Quality Certification Program.

Dale R. Eller, 
Owner/Executive Director, ITZ Solutions Executive Director, NYSESA Executive Director, Installation Quality Certification Program

Jeffrey Zwirn’s book is both unique and necessary – necessary for leaders and owners in the industry. In terms of maximizing company value and minimizing threats to the owner, this book should be required reading for every manager of design/installation – and suggested reading for everybody else. The book is unique in that it goes beyond the obvious, beyond the sales pitch, even beyond the technology and brings the reader face to face with the consequences of poor decisions (loss, deaths, and lawsuits). What was promised, what was installed, what are the results and ultimately landing in what happens next…. As Jeffrey explains, too often there is a very expensive lawsuit where science proves to the courts that promises were indeed broken, installations were defective, and the results were catastrophic to the customer. But, this book is not simply a collection of horror stories; it is eminently practical. It outlines a way of thinking, a way of acting and a way of doing business. A scientific professional approach unfolds through the pages that can be understood and absorbed into practice. Stronger alarm design and stronger alarm installations are the natural result of embracing Jeffrey’s ideas.

About Mr. Jentoft

Videofied is the world leader in video intrusion alarm systems with an installed base of hundreds of thousands of systems in over 35 countries. Videofied delivers priority police response for greater security and reduced losses. Videofied is the leading solution to fight copper theft. The products are wireless, cordless and can operate both indoors and in harsh outdoor environments. The alarm systems are effective enough to protect the critical infrastructure of the USA (over 60 utilities use Videofied to protect their substations from copper theft) and affordable enough for the residential consumer. Mr. Jencroft is the holder of 12 Patents in several fields.
Keith Jentoft,
RSI Video Technologies, Inc.

As the author of the longest running magazine article on fire alarm systems in the United States, I was surprised to discover a new level of in-depth scientific and technical alarm information which has never been provided to the alarm industry before. The Alarm Science Manual does just that in going behind the scenes and forensically examining court cases where “electronic security” didn’t live up to its name. I can safely bet that every alarm company owner or professional technician who reads this book will have a newly found respect for each of their duties and tasks. Whether readers dive into this text mid-stream, or start from the first chapter, all will eventually experience the author’s skilled intent to ensure that the reader is provided with the awareness and importance of doing it right, or accepting the serious and negative consequences of its actions and inactions from doing it wrong.

Readers will discover highly advanced methodologies from Zwirn that they can adopt and integrate into their own business model which may save their customers from loss, serious personal injury, and even death. If The Alarm Science Manual readers follow Zwirn’s expert advice and guidance it could dramatically improve the way they conduct their businesses.

About Mr. Kessinger

With over 36 years in the alarm industry, Mr. Kessinger is NICET Level-IV Certified, IMSA-International Municipal Signal Association Certified, NFPA Certified Fire Protection Specialist, National Training Director for Zenith Design Group, Incorporated and a technical columnist for SD&I Magazine.
Greg Kessinger

Don’t walk—RUN to get a copy of The Alarm Science Manual by Jeffrey Zwirn, CPP. If you install, service, test, inspect or monitor security systems this is a MUST READ. Learn how to minimize your liability on all types of electronic security systems, from fire and burglary to panic and carbon monoxide alarms.

Mr. Zwirn’s extensive experience with forensic investigations of systems that failed is critical in ensuring the same does not happen to you.

Attend any of Mr. Zwirn’s lectures, industry training, or license renewal courses and you will hear firsthand about systems that did not function or were circumvented, leading to catastrophic losses. Read this manual to discover why alarm systems failed and what you can do to prevent a disastrous loss for your company. Learn techniques to keep yourself out of the news media and out of the courtroom. Get The Alarm Science Manual TODAY!!

About Mr.Lowitt

Mr. Lowitt has operated a Full Service Alarm Company and UL Listed Central Station since 1969. Lowitt Alarms designs, engineers, installs, monitors, services and inspects their systems, all “in house" and under high quality industry standards. Lowitt Alarms operates a Five Diamond UL Listed Central Station that is FDNY Approved, UL2050 listed, and has over 40,000 accounts. Finally, Mr. Lowitt is a member of the Central Station Alarm Associations’s Board of Directors and serves on its AHJ Committee. The Central Station Alarm Association is now known as the Monitoring Association.
Peter Lowitt
Lowitt Alarms & Security Systems
Member: CSAA Board of Directors, AHJ Liaison Committee

Few people have had as much expertise in forensically investigating electronic security and fire alarm systems as nationally recognized alarm expert and industry veteran Jeffrey D. Zwirn, CPP, CFPS, CFE, DABFET, CHS-III, SET, and President of Zwirn Corporation. At the age of nine, Zwirn built his first alarm system. For the next forty plus years, Zwirn has been immersed in all aspects of owning and operating an alarm contracting practice including performing security surveys and needs analysis, providing recommendations, as well as the sales, design, installation, programming, inspection, service, repair, maintenance, testing, and monitoring of thousands of security and alarm systems.

In addition to being designated and recognized by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) as an expert instructor, Zwirn has been retained to investigate a multitude of cases and claims involving electronic security systems, from burglary and fire losses to events where security systems have stood as silent witnesses to catastrophic crimes, such as arson, fraud, rape, and murder. Zwirn’s highly specialized skills are further amplified through the crucial application of his education, skill, knowledge, training, experience, and credentials in the alarm and security industry. To that end, Zwirn has educated and taught juries and the technical community of the alarm, security, and law enforcement industries across the country, about all of this mission-critical information, and his forensic methodologies. By employing a combination of reliable scientific and technical formulas, Zwirn is able to uncover the reasons why a system is alleged to have failed, did not fail, was circumvented, or bypassed by an intruder, or otherwise what, if any, impact his forensic investigative analysis and findings bring to the case.

One measure used to quantify Zwirn’s unparalleled expertise in forensic alarm investigations is that he has been retained by some of the world’s largest alarm companies and manufacturers as their expert. In just one example, the reliability of Zwirn’s forensic expertise was a contributing factor in securing a defense verdict in a plaintiff’s $90 million fire loss claim against a nationally recognized alarm company. Conversely, Zwirn has also been retained as the plaintiff’s alarm expert. In fact, in the first seven months of 2010 alone, Zwirn’s testimony was a contributing factor in jury awards and verdicts in excess of millions of dollars.

Zwirn is also nationally known for the groundbreaking scientific and technical forensic investigation that he performed, and testified to, in the first degree murder retrial case of the State of Missouri versus George Revelle. During the deliberations, the jury stated that they believed that Revelle killed his wife. However, after hearing Zwirn testify for the defense, the jury came back with a not guilty verdict. In particular, not only did the jury state that Zwirn was a reliable witness, but also the jury unilaterally relied on Zwirn’s expertise and testimony to reach its not guilty verdict. Zwirn has also been selected to provide test questions for the internationally recognized Certified Protection Professional® credential and for each level of the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies Fire Alarm Systems Certification Program (NICET®). Zwirn was also appointed as a principal technical committee panel member for NFPA 72®, the National Fire Alarm Code® and for the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code®, in the special expert category, and he currently serves on twenty-two UL® Standards Technical Panels.

About Mr. Sevinor

President, Wayne Alarm Systems, Inc. Well-known internationally in the security industry, he is an active and influential member of several trade associations, including past president of Central Station Alarm Association. An industry historian, he has over 30 years of experience in the electronic detection field and has created an Alarm Industry Museum in his offices to preserve and promote the alarm industry artifacts and history.
Ralph Wayne Sevinor
Wayne Alarm Systems, Inc.
Lynn, Massachusetts