Security Industry Responds to Katrina

In response to my eyewitness account from Katrina, a lot of the companies in our industry have recognized the value they play in terms of supporting the victims of hurricane Katrina.

Here’s a quick run down of what we’ve heard:

Carolyn Hoffman, the director of human resources, reports that SimpleTech is working to support those affected in this time of need and has created an employee-match fund. Any employee who donates to the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund in September will have their contributions matched by the company.

According to Joe Olmeasted Jr., director of marketing communications for Pelco, "In one afternoon, Pelco employees raised close to $7,000 which combined with matching Pelco funds, allowed Pelco to write a check to the American Red Cross for $13,495.30."

Jim Mann, vice president of the commercial/industrial division of the Norment Security Group, reports that the company, which is a part of Compudyne Corp., "has set up a matching (up to 10K) contribution to the Red Cross. We had our HR people send out the initial e-mail to employees and within the hour we had $1,400 sent in. We fully expect that we will get the employee contributions up to $10,000 with our parent company kicking in the matching $10,000.00."

Jim Lind, a security and travel specialist with Vectren Corporation, said that his employer is making a $50,000 contribution toward the relief effort. The company is a utility provider and has provided a number of crews to the area to work multiple 16-hour shifts to help restore power to the devastated area.

Heather Klein, the marketing communications manager for Giesecke & Devrient, which prints banknotes and securities for over 60 countries and helps secure against counterfeiting of securities and smart cards, notes that G&D is matching dollar for dollar contributions that employees make to the Red Cross.

Carol Langdon of Integrity Consulting Partners reports that the company is providing a wireless/solar powered alarm and monitoring system in the area.

IR (Ingersoll Rand) knows the effect of the hurricane firsthand. With three of the company's facilities and more than 100 employees affected by the storm, the company is directly involved in the local response. On top of that, IR says it will "continue to pay all affected employees through the end of September, and will re-evaluate the situation at that time." The company is "putting processes in place to get emergency funds to them right away." IR says it will be providing temporary housing assistance for its employees who have been made homeless, and will be contributing $100,000 to the American Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund.

Jimmy McClellan, of Cleveland, Miss.,-based ADT dealer Security Services Inc. notes that the ADT dealer website has posted a list of dealers in the affected are and that the company is accepting donations "from the ADT family to help these people that have lost their businesses." McClellan adds, "We are trying to do what we can to help these people by directly sending them money. God bless them all."

Mark Serbanic, a regional vice president of the Louisiana Burglar and Fire Alarm Association writes in from Natchitoches, La., reports the following: "(1)Merlin Guilbeau with the NBFAA is working with LBFAA and other members to help place affected industry employees. They need homes and jobs. All techs are licensed through the state background checks and NTS certification and required CEU's annually. (2) A list of all licensed companies for the New Orleans area was sent to NBFAA including fire, security, locksmiths, sprinkler and CCTV. (3) My company Brown's Security in Natchitoches, La., has modified an equipment trailer to aid in moving affected employees and companies. (4) Some of us have opened our homes to refugees from the area. We as an association are still discussing ways to help our fellow trade associates."

Guillermo Diaz, the dealer development manager for Tyco in Latin America and the Carribean, notes that the company is donating $500K to the American Red Cross, and that for every dollar a Tyco employee donate to any charity organization, the corporation will match the exact amount to that organization in order to contribute with the cause. Diaz adds that a fund was also created for the Tyco employees affected by the hurricane. Tyco CEO Ed Breen has sent a note to all employees encouraging their support.

Donald Soper reports that Wells Fargo will be attempting to contribute $1 million to support Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The company will donate $500,000 to the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund and will match team-member contributions dollar-for-dollar up to $250,000, for a potential total of $1 million.

A hotline has been established for SimplexGrinnell employees affected by the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Those employees can call 1.888.222.1557. The company lost its New Orleans office in the Katrina aftermath.

The Gilbertson Group, a commercial fire and security systems integrator in Pennsylvania, has donated $500 and promises that more is on the way.

Safety Vision in Houston, Texas, has become a designated donation drop point for the American Red Cross. The company is also matching employee contributions, which Safety Vision's John Major now reports is pushing $10,000.

Global Security Associates (GSA), a global aviation and executive protection security firm, has noted that it is working to support businesses in the Hurricane Katrina-affected areas with additional safety and security services.

Fargo, known for its card printing technology, is sponsoring a "Spare Change Program" which will support the American Red Cross. Donation jars have been placed at the company's front reception desk and in the manufacturing area. Spare change brought in over the next week will be donated on the company’s behalf next Friday, Sept. 9, says Fargo's Sharon Steinhoff Smith.

Honeywell reports that it is donating $500,000 according to PR representative Nikki Reed.

Blackwater, best known for its tactical services operatives in Iraq, has donated aerial support to the New Orleans area.

GE as a whole (not just the security group) is donating roughly $18 million to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

Galaxy Control Systems' COO Rick Fournier reports the following, "We at Galaxy Control Systems are offering to do our part to help in the relief efforts. For every access controller sold and delivered in the month of September, we will donate 5% of the sale to the American Red Cross to assist in the recovery from the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. This includes the Satellite and the complete line of the System Galaxy units."

We know there are more companies out there making donations in effort and funds to the Katrina relief response. Whether your company was affected by the storm itself or is helping with donations of funds or equipment, please email us at and advise to what you're doing. We'll add your response to this list. Thanks again for all you're doing.