May 28, 2020
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Eastern Maine Community College partners with life-safety and security integrator to co-teach Fire Science class

Community Author: Daniel R Gelinas
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BANGOR  — Norris Inc., Maine’s, New Hampshire’s and Vermont’s premiere life-safety and security provider, had a chance to help out at a local college recently. A Fire Science Department instructor thought it would be beneficial to have an actual integrator, a subject matter expert in the life-safety and security industry, come in and teach a segment on fire alarm systems. On March 27th, Eastern Maine Community College, located here, hosted Norris Systems Integrator, Jim Allmon who co-taught a class for students.

Norris is no stranger to this kind of outreach. Norris COO Craig Elkanich in February set up a similar volunteer co-teaching situation at Southern Maine Community College.

Why does Norris constantly give back?

The goal of the Norris co-taught class was to bring in a life-safety and security expert from an integrator to help educate students. One hope was to show them alternate career paths.

“It is critically important for our students to recognize that there is more to our industry than being operations level firefighters. It is presentations like Mr. Allmon’s that will continue to prove to our students that there are other avenues in our industry,” Said EMCC Fire Science Department Chair Chris Beaumont. “I believe it is presentations like this that bring the real world into our classroom, resulting in the best, most effective learning experiences for students.”

Norris’ Allmon said he was happy to give his time and help the community.

“I interact quite frequently with Bangor Code Enforcement. He asked me to do this as a favor,” Allmon said. “We went through the instructor’s presentation and as each topic was raised, the instructor asked me to expand on them.”

Life-safety and security pro brings real life to the classroom

Allmon said topics covered included life-safety and security mainstays like basics of control panels, system types, initiation and notification devices, monitoring options, fire alarm system and sprinkler system integration, and inspections, to name a few.

The course instructor Lance Sanborn—who is Bangor’s Fire Inspector—worked with Beaumont to bring subject-matter expert Allmon in.

“Students can only retain so much information from a book and PowerPoint slides,” Beaumont said. “When they get the chance to see a new face and hear from someone who is working at the forefront of this particular portion of our industry, the message tends to carry more meaning.”

A growing relationship

Asked if the partnership between the school and Norris was likely to recur, Allmon was quietly enthusiastic.

“I think it went well,” he said.

Beaumont agreed.

“I see a true benefit in continuing to grow the relationship between EMCC and Norris by making this a recurring event. We currently have FIR-152 Fire Inspection and Prevention on our catalog to run every other semester. The next delivery of this course will be in the Spring 18/19 semester,” Beaumont said. “I think it would be great to find another opportunity for Norris to make a visit to the college in the fall semester.”

According to the EMCC website, the college

was established in 1966 by the Maine State Legislature, under the authority of the State Board of Education. EMCC was originally known as Eastern Maine Vocational Technical Institute (EMVTI). The college was moved in 1968 from temporary quarters in downtown Bangor to its present campus. In 1986 the 112th Legislature created a quasi-independent system with a board of trustees to govern all six of Maine’s VTIs, and in 1989 another law changed the names of these institutions to more accurately reflect their purpose and activities; EMVTI thus became Eastern Maine Technical College (EMTC). The name of the College changed again in 2003 from “Technical” to “Community” to more accurately reflect its purpose.

Norris, Inc.—a South Portland, Maine, based life-safety and security integrator with satellite offices in Bangor, Maine; Lee, New Hampshire; and Burlington, Vermont—was founded nearly 40 years ago by two brothers, Brad and Harty Norris. The brothers remain on the board of directors today and continue to help steer the enterprise toward its goal of advancing life-safety and security, and communications while striving to grow in its status as Northern New England’s leading systems integrator. Norris provides fully integrated life-safety and security solutions, comprising disparate systems including fire alarm, intrusion detection, access control, video surveillance, emergency notification and communications.