February 1st, 2019, Minneapolis, Minnesota:
It’s become a literal fact of life that your housing needs change over time. Fresh out of college, you want an affordable apartment. You’re married with children and need that three-bedroom-two-bath in the suburbs. The 3,000 sq. ft. empty nest leads to a 1,500 sq. ft. 55-plus condo. Recovery from a broken hip puts you in a rehab center. Finally, senior housing fills your various needs, from independent living to primary care.
Depending on the stage you’re in, you have a list of “must haves.” According to ApartmentFinder some of the popular amenities for Millennials and Gen-Xers seeking apartments are in-unit washer and dryer, pets allowed, dishwasher, some utilities included, cable, garage and a swimming pool.
Seniorliving.org lists popular amenities for Baby Boomers are housekeeping, laundry service, beauty salon/barber shop, massage therapist, private dining room (to entertain family and friends) and library/computers.
As someone who has spent his career in fire and security services—and has witnessed the good and bad of those services—I want you to add another “must have” to your list: proven and documented safety and security services.
Your first task when you sit down to talk with an apartment manager or housing coordinator is to ask to see security inspection, annual inspection, and service documents. They should be ready and willing to supply them. If the documents are easily accessible or included in the rental packet, perfect! If the manager hems and haws then says, “Can I get back to you on that?” politely say “Thank you,” walk away and cross them off your list.
Whether it’s in documents or on a tour of the facility, managers and coordinators should be able to answer your safety and security questions. Don’t be shy to ask questions. Be honest about your concerns. Take notes for follow up. After all, your apartment is more than just a place to sleep or hang your clothes. It’s your home and you deserve to be safe and secure 24/7.

  • Are all the security and life safety systems (sprinklers, fire alarms, CO2 detectors, fire extinguishers, security cameras, door alarms) fully-functioning and correctly placed in all the apartments, halls, common areas, garages, and parking lots?
  • Surveillance cameras
    • How secure are the entrances, garages, parking lots and doors?
    • Who monitors the buildings, and is it sufficient?
    • Is there a monitor and recorder for events?
    • Are the cameras operational and is the DVR working?
    • Do the images that get recorded have clear resolution both day and night?
  • What’s the process to “buzz in” visitors? Is it convenient for my visitors yet difficult/impossible for intruders? Can I see a demonstration?
  • How about security card access? 
    • Can people “piggy back” off other people’s card access, resulting in potential security breaches?
    • How are current and former residents managed in the card access system? A former resident won’t come knocking on my door, unannounced, to pick up something he said he left behind, will he?
  • Are inspections, service, reports, and monitoring coordinated by one trusted vendor? In other words, will I be inconvenienced not just once but twice (or more!) for inspections and servicing?


An example of a multi-family housing complex that was proactive in dealing with safety and security concerns—and could prove it to prospective renters—is a complex in Owatonna, Minnesota. They called Brothers Fire & Security right away with an issue with a sprinkler system, which we quickly and efficiently took care of.

The complex had more than one fire and security vendor, so to avoid delays and disruptions in future inspections and servicing, management asked us to make sure all their systems were updated, inspected, and up to building codes. Brothers Fire & Security then consolidated all the complex’s fire and security services under one roof.

The apartment complex can now provide current and complete documentation to renters, plus convenience in inspections and servicing. No digging through files, being stumped by questions, or getting under foot with multiple inspections. They provide reassurance that renters will be safe and secure in their homes.


As one of the premier providers of fire and security solutions in the Upper Midwest, Brothers Fire & Security strives to build long-term, value-added relationships. We work with business owners and property management companies, as well as all types of public institutions to solve fire and security needs. By taking advantage of our integrated bundled services, many of our clients find that they can save 25-30% on their safety services, annual inspections and more. From a single location to franchises throughout the region and the country, our integrated approach saves our clients valuable time, money and stress. We provide fire protection systems, security systems, fire sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, 24-7 monitoring, fire extinguishers, card access and kitchen hoods.