IMSA is the oldest known association of its kind in the world. It dates back to October 1896, when a group of municipal signal men from several east coast cities met in Brooklyn, New York and organized an association called the “International Association of Fire and Police Telegraph Superintendents.” Records indicate that the group met once a year thereafter and that committees were appointed which developed and submitted technical papers on pertinent subjects at these annual meetings. The basic purpose of the organization was to keep its members and others in the profession, up-to-date on proper procedures of construction and maintenance of signal systems and informed on new products and equipment developments. In 1900 the organization changed its name to the “International Association of Municipal Electricians” (I.A.M.E.). This name remained for the next 35 years.
In September 1937, the organization name was officially changed to the “International Municipal Signal Association” (I.M.S.A.).
IMSA offers educational and certification programs in Traffic Signals, Signs and Markings, Work Zone Traffic Control, Municipal and Interior Fire Alarm systems, Public Safety Dispatcher and Flagging. To assist the governmental agencies in lowering the likelihood of unnecessary legal actions and to increase the quality of public safety personnel, it is the deep conviction of IMSA that a certification program is warranted in each area of public safety operations. The IMSA Certification Programs are primarily concerned with the evaluation of expertise. However, IMSA realizes that not all agencies have access to standardized training materials and therefore make available Certification Review Programs for its level examinations. These Review Programs are not intended to teach an individual all that he/she needs to know in order to pass a particular examination. They are intended to present the fundamentals of particular areas and overview of subjects that participants should already be familiar with based on national standards and regulations.