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Question - terminating fire and liability 



    If I terminate services for a fire alarm system that was installed by my company due to non-payment, sale of the customer's property, takeover by another alarm company, etc., am I still liable in any way if there is a fire and loss of property or life?  Or am I completely released from all liability pertaining to this fire alarm system after termination of services?

Thank you,





    You haven't provided enough facts for a definitive answer.  As you frame the issue, you terminated service for 1)non payment, 2) subscriber sold the property or 3) another alarm company took over the alarm.  The answer turns on what your contract obligations state, what the AHJ requires when terminating fire alarm service, if anything, how you decided to terminate, if your subscriber knew you terminated, if your terminating was unequivocal so that your subscriber could not reasonably rely on your continued fire alarm services and if you actually had a right to terminate.

    When and how you terminate should be spelled out in the contract.  The Standard Form Contracts permits termination with or without notice depending on circumstances, though I recommend notice.  The notice should state the precise date and time that your services will terminate, and not give any opportunity for continued services.  So a notice that says "we are terminating unless we hear from you" or "unless we receive your check" or any other "if or unless" isn't the notice I'd recommend.  The notice should state, "your service will be terminated on March 4, 2014 at 3 PM" and it's very important that you terminate service at that time, or at least do not do anything to lead the subscriber to believe you have continued service beyond that date.  Check with your AHJ to see if you are required to give the AHJ notice of termination of service, and be sure to give the notice required.  

    You are not under any obligation to provide your services if you're not getting paid.  If a new owner takes over you should not continue service unless that new owner either assumes the existing subscriber contract or signs a new contract, a new Commercial Fire All in One if a commercial account.  


Comment re: Fire Alarm contract inconsistencies - NFPA and contract terms from March 15 2014 article



    In response to the issue of the NFPA requirement to give the owner a copy of the site specific software.  You should comply by leaving a copy.  All site specific software from all major manufacturers allow you to password protect the copy.  The only way you should supply the password is from a signed letter from the owner, releasing you of all liability.  The owner should be notified in writing that they should only use factory authorized / certified companies when servicing or making changes to the fire alarm.

Jeffrey Siegel, President

JCL Systems. Inc.

Long Island City, NY




    Some jurisdictions do require that passcodes be given to subscribers and some of those permit the alarm company to insist on a release before provide the codes


Comment on Limitation of Liability Clause article from March 17, 2014


Ken and Crew;

Emailing quickly to make sure you have a steady stream of “thanks”. Limitation of Liability Clause  March 17, 2014

Your recent blog today was one of your best and most useful.  I understand that when you do this, you also potentially and likely are giving away trade skills to competition. However, this dialog you provide makes me want to support your business any point that I can. 

Great work!

Peter Mason

Mason Alarms and Electrical, LLC

Salisbury, NH 


Thanks !!



    After reading todays newsletter [March 15 2014] I should have included you in the list of innovative companies. While youre not an uber or a tesla, youre certainly the well deserved king of your niche. And in my opnion, its because you know your customers, serve them extremely well and provide more value than anyone else could ever provide at any price.

    My rant was not directed at you.

Armando Perez,  G.M.

Hoosier Security


Thanks again


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