You can read all of our articles on our website. Having trouble getting our emails?   Change your spam controls and white list 

Are you liable for installing defective equipment 
February 22, 2021
Are you liable for installing defective equipment
          The webinar by Jeff Zwirn on February 16, 2021 was informative and raised issues of liability for using fire panels that are not properly designed.  Are we as installers liable for defective equipment?  Do your contracts protect us?
Name withheld
          Jeff’s presentation, which you can watch on K&K’s website at  is technical and informative; beyond my technical expertise.  However, as I understand it, certain panels can short out the system before reporting a fire; Jeff believes the panels do not comply with UL standards; this shorting out is preventable and installers shouldn’t be using the panels.  Apparently commercial grade fire panels do not have the deficiencies.
          Let’s start with your contracts.  The Standard Form Agreements include various protective provisions that insulate and limit your liability and exposure.  You are contracting away liability for your own negligence and breach of contract; your liability is limited to $250 or whatever the limitation computes to, whichever is greater.  Your subscriber is advised that you don’t manufacture the equipment and you offer only a Limited Warranty on the equipment, disclaiming the condition of the equipment, its merchantability, or its fitness for any particular purpose.  With these protective provisions can you be exposed to liability?
          The short answer is yes.  With some exception, which I won’t get into here, the protective provisions will not protect you against your gross negligence or willful misconduct.  So now the issue turns on whether continued use of the products Jeff has identified would be so egregious as to constitute gross negligence or willful misconduct on your part.  Jeff would likely argue yes, it is gross negligence.  Whether there are other alarm experts who disagree with Jeff, I don’t know.  I haven’t heard from any manufacturer or testing laboratory who contradicts Jeff’s findings and conclusions.  Jeff has certainly expressed his opinion on the matter in public forums and there is no doubt that you are now on notice of the issue, though to be liable you would have to be found to be on actual notice.  Reading this email is sufficient actual notice; you need to make inquiry; you need to make a decision, a reasoned decision; an informed decision.  Someone reliable has to disagree with Jeff on the issue, and absent that you are taking a risk in the event a loss occurs and the fire alarm fails just as Jeff says it will.
          There are provisions in the Standard Form Agreement that may help protect you, but the better course of action is to avoid the problem.

To order up to date Standard Form Alarm /  Security / Fire and related Agreementsclick here:
You can check out the program and sign up here: or contact our Program Coordinator Stacy Spector, Esq at 516 747 6700 x 304.
NOTICE:  You can always read our Articles on our website at
THE ALARM EXCHANGEalarm classifieds alarm security contracts

    This area is reserved for alarm classifieds, alarm company announcements, solicitations, offers, etc. 
    There is no charge to post a listing here.Include your contact information, phone, email and web site.  If you would like to submit a post, please send an email to  To create a reciprocal link to our website, click here.

Getting on our Email List / Email Articles archived: 
    Many of you are forwarding these emails to friends or asking that others be added to the list.  Sign up for our daily newsletter here: Sign Up.  You can read articles and order alarm contracts on our web site
Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301