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Comment from NAPCO regarding fire alarm signals routed outside the USA
November 13,  2023
Comment from NAPCO regarding fire alarm signals routed outside the USA
            I read with interest the question submitted on a commercial fire alarm communicator whose alarm signals are routed through Bulgaria and then sent back to central stations in the USA, in some cases reporting into non-UL 864 listed virtual central station receivers. In addition, we are also now seeing major fire alarm panel manufacturers installing non-UL 864 listed communicators in their panels, processing and forwarding fire alarm signals via non-UL 864 listed NOCs that reside on Amazon Web Services.
            Although it may seem that the industry is dropping its standards, Dealers and AHJs can be assured that the NAPCO StarLink Fire communication system is end-to-end UL listed (by Underwriters Laboratories), from the UL StarLink Fire Communicator to the UL NAPCO NOC, to the UL 864 listed receivers at the central stations. And all NAPCO StarLink communications stay within the USA borders.
            The NAPCO StarLink NOC is inside Napco’s own NY Headquarters within a secure, hardened, multi-redundant concrete bunker. It is UL 864, UL 1610 and UL 1635 listed, and uses 3 different carriers for outbound telco communications, 3 different IP providers with auto failover, double-redundant backup power systems and quadruple climate-controlled independent HVAC systems. For Failover protection, NAPCO also supports a Secondary, Fully Redundant Disaster Recovery NOC located in a major datacenter in Valley Forge, PA, outside of east coast communications, internet access and service infrastructure. So even if the entire east coast went dark, a fully automated switchover to PA will occur, with full access to the communications infrastructure out of Chicago.
            We have seen tremendous growth in our business, from dealer professionals who want to protect their fire/life safety accounts and business from liability exposure from vanishing POTs lines. It’d be a shame for dealers like them, to pick a communicator manufacturer who is unsuspectedly making the situation potentially more precarious by sending emergency alarm signals across the world, especially in these times of global unrest. I’m writing you today to reassure all dealers and AHJs that NAPCO is an end-to-end UL solution they can trust, and that we handle commercial fire alarm communications for thousands of banks and financial institutions who insist that their systems all be Underwriters Laboratories listed (not competitive NRTL listed), and we’ve even taken the unique extra step, implementing SOC 2 policies and Trust Services Criteria for cybersecurity and data privacy protection.
   Best regards,
 Tom Karl, VP, Corporate Sales
NAPCO Security Technologies, Inc
            I am not an expert on internet communication; I suspect most people aren't either.  So the real issue is whether signals will be, as you suggest, "potentially more precarious by sending emergency alarm signals across the world, especially in these times of global unrest".  
            Of course the first issue is whether any manufacturer is sending its signals outside the US by design.  I wonder if the next issue is whether signals are bouncing all over the world all the time because that's how the internet is designed.
            The Department of Defense prohibits certain manufacturers. It makes sense that DOD is concerned with data traveling who knows where from those devices.  Of course, with US policy, enemy foreign governments [if there are any] don't really have to send signals outside the US since they are allowed to purchase property and conduct their operations and business pretty much unimpeded right here in the US.

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
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