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Comment on Notifying customer of fire alarm trouble signal
November 12 2022
Comment on Notifying customer of fire alarm trouble signal
          We have our Central Station notifying customers whenever there is a Fire Alarm trouble or supervisory, as soon as they get the signal.  Unfortunately, it sometimes happens in the middle of the night.  Results, angry customer.
          There was recently a fire (not our system) at a warehouse in Riverside, Ca.  It started in the parking lot, which is covered in pallets of product. (Because their warehouse is overloaded).  The Fire Alarm system didn’t send any signals in, even after PIV wiring was burned in half, and Waterflow switches were melted (outside Risers) off of the risers.  Had the system properly sent trouble signals in, and had a responsible person been notified, then responsibility would have fallen on the responsible person. (My reasoning)
          We had been notifying our customers of troubles and supervisories received in the middle of the night, after 7 a.m. the next day.
          My thought is that if that had been our fire alarm system, and it had properly sent the trouble signals in, no one would have been notified until the next morning.
          So, I changed it to have them notified immediately, to hopefully put the responsibility on the customer.
Also, if they would prefer to be notified the next morning, would an email from them suffice?
They are on the All in one Fire Alarm agreement.
 Mike M
          You have some wiggle room when it comes to trouble signals.  There are a few competing standards you should be aware of.  These are,
  *  the contract terms
  *  the central station operator procedures
  *  NFPA
  *  local AHJ requirements or preferences
  *  written instructions from your subscriber that may override the contract
          Unlike a fire alarm signal a supervisory trouble signal does not have to be reported to the fire department and immediate notification to the subscriber is not required by any standard unless the central station operator has reason to believe an actual fire condition may exist.
          Like most questions that arise when considering the relationship and boundaries between alarm company and subscriber the first place to look is the contract.  The Fire All in One has a few provisions that address this notification issue for supervisory signals:
      “MONITORING SERVICES PROVIDED:  Upon receipt of a fire alarm signal from Subscriber’s fire alarm system, ... Monitoring Center shall make every reasonable effort to notify Subscriber and the appropriate municipal fire department and comply with AHJ dispatch procedures.  Only Subscriber will be notified of fire trouble, fire supervisory or other off normal signals as soon as may be practical.  Not all signals or transmissions will require notification to the authorities, and Subscriber may obtain a written response policy from ALARM COMPANY upon written request.”
            “Subscriber agrees to furnish ALARM COMPANY with a written Call List of names and telephone numbers of persons Subscriber wishes to receive notification of fire alarm signals.  Unless otherwise provided in the Call List ALARM COMPANY will make a reasonable effort to contact the first person reached or notified on the list either via telephone call, text or email message.  No more than one call to the list shall be required and any form of notification provided for herein, including leaving a message on an answering machine, shall be deemed reasonable compliance with ALARM COMPANY’s notification obligation.“

            Those of you who don’t use the Fire All in One, or other Kirschenbaum Contracts™ probably haven’t read this far into this article, don’t care much or thought about the issue and probably think you’ve figured it all out.  Some others will be copying the above provisions into their contracts or asking their lawyer to make the change.  For those I make the following disclaimer:  The above provisions are not the complete provisions, the Kirschenbaum Contracts™ are copyrighted, the contracts are updated and modified regularly and I think you’re a fool and your lawyer should know better than to dabble in alarm contracts. 
          Getting back to the question, and the fire experts may want to correct me or add to my response, I know that NFPA addresses trouble signals and requires notice to the subscriber within a stated period of time.  [it’s either one hour or some other definite time period].  Actual fire alarm signals have a much shorter time frame, I think 3 minutes to dispatch to the fire department.  I am not sure if NFPA even requires notice to the subscriber of an actual fire alarm signal, but it would be after the notice to the fire department. 
          Make sure the central station is notifying the subscriber, not you the dealer.  Don’t get in the middle of that process; you have enough exposure without adding that one; you can be notified after the subscriber.

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301