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Comment on on-line fire inspection services
December 8, 2021
Comment on on-line fire inspection services 

          Here in Ohio one township fire department in Hamilton County wanted to go to the IROL reporting service. Several fire alarm, sprinkler and kitchen hood protection companies objected to it. I reached out to some neighboring fire departments to get their input and the general consensus was that it could not be required of the fire protection company and they felt it was actually the building owner or the building owners' representative that was responsible for the reporting. In NFPA it does state that it is the building owner that is responsible for maintaining their life safety system(s) and also to maintain proper test documentation to be made available to the AHJ when requested by them. I reached out to the Ohio State Fire Marshal's office and they said it was up to local the AHJ's but they could not force you to do this without a proper ordinance or resolution of law in place. Some of the local AHJ's said the same thing.       
            One local AHJ said he would think this could tick off a taxpayer at levy renewal time and they did not want to do that. I have to say that something on the surface seems unethical when a fire department can require you or your customer to pay a fee to a third party they select to provide a report while they enjoy a free database. It seems it is the software database people that make out on this in my opinion. I can see where this could prove to be difficult if every city and township you go into has a different reporting system and you do several reports a month. I talked with a large fire protection company near Dayton, Ohio who said he services over 2000 customers a year and this reporting would require him to hire added staff just to log the data. If I am not mistaken, there are about three of these "free database" software companies out there now. I would think more will want to get into the market soon. What I am reading from others here on this topic sure varies from what other local companies here in Ohio feel about it.

          I wonder if the fire department had to pay the fee and type in the data if they would feel different about it? Something free always comes with a price.
Ron Baumann, NICET IV
ProAlert Security Systems, LLC
Cincinnati, Ohio  
            My advice, use the Fire All in One.  It helps in this situation because it specifies that any AHJ requirements not covered in the contract price is charged to the subscriber.
            This is important because it's rare that a fire alarm job will be on T&M; it's always an agreed price, not only for the installation but for the after-install services, and that includes inspection.  It should make no difference if the AHJ demand involves additional installation cost or the added expense pertains to filing inspection reports.  If those reports are not specified in the contract price they are considered an extra imposed by the AHJ.  And, as Anon points out, NFPA and local fire departments and AHJs impose the obligations regarding the fire alarm on the building owner, not the alarm company.    The alarm company's responsibilities should be defined and limited in the contract with the subscriber and any expense not contemplated is the expense of 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