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

Comment on police and fire departments using auto-attendant / Comment on drug testing employees
April 4,  2022
Comment on police and fire departments using auto-attendant from March 25, 2022
          Re:  Subject: fire alarm signal retransmission to fire department
          Chapter 26 of the 2016 edition of NFPA 72 section 26.3.8 allows a maximum of 90 seconds for a fire alarm signal once initiated from a premise until it is displayed at the central station. This is the first timing regiment. Section*, found in the annex, states that the central station shall “immediately retransmit the signal to the fire command center.”
           In annex A under A26.2.1.2 it qualifies the word "immediate" to mean "without unreasonable delay" and goes on to say that routine signal handling at the central station should take a maximum of 90 seconds upon alarm receipt without unreasonable delay.
          So, what could be a reasonable delay?  
  *  The time it takes for the public switched telephone network to route the call once the central station has dialed the fire dispatch phone number could be one delay.
  *  If the fire command dispatch phone number that was dialed shows a busy signal and must be redialed.
  *  The time it takes for fire command or dispatch center recording to tell the caller to hold or press a digit for a specific response.
  *  The time it takes for the fire command dispatch to answer the phone and take the call from the central station reporting the alarm could be another reasonable delay. 
          These are examples of the reasonable delays I have seen with alarm reporting that are outside the control of any central station.
          Section 26.2.2 talks about verification which we do not do on commercial fire alarms; but, it talks about a maximum of 90 seconds for routine handling from the receipt time of an alarm or until the end of the verification time until initiation of or the retransmission to the fire communications dispatch center. 26.2.2 also has an annex to help explain this.
          In earlier year editions of NFPA 72, it talked about this under “end to end communications times”. NFPA 72 uses the phrase "without unreasonable delay" but, they don't give examples of what a reasonable delay is, like I have illustrated above.
          In order to accurately time a fire alarm signal you would need mark the time when it was first initiated at the premise and then when it is displayed at the central station. This is the first 90 second hurdle.
          The next 90 seconds is the time the central station has until it makes the "attempt" to communicate the signal to the fire command or dispatch center. This timing stops when the central station operator dials the fire dispatch phone number. 
          I have been on past jobs where Fire Inspectors have said that the alarm should be coming across their radio within 2 or 3 minutes from the time the horn strobes activate and even called it "time to dispatch." This is not true or supported by NFPA 72 and has been a misunderstanding for some time now.
          One thing that helps out is if you have a smart phone app from your central station that shows the account in live time as to when an alarm comes in and the time it is being dispatched on. Rapid Response Monitoring has this app and I get many praises from AHJ'S who can see when a signal is first received, then operator action taken, and then that a dispatch is made.
          The newer ASAP to PSAP cuts alarm dispatch time way down to just a few seconds. If your central station has the app, use it, and show it to your fire and building officials during your acceptance testing.  
  Ron Baumann, NICET IV
          One of the first things I do when defending an alarm company on a claim alleging alarm failure is check the central station activity report.  The report will show exact time signal arrived at the central station and the exact time the operator made other calls, whether to the subscriber, the call list or first responders.  This is a powerful record that can take the wind out of the Plaintiff’s lawyer’s sails. 
          But not all time lines are the same, though I suppose they should be, at least for fire. 
          If I read you correctly, there is a 90 second period for the signal to get from the subscriber’s premises to the central station.  Then there is another 90 seconds for the central station operator to call first responders, the fire department on a fire signal.  That is 180 seconds, 3 minutes [as Jack Reacher would calculate].  I defer to your expert credentials, though I would have guessed that the time from signal to dispatch would be 90 seconds. 
          The original discussion involved the delay at the fire department receiving end by using auto-attend “push the right button” responses, necessitating more delay.
          It is obvious but should be noted that the alarm company has no control over signal speed from initiation to receipt at the central station.  This speed is wholly dependent on common carriers.  Presumably the central station does have control over how long an operator takes from signal arrival and dispatch to first responders; of course the dealer has no such control.  The central station’s activity report will log the time-line, and the time-line for the dispatch call will start when the operator dials the number for first responder, and will not log the time it takes for the first responder operator, the 911 operator, to pick-up that call.  Also obvious, the dealer and central station has no control of how first responders handle the dispatch call, whether it goes to auto-attendant, whether the call is placed on hold or whether the 911 operator wants to chat about additional information before dispatching or deciding to dispatch.
          Fire experts and the central stations are welcome to comment on Ron’s interpretation and my discussion.  And thanks to Ron for sharing his expert advice.
Comment on drug testing employees from article on March 30, 2022
          Re:  article on employers drug testing employees
          Your departing comment: "Make sure you're sober when calling".
          Love it.
          I have met some alarm company owners that are more impaired all day than any worker I have ever been on a job with.

To order up to date Standard Form Alarm /  Security / Fire and related Agreements click here:
CONCIERGE LAWYER SERVICE PROGRAM FOR THE ALARM INDUSTRY You can check out the program and sign up here: or contact our Program Coordinator Stacy Spector, Esq at 516 747 6700 x 304.
ALARM ARTICLES:  You can always read our Articles on our website at  updated daily             
THE ALARM EXCHANGE - the alarm industries leading classified and business exchange - updated daily
Wondering how much your alarm company is worth?  
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