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Comments on allowing cs operators to work from home / Register today for diligence webinar
September 9, 2022
Comment on allowing cs operators to work from home from article on August 9, 2022
          You stated that NFPA has approved work from home.  That’s partially true that they allowed for work from home for a temporary emergency but it’s not been approved as a permanent condition.
          The temporary event is determined within UL 827, it keys on government declaring an emergency and then saying the emergency is over, Currently the Biden administration still has the emergency orders in place but tells everyone that it will likely end sometime late October, At a state level it’s all over the map. But I can also imagine a world where the emergency might continue for longer
          UL 827 has been completed to allow those that want to work from home, it has more in it then the emergency standards did but it’s an available option now if you want work from home as long as you meet the new 827 standards, but that is a separate standard that governs monitoring centers compared to NFPA 72 that regulates fire monitoring, at least commercial fire alarm monitoring.
          I believe that it’s going to be an uphill battle to get fire marshals to allow work from home, it’s a complicated and hot topic to work through with pros and cons for each side and each of us has different insights on the matter. As you know Rapid Response is committed for the foreseeable future to have agents inside our hardened and secure facilities while others are very comfortable to have staff at home.
          At the very least notifications that a fundamental change in service should be part of the process, even NFPA requires that if you move a fire alarm account from one monitoring center to the other that you must notify the subscriber and in some jurisdictions UL and the local AHJ.
 Morgan Hertel, VP of Technology and Innovation
Rapid Response Monitoring
Another comment
          I venture to say that this will garner a vilified response, but someone has got to say it.
     People are people, many/most "employees" without supervision are not going to do the job as well as an employee who knows that someone ( Boss, Supervisor, manager ) can directly oversee what they do. Even under THOSE circumstances, some employees will try to get away with whatever they can to get out of doing work. And there's no way to tell which ones will and which ones won't. .
     One of the most important jobs a company owner has (whether they admit it or not) (and they must smile and be a comrade while doing it)  is to make sure that vendors (by over-charging), customers (by not paying), and employees ( by not working to capacity), do not "steal" from the company.
     Personally, from what I've seen of Zwirn's record in this industry I rank him as a scuzz bucket, but on this matter I think he's right on.
Jim Davis
Certified Alarm
Another comment
          I do not often agree with the depth of Jeff Zwrin’s writings, but in this case he is applying standard business logic about employee (central station operator) supervision, performance and the overall security of the customer data.
          I have been operating my company, U.S.A. Central Station Alarm Corp. since 1982 and my management team has placed the highest attention to these points as well as some others that directly point to the professionalism and effectiveness of each and every employee of my company.
          When covid occurred we didn’t move employees out of the spaces of our three offices (we currently have four) to their homes, rather we reconfigured spaces and shift staffing. We also started to automate the lower priority signals to keep our actions on high priority signals timely.
          Now I understand how remote employees could be an attractive answer for vertical companies like XYZ and the wholesale monitoring companies (my prime competition) who are out in the marketplace with rates that prostitutes couldn’t match just to boost the number of accounts they monitor for the investor self-gratification growth report at the end of the month or quarter. These companies face the same challenge as the reputable companies like U.S.A.,, the dwindling workforce, government increased minimum wages adding pressure to increase our wages to maintain our workforce. Remote workers don’t save a central station money, but it increases the potential pool of employees who will never be seen much less interviewed in person.
          There are way too many pitfalls to remote monitors that the mind can imagine as reasonable for me to even consider this path.
          Think about this, classic Zwirn working for the plaintiff on a claim against the monitoring and alarm company,  
          Facts –
          alarm monitor fails to do their job, alarm monitor is a remote worker, the monitor is distracted and someone else in the house takes an action contrary to  the company training because they sit near by and learns the keyboard commands, the result is a substantial loss.
          Deposition –
          Plaintiff attorney to central station representative, “Shouldn’t it have been foreseeable that the operators terminal could be compromised while the operator left the terminal to go to the bathroom, or kitchen for a cup of coffee and the operator was not alone in the home?”
          Plaintiff attorney to central station representative, “As he professional you claim to be, is it not your responsibility to try and foresee anything and everything, and to take all reasonable measures to mitigate the foreseeable in your operation for the benefit of your customers?”
          Plaintiff attorney to central station representative, “So based on your affirmative answer, wouldn’t you say that the actions of your employee were indeed posable and foreseeable since they did happen?”
          This is the point that your insurance carrier walks in, stops the deposition, offers the policy limits and leaves the central station on its own.
          So, begrudgingly I have to agree with Jeff Zwirn; remote monitors are not the best practices for our industry and the Standards Committee should not proceed any further to allow the practice.
          U.S.A. has not and will not in the foreseeable future follow the path or our competitors as we believe in traditional central station service and the way we will maintain this service, we will not prostitute our professional values or pricing model. If alarm dealers want the least cost option, don’t call my company.
Bart A. Didden, President
U.S.A. Central Station Alarm Corp.
Port Chester, NY
Milford, CT
St. Paul, MN
Pasco, WA
          Working remotely has affected lots of businesses and industries, and while there is a growing sentiment that in-office work will now be required there is likely to be many exceptions.  Criticism of Jeff Zwirn for his opinion is unwarranted and many agree with his concerns.  The fact that Jeff frequently offers his services as an alarm expert working for both for and against alarm companies shouldn’t lessen the significance of the warning. 
          As far as increased liability to the alarm industry, that verdict is certainly not in, and, incidentally, I’m not sure it’s an appropriate topic for an alarm expert in a case where there is operator working from home error.  If the laboratories that help establish industry standards, and sometimes define industry standards, approve of remote operator monitoring then all an alarm expert could really testify to is that the standards for remote monitoring, whatever they may be, were not met.  That’s different than expressing an opinion that no remote monitoring should be permitted; that ship, at least for now, has sailed.

Registration for Sept 13, 2022 webinar on performing due diligence
          We’ve all heard the terminology, due diligence, in connection with a transaction to buy alarm accounts, but what due diligence actually consists of and how you get it done is not as familiar to everyone. In fact, due diligence can run the gamut from a cursory review of records to a comprehensive analysis that comes close to [and sometimes exceeds] a forensic financial audit.  Who you can and should engage for due diligence can also be an elusive choice. 
          Jim Wooster, Jr., of AFS [Alarm Financial Services], a lender to the alarm industry collateralized by alarm accounts, is opening a new service to perform Due Diligence.  I asked Jim to do a webinar to introduce his new Due Diligence service and it will be presented on September 13, 2022 at noon ET.  See you then.
Webinar:  Due Diligence in alarm industry on buy-sell or loan transaction
When:  September 13, 2022  12PM  ET
Topic:  Due diligence; what it means, what it involves, how it's performed and who  you can get to do it
Presented by:  Jim Wooster, Jr., President of Alarm Financial Services, Inc 
Hosted by:  Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Who should attend:  Alarm company owners, CFO, buyers and sellers

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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