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Comments on Central station operators working from home
August 31,  2023
Comments on Central station operators working from home from article on August 9, 2023
          As an Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) I agree that monitoring and handling of signals, whether it be security, fire alarm, fire sprinkler, gas detection, supervisory signals outside the confines of the listed supervising station facility is questionable.  
          However, as an AHJ we are also bound by the adopted codes and standards.  If the codes and standards permit same, then so be it. The government doesn't ask if I agree with all the codes and standards, the government expects AHJs to enforce them as adopted by law.
          The 2021 International Building Code (IBC) states the following; (p.s. the bracketed [F] indicates these same provisions exist in the 2021 International Fire Code (IFC))
          2021 IBC - [F] 907.6.6 Monitoring. Fire alarm systems required by this chapter or by the International Fire Code shall be monitored by an approved supervising station in accordance with NFPA 72
          2021 IBC [F] 907.6.6.1 Transmission of alarm signals. Transmission of alarm signals to a supervising station shall be in accordance with NFPA 72.
          This is the code. So long as the supervising station is approved (listed), i.e. UL, FM, ETL....and fulfills the requirements of NFPA-72 (National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code) , i.e. disposition and handling of signals, the AHJ requirements are satisfied. 
          Onward, many may not be aware that the 2021 International Building Codes (IBC) now also contains the following;
          2021 IBC [F] 907.6.6.2 MIY Monitoring. Direct transmission of alarms associated with monitor it yourself (MIY) transmitters to a public safety answering point (PSAP) shall not be permitted unless approved by the fire code official.
          How many are aware of that ? Yes, you read that right "Monitor it Yourself". The code, however, does require the approval of the fire code official to do so, so there is a safeguard, well maybe so long as the fire code official has a valid reason to deny such.  The point is that MIY has found its way into a code adopted in most states and internationally.
          The UL, ICC and NFPA all participate in the ANSI Consensus Code Making Process.  In other words, people supported this, and enough others did not object, to the promulgation of what's in the codes and standards. 
          In summary the Industry, and that includes every interested party, needs to participate in codes and standards rule making and further the adoption process by government.  We’ve all seen and heard this before, "how did this happen", "that rule doesn't make sense", and the most famous of all "when did they change that".  
          It happened nationally and right here in New Jersey when home fire alarm systems got written out of the International Residential Code (IRC) in 2006. The hard work of many in the industry that got involved changed that back in the 2009 IRC restoring the provisions for primary residential fire alarm systems.
   Food for thought,
John Drucker
Licensed Code Official - CO/SCO/Fire Electrical Building (NJ)
ICC Certified
NICET Certified
another comments
Great article- says what should have been said a while back- congrats to Jeff for willing to put up the cash to get the message out- and thanks to Jeff Atkins for helping to raise this issue and more importantly proving that one can still get operators into the central station, albeit as you say at a higher hourly wage- which in many cases was probably long overdue.
          Final point, I think most customer alarm contracts reference monitoring at a "Central facility" or "Central Station Facility"; if that is the case there are all kinds of issues that would arise if the signals are now monitored at "joe's" house and there is a missed signal and a breakin or fire; the question would then arise if under those circumstances the limitation clause would still be held applicable as to any damage claims? In addition, there may be a host of other regulatory questions about disclosure requirements to one's customers about the service they subscribed for and the service they are getting.
Dennis Stern, Esq
Off Counsel
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC

          Industry people make up the TMA UL Standards Committee members (an overwhelming majority I might add) which continue to push UL and now NFPA for this irresponsible change to work from home. It’s a shame they will not come forward to defend their actions.
Name withheld
          This topic is high priority in the alarm industry and apparently polarizing, though curiously not one industry “expert” or central station owner or manager has come forward to admit to using remote home operators or explain why their central station allows it and why they think it’s just as effective as in-house monitoring.
          This is also as topic that many are not willing to discuss publicly.  I heard from many dealers and central stations who explained their positions and wanted to discuss the topic, but not have their name in print.  I am writing this article well in advance of today’s date, but as of now no one has accepted Jeff Zwirn’s offer to debate the issue.  I think it’s strange that some dealers and central station owners seem to know which central stations permit remote home monitoring, but no one is willing to name these central stations.  Could be that these central stations that permit remote home monitoring simply do not see any issue; no topic to discuss.  I suppose their position can be its UL approved, perhaps soon to be NFPA approved, and so far no evidence of diminished monitoring effectiveness [I am not aware of any lawsuit yet on this topic, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one].
          I’ve had comments that I was asked not to circulate yet, and some not at all.  I am sure this topic is not finished yet. 

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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