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Comments on Customer blames ADT for fire alarm fines for code violations

April 25, 2023
Comments on Customer blames ADT for fire alarm fines for code violations from article on April 17, 2023
          And.....there is more to that..... Depending on "timeframes" the alarm co might be violating code by removing the old system
          Residential code requires hardwired non removable smokes....
          Your April 17, 2023 post, regarding the homeowner whose fire alarm system wasn’t installed to Code contains the quote, It is the responsibility of licensed alarm contractors to have knowledge of the applicable regulations, codes and standards," Drucker said. "Licensed Alarm Contractors, as well as Electrical Contractors are required to attend continuing education to maintain your licensure.  It isn’t unusual for us to encounter companies trying to sell that aren’t aware of fire and building codes, or aren’t properly licensed or trained to install and service a large portion of their accounts.  It makes it harder to sell the company, and amazes me how lucky the owners were that they weren’t fined, shut down, or hit with an expensive lawsuit. We also hear the comment “no one told us the Code had changed.”  
          There are over 15,000 independent security and fire alarm companies in the U.S.  Most states have Alarm Associations and I spend a good deal of time travelling to their meetings and conventions to participate in training.  Additionally, manufacturers provide free training.  We are lucky to have representatives from 10 -15 companies show up at these training sessions.  There is no excuse for not being aware of changes to Code, Licensing, and Regulations.  You wouldn’t want me to tell you that I missed something in your tax return because I wasn’t aware of a change in the IRS Code, nor should an alarm company not be aware of changes either. 
          The situation in your blog was resolved with a small refund.  No lives were lost, no one was injured.  This should be a wake-up call for a lot of your readers that, at the end of the day, this profession is about safety and security, and that it is important to stay current.
Mitch Reitman 
817 698 9999 XT 101 
Reitman Consulting Group
Fort Worth, TX
          I read all of your notes. On this one with ADT. I have a question. What was the code required fire system? Residentially they require 120v interconnected smoke outside and inside the rooms.
          I have seen in many cases the alarm company add a smoke in a common area to add protection and fire dept dispatch. I just wanted more info.
 Great Job.
     Cynthia Branen-Hart here, a former/retired ADT Corporate sales rep in Oregon. I've always said FIRE is a 4 letter word, and of course, you shouldn't EVER play with FIRE. 
     This is regarding (ADT) installing wireless smokes to replace existing hardwired smokes and NOT removing those hardwired smokes at time of 'Residential Install/Takeover' of alarm systems.
     HERE ARE EXCUSES/REASONS I'VE HEARD from a variety of ADT installing technicians (while working at ADT Corporate) as to why they don't or won't remove existing hardwired smokes: 
1)  We didn't install those and we don't know what it's connected to and we don't want to get electrocuted.
2)  Looks like a high voltage electrician installed it, and a high voltage electrician has to uninstall it. We're low voltage.
3) I can take this ONE down, (in bedroom hallway) sure, real quick, no problem Mr & Mrs Smith.  It's easy to reach, but it'll leave a hole in the ceiling and the wires will show, and you probably have to paint the circle under it. Are you sure you want me to remove it? I thought not.
4) You have vaulted ceilings and we don't have a ladder that tall.
5) It's not on the contract. Contact your salesperson.
6) That's "extra labor" Call our Service Dept. and set an appt with them. ($185 per hour 15 years ago.)
7) Ah, you should have asked me sooner, I'm all packed up and ready to go, now sign here, the job is all complete.
     I've heard a few other 'excuses', 'reasons', and 'fibs' why ADT's technicians won't touch other smokes but I can't think of all of  them right now. However, I am pretty sure this confusing issue is not limited to just ADT's sales force. I bet it is an industry wide problem.
     So, in my commentary conclusion, I agree with Mr. Silvia's quote: "Salespeople are part of the problem"  and, your comments: "I agree alarm salesmen need to be trained and should know the code requirements for systems they sell."  (AND SO SHOULD INSTALLING TECHNICIANS!!! They should be a salesperson's backup, not their accomplice!) With this NJ case in point, it sounds like sending undertrained salespeople AND undertrained technicians is still an industry wide problem.  And that's playing with fire.
Cynthia Branen-Hart
Retired Security Consultant

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
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