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Comments on Large fire with non-code system - now what
April 27 2024
Comments on Large fire with non-code system - now what from article on April 12, 2024   April 27, 2024
          Good advice, except for the part about the dealer accessing the building to assess if the fire alarm detected the fire.  Under no circumstances should the dealer ever enter a fire scene or attempt to retrieve or modify system programming after a loss.  If the dealer knows that the fire alarm control panel is in danger of not being preserved, the fire investigator should be alerted, in writing. After the fire investigator, police and the cause and origin expert have given clearance, it’s time to hire an independent expert.  Two very able individuals who regularly contribute to your blog come to mind.  
          Depending on the circumstances and to the extent possible, we will review the fire scene, fire and police reports, photographs, central station history, installation documents, service and inspection reports, AHJ approvals, notices of violations and a host of other documents.  We will document everything about the panel, its programming and matrix of operation.  We will determine if it was installed as directed and operated as intended.
          If the results of this investigation are favorable to the dealer, it’s a vital tool to help redirect claims of liability and/or negligence.  If not, the information is crucial for defense counsel and the insurer to formulate an appropriate plan to settle or defend against the loss and minimize exposure.
          The biggest mistake I frequently see is hiring the expert long after the loss occurs.  At that point, the case is in advanced litigation and essential evidence is long gone.  The fees are the same or higher and the expert’s support substantially less effective.  
Peter Goldring, SET, CFE, CAT
          Fire alarm companies are not First Responders and generally won’t be invited onto an active fire scene.  But not all fire end up with buildings cordoned off.  If the building is accessible, and the activity of the fire alarm panel is unknown, and the panel has a history, and the panel is not damaged and is functional, the fire alarm company should either secure the panel or access and preserve the history.
          Other measures may include getting the call log from the telephone company or other communication pathway and getting and preserving the central station’s activity report.  You may also find the Fire Department report helpful; the FD records all activity from signal to leaving the scene; generally a full investigation. 
          By the way, congratulations to Peter; he is now an elected Fire Commissioner, so he joins the ranks of the AHJs who contribute to this forum.  We appreciate his expertise and commitment.

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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