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disconnected communication on fire alarm system / more on thermal cameras / careful with fraud on The Alarm Exchange / register for webinars

June 1, 2020

Title:  What do sellers need to look for in the buy-sell transaction
When:  June 2, 2020 12 PM EST.
Presented by:  Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq.  Guest panelists:  Victor Harding, Mitch Reitman, Rory Russell, Dennis Stern,Esq
Who should attend:  Alarm owners for sale or thinking of selling
Register here:
Title:  selling and installing thermal imaging cameras and liability exposure
When:  June 4, 2020 12 PM EST.
Presented by:  Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq.  Guest panelists: Barry Levine, Pres of Sperry West
Who should attend:  owners, managers, sales people
disconnected communication on fire alarm system
    Interesting dilemma:
    We have a customer under contract for fire sprinkler monitoring in an apartment building.  The subscriber disconnected both phone lines to the alarm panel. We offered alternative radio but they have not approved. We put them on notice in writing that no signals can reach our dispatch center and we cannot dispatch without a communication path.  They’ve done nothing to resolve this but do continue to pay us on our contract.  Anything else we should be doing here?
Security First
       I am going to assume that you have the Fire All in One with this subscriber.  If you don't I would have no idea what obligations you might have.  Not only will I assume you have the Fire All in One, but I will further assume that the contract only requires you to provide monitoring, no repair service.  If it calls for inspection then you should perform the inspection service and issue your report to the subscriber and to the AHJ if it's required.  
    You were smart to document that you advised the subscriber that the alarm could not be monitored.  I suggest you also notify the AHJ that there is no monitoring possible because of no communication pathway.  
     You should be concerned because if there is a fire loss the subscriber, its insurance company and possibly third parties will be looking to you.  At the very least they will want to know what went wrong; why the alarm didn't work; was subscriber on notice of communication deficiencies.
    I defended a case where a school never installed a phone line in the library building.  The building burned to the ground; all the books too.  Lawsuit was started for over $13 million.  From records maintained by the alarm dealer and the central station we were able to establish that the phone line was never installed.  What made the case interesting was the fact that the subscriber had paid the dealer for monitoring for over 3 years and the dealer paid the central station.  I don't recommend emulating this example, but, .... happens.  Don't be on the wrong side of the fan.
Follow up on thermal cameras from article on May 21, 2020
            I read your article on May 21, 2020 about using temperature device cameras for human temperature taking.  So to be clear you Can NOT use a Temperature (Infra Red) Camera to take peoples temperature as they come into the building solely to meet CDC guidelines of taking peoples’ temperature for Convid 19 correct?
            In order to do this the camera has to be FDA approved for this use correct?    Could you use this type of non FDA Approved camera to get a general reading of people coming into a building / area to see if someone would need to be checked more using an FDA Approved thermometer?
            Sign up for the Webinar on this topic scheduled for this Thursday at noon.  Register here:                                                                                                      
            These devices are intended for mass evaluation of elevated temperature levels.  They are not intended as medical devices.  They don’t diagnose, treat, cure or prevent illness.  You’re in the security business, not medical field.  There are those who believe the law requires that all thermal imaging devices be medical grade and require FDA approval before installation and use.  That’s what FDA says. That’s what ADT, the largest alarm company I know of, apparently thinks, at least according to its website.  It’s what IPVM apparently thinks, though I am not sure what its position is.  The logical extension of the argument that these devices are medical and require FDA approval would be to require all PERS devices to be FDA approved.  That’s just not the case and it seems equally unrealistic to expect a device used to identify high level skin temperature to require FDA approval.  The device picks out someone from the crowd; that person needs to be tested individually, with a thermometer or swab or some other FDA approved device to diagnose an illness.  When you walk through a metal detector and set it off you aren’t presumed to be carrying a gun; you get checked with a wand, a pat down or some other individualized method.  Setting off a thermal camera device will not confirm Covid-19, and it sure won’t diagnose, treat, cure or prevent it.
            As far as the public’s perception and creating undue feeling of safety, who can argue with the ACLU?  There is an advocate for every cause, no matter how silly it may be, and a judge who buys it hook, line and sinker.  But I just don’t see it.  And this isn’t an issue for you, the alarm installer.  You will be protected by your contract, the updated Commercial All in One.  If your customer is concerned they can post a sign or have an audio recording going at the entrance or wherever the thermal cameras are placed, letting the public know that the cameras are not intended as prevention or protection, and they should wear masks, practice social distancing, wear a hazmat suit or just stay home.
            At the webinar on Thursday I hope to have those who manufacture and sell the devices to the alarm industry and alarm dealers who are selling the devices.  I hope to have an open mic so we may have some interesting participants.
Watch for spam and fraud on The Alarm Exchange
            Fraudsters have found The Alarm Exchange.  Not on the listings, but those responding to the posts.  Be careful who you deal with. The Alarm Exchange is for the alarm industry, not the public.  Whoever responds should be in the alarm industry, in the US or Canada.  They should have a website, business address, phone number besides a cell phone. 

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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