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Fire alarm and fire protection contracts / Comment on sending out WORD doc contract 
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February 24, 2022
Webinars Schedule: See below for details and Registration
Today's Webinar:
February 24, 2022:  issues buying or selling alarm company and broker's roll
March 1, 2022:        All-in-One Operations and Accounting Software for Security Integrators
March 8, 2022.         Recruiting, hiring and retaining field talent
Fire alarm and fire protection contracts
            We purchased a number of your contracts last year and have been using the Residential All in One and the Commercial All in One for our residential and commercial fire alarm accounts.  We are now starting to offer sprinkler inspection, backflow testing and repair services and purchased your Fire Protection All in One.
            As we start to do sprinkler work for our fire alarm accounts, should I assume I just have them sign the Fire Protection All in One and keep it on file along with their fire alarm contract?
            In addition, when signing up a new account who wants both fire alarm and sprinkler services, am I to assume I have them sign both contracts individually?
   Thanks for your assistance.
 Brad Wolniak, NICET III 
            The proper contract for commercial fire alarm accounts is the Fire All in One; you don't mention that one.  You cannot use a Commercial All in One for fire; it's a security alarm and systems contract covering intrusion, access control, cameras and everything else except fire.  The Fire All in One covers commercial fire alarms.
            The fire alarm industry is distinct from the fire protection industry, both in terms of what systems they install and services they provide, as well as philosophically.  Fire alarms detect fire; fire protection systems extinguish fires and that's a big difference.  There is some overlap with alarm companies doing fire protection as well, but it's not that common. 
            Because fire alarm and fire protection are different businesses the contracts are different.  You must use two contracts, one for fire alarm and one for fire protection.
            The Residential All in One covers security and fire alarm; it does not cover fire protection.  Sprinkler systems are required in some high end residences.  Since the Fire Protection contract does not come in residential form you will have to ask us to modify the form for you [a request we haven't had yet]. 
Comment on sending out WORD doc contract from  article on February 8, 2022
        We would never send out an agreement in Word or any form that can be easily changed, always a PDF.  Our practice is to send out the agreement via email for signature a few days before getting together and signing original documents we bring with us.  The reason we do this is so the subscriber has less argument in saying I didn't have time to read and review the document.  We have had a couple of subscribers say things like "I didn't have time to review it" or I didn't understand it", to which I said, you had x days to review and question it before we signed the originals and that argument became moot. 
            Two people in the past ten years said they didn't realize and understand what they were signing and had to rush into signing without time to think.   Then I said, it was emailed to you with a list of questions, you answered the questions (questions for the central office like authorized user list) then the next day you sent the signed agreement, two days later we came to the site and we signed the originals, and I see you have your college diploma on the wall along with Masters in Education, Masters in Business, etc.,,,,, argument ended.
            Even with a PDF you need to be careful because a PDF can be edited, so in a way, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.  That means you too have to read the contract before you sign it, unless you send it to the customer already signed by you, which is a good idea for a couple of reasons.  First reason is that you won't forget to sign it when it comes back from the customer.  Second, if a customer does edit the PDF and it's not an obvious edit or not mentioned to you in a communication, you could argue that the modification is not effective.  Better not to get involved with that kind of dispute. 
            It's not easy to edit a PDF, at least that's my experience, but I'm sure technology will evolve and it will become easier and more commonplace. 
            The law is pretty clear and consistent that a person has an obligation to read contract before signing and not to do so is negligence which will not relieve the person from the contract.  That will apply to you too. 

Webinars:  Registration - sign up today
Today's webinar:
Webinar Title: issues buying or selling alarm company and broker's roll
When: February 24, 2022, at 12:00 PM Eastern time
Topic Details: How to prepare for negotiations and what to expect
Presented by: Ron Davis and Kelly Bond of Davis Mergers & Acquisitions Group
Who should attend: Company owners, CEOs, CFOs
Register here:
Webinar Title:  All-in-One Operations and Accounting Software for Security Integrators
When:  March 1, 2022 12 PM ET
Topic Details:  Software platform created specifically for the security installer industry. FieldHub tackles some of the thorniest operational arenas that other platforms leave behind, including RMR management and inventory tracking, all on a robust, native general ledger platform to keep your revenue and expenses in sync.  Learn how FieldHub provides a single system to manage leads and proposals through project and field service management, inventory, recurring/deferred revenue management, and full accounting.
Presenter:  Miles Fawcett, CEO FieldHub Inc.   Phone: 202.417.8196
Hosted by:  Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq.,
Who should attend:   Company owners, CEOs, CFOs, Manager, back office personnel who work with management software
Register Here:
Webinar Title:  Recruiting, hiring and retaining field talent
When:  March 8, 2022 12 PM ET
Topic Details:  Even before the pandemic, hiring and retaining field talent in the security industry was growing increasingly difficult.  This webinar will explore the best ways to find talent, prequalify them and develop enthusiasm to consider joining your team as well as how to quickly determine if a candidate’s psychomotor skills match their resume. Webinar will discuss skill matrixes and why they are valuable tools to incentivize and retain talent, help improve morale and promote consistent, transparent compensation.
Presenter:  Peter Goldring, SET, NICET #143428 Fire Alarm Systems, Level IV, ACFE Certified Fraud Examiner.  Peter M. Goldring Consulting LLC Phone  516-640-1410
Hosted by:  Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq.,
Who should attend:   Company owners, CEOs, CFOs, Manager, Human Resource Personnel
Register Here:

Comments on abort or cancel signals from article on January 22, 2022
          This is regarding the January 22, 2922 post about inconsistent response by “central station” to abort or cancel signals generated by an alarm system.  From the relatively wide variety of responses by different operators at the central station it appears to be an “operator training issue”. 
          A central station should have a regular training regimen for operators with ”retraining” on a regular basis.  The central station should also be establishing standards regarding information and instructions that each dealer should supply when a new account is set up.  Example - when we set up new residential account for burg and fire we instruct central station to call protected premises twice before dispatch, if no contact made or incorrect password, dispatch.  Abort or cancel signal from alarm system does not change the above instruction.  An abort or cancel signal from the alarm system could easily be generated by customer under duress.
Seth Oginz
Security Consultants Unlimited
Another comment
          Regarding Anon and Abort/Cancel Signals from Jan 22, 2022:
          Different alarm companies, of course, may want their signals handled different ways for a variety of reasons, but here are some suggestions which have proved useful over the years:
          First, here are some descriptions which may be useful:
Abort/Cancel signal
Duress disarm signal
Duress password
Panic alarm signal
          The Abort/Cancel Signal is a signal which is sent after a normal non-emergency disarm. I suggest that the central station always call the client on this signal. It gives the client an opportunity to give to the central station the Duress Password, which will be explained below. It also give the client a warm fuzzy to know that his system is actually working, communicating with the central station, and that an actual person saw the signal and responded to it. That builds loyalty, knowing that when he makes his monitoring payment, that there really is someone "watching over" him, and he is not just sending money into a black hole, wondering if his system is actually working while hoping for the best. It is a contact with the client.
          The Duress Disarm Signal is a signal which is sent to the central station when the client disarms with a special disarm code instead of the regular disarm code. This feature can be used in the instance in which a client is being forced by the bad guys to disarm the system. The code can be anything, including something simple and easy to remember, such as reversing the first two digits of the regular disarm code. Most alarm panels can be programmed by the alarm company to send a standard disarm signal when that user disarm code is entered. The alarm siren is programmed by the alarm company to NOT sound. The central station will usually NOT call the premises so as to not alert the bad guys that anything is amiss. But if the central station does happen to call, then the client would give the Duress Password. The central station would notify the authorities that there was a duress situation, NOT a regular burglar alarm signal.
          The Duress Password is a verbal word or phrase which the client would use any time he is talking with the central station and there is a duress situation underway, and the client cannot actively ask for help. Perhaps the bad guys are standing next to him when the central station calls and asks if everything is OK. The client could then reply that everything is OK, but give the Duress Password instead of the usual password. The central station would say something to the effect of "OK Have a good evening." or similar. The central station would then notify the authorities that the client was on location and he actively gave a verbal duress password. Duress and Panic verbal passwords and signals usually are given a higher priority than a standard burglar alarm signal. Well, they were in previous staffing level times.
          A Panic Alarm Signal is a signal the alarm panel would send if a panic button on the keypad was pressed. Most keypads have this feature. Pushing the panic button usually is programmed to sound the local siren. The central station could call the premises and ask for a password. Perhaps the person who pushed the panic button could give further info which could be passed on to the authorities. The central station would call the authorities and say that the panic button at the premises was actively pushed by someone at the location, and stress it was not just a burglar alarm signal.
          I feel that the person who pays the central station is the one who gets to specify, within reason, how signals are handled, not the central station. Most modern central station automation software has the ability to attach instructions to the operators about how to handle each signal. Attaching instructions which pop up when a signal arrives for each type of signal would help eliminate different operators handling the signal differently. In this time of staffing shortages, specific instructions attached to each kind of signals would help poorly or partially trained operators better know how to react to that signal.
          If any central station cannot or will not follow the alarm company's instructions, then the relationship with the alarm company and the central station needs to be re-evaluated. If the central station says, "my way or the highway", then the highway might be the better answer in the long run. There are several central stations listed in Ken's Alarm Exchange which would be glad to follow reasonable instructions given by the alarm company on how to handle alarm signals and passwords.
          Ken, please list me as
          It’s important for central stations to train operators and there should be standard procedures for responding to common signals.  I believe companies like NFPA, ETL and UL offer guidelines for response.  Whatever the procedure it should be in writing, it should be available to the dealers and it should be provided to the customers upon request.  We are not talking about a central station’s proprietary training manual, but a list of signals and how they are to be responded to.
          Despite operator training, technology sophistication, pop-up instructions, I think it increases risk when a customer asks the dealer and the dealer asks the central station to deviate from standard procedures.  I think it adds to operator mistakes.  So be careful what you ask for.

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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