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More Comments on licensing for Fire Protection and Fire Alarm and Burg Alarm
August 8 2023
More Comments on licensing for Fire Protection and Fire Alarm and Burg Alarm from article on July 26, 2023
          A quick response; a few months ago my barber told me that to be a barber requires 2,100 hours of training, while it only takes 620 hours to be a police officer (Iowa), something to think about.
 Thank You,
Jim Posey
          This email about NYS and FDNY Licenses is nothing more than the same old thing that I have been hearing for more than 33 years.
          The easy comment in response to your statement about trust or respect by the FDNY to your comment about NYS Law 6D is twofold. First, the FDNY rules and regulations preceded the NYS Law 6D and once that bureaucracy was established there was no power on Earth that could undo it. Second,, by NYS Law any community of more than 1 million residents retain full home rule over all legislative actions for Laws that pertain to its own jurisdiction. Currently this covers only NYC (and its boroughs) and Syracuse.
          Now onto NYS Law Article 6D.
          As one of the handful of industry leaders who was fully involved in the creation, lobbing and maintenance of the Law and Regulations, I am uniquely qualified to recount on all of the aspects of the history of this effort.
          The sole purpose of the Law was to usurp the plethora of onerous Laws that were increasing seemingly daily across the State. Just in Westchester County alone there were over 18 alarm laws at the individual jurisdiction level. Many of these Laws required an annual fee for the company, many included a fee for each employee, some required each employee to be fingerprinted however these local jurisdictions  were precluded from “running” the prints for conviction history, so they would just file these prints to eliminate any alarm customers who were burglarized to rule out the alarm company employees. But even worse, these local police departments were also precluded from retaining this prints for more than one year, so each employee would have to be reprinted each year. This was a significant expense to any alarm company from the largest ADT to the smallest, all of which was represented by the alarm associations.
          Of course there was no enforcement by these local jurisdictions.
          Jeff comments that the Law is a “joke”. That is his opinion and he has every right to believe it and say it anywhere he wants.
          But my comment is these industry members are looking for a crutch to help them through their professional career. There are many such companies and they are everywhere. The central station industry has ruined the marketplace and the idea of fair competition by supporting and passing licensing Laws that have onerous restrictions such as residency requirements and not technology or staffing. These industry members are looking to stifle competition by using government interference. In NYS there was an industry member who was an IEEE, and he wanted college educations to own and work at an alarm company, how convenient when he had all of those letters after his name. I call it self-serving and anti-competitive at best.
          Last week I commented how an alarm company should review a job they lost to an IT company to learn how his quotes were shredded by his competition. Knowing who your competition is the best way to compete and win against them. What do you think two gas stations do on opposite corners? They just look at the posted price and decide to maintain the margins by offering full service or match the price and offer no services. What doesn’t the alarm industry see to this very simple principle. I would imagine that your readers use the “we are professionals” argument when trying to get their contracts signed.
          A license in any state does not insure to any consumer that the system they are getting is any better or any worse than from another alarm company. The license creates an illusion that if the consumer has an issue in the future the consumer can go to the licensing authority for its pound of flesh. Good luck. I have seen attorneys who got convicted of tax violations and after probation or jail time get their license reinstated so are you going to tell us that some underfunded and understaffed alarm units is going to do better than the Bar Association?
          But back to where we started, IN MY OPINION, the NYS Law 6D has saved the industry millions of dollars in real fees and lost time for compliance but Jeff and a hand full of others will never see the forest through the trees. 6D should have been the model rather than the example that the other 40 plus states needed something better or harder. There is a Jeff in every State and I am sure you are going to hear from many of them.
          They say hope springs eternal, maybe someone will write to agree with me.
Bart A. Didden, President
U.S.A. Central Station Alarm Corp.
Port Chester, NY
Milford, CT
St. Paul, MN
Pasco, WA
          The message from Jeff in NYC concerning licensing, professionalism, and the changing (changed) face of electronic security was interesting. I am old school like him and experienced much of the same, learning by the failures (to the consumer) of others; especially the large corporate models. 
          We might say that ‘a fool and his money are soon parted’ whether it be by a long term monthly contract or one time investment. In the 80’s, before financing, the average cost for a residential system was over $1,200 where I live and, of course, constituted far more than a motion sensor and the doors. Regardless, a half-baked security system may be worse than having nothing since now the uneducated may believe they can rely on a security system that really isn’t one. 
          Your response “ The basis of a civilized society is that everyone will follow the rules” is true of course. But it might imply we can actual have rules that replace common sense. In the end, the only real rule is caveat emptor. 
Zeke in Oklahoma 
          Massachusetts Division of Occupational Licensure has a Security System S-License that security companies and all their employees are supposed to have. However, I know of several companies that don’t have this. Attempts to file a complaint with the State against know offenders goes nowhere.
Jason Alcock
          We should all be able to agree that:
  *  those engaged in life safety, burglar and fire alarm industry, security should be properly trained, evaluated and licensed in some fashion
  *  different trades require different training and should require different licenses
  *  an additional reason for licensing and AHJ oversight is that alarm industry employees have access to and work with consumers and there needs to be some AHJ oversight on who these employees are, where they work, criminal background checks and minimal training requirements
  *  while the definition of engaging in the security or fire alarm business may differ from state to state, resulting in different laws from state to state, permitting every municipality to have its own laws and rules impeded and made the security and fire alarm industry less efficient and business more burdensome than it needed to be.  In other words, a statewide license that usurped and replaced local municipal licenses was a good idea
  *  oversight by licensing agencies fosters license compliance and generally increases the professionalism of the industry
  *  license enforcement for the most part focuses on those who have the license, and not on those who do not
  *  repercussions for those engaging in the security or alarm business without a license is spotty and often times feels like non-existent, but some jurisdictions do have a better handle on license enforcement than others
  *  there are always going to be bad apples and others who push the envelope, no doubt annoying those who follow the rules.  It's easier swimming with the current than against it.

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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