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More on third party fire alarm records reporting

June 18, 2022
More on third party fire alarm records reporting from June 7, 2022 article
          In response to Steve L on online fire reporting:
          There are several steps I have taken that you may wish to try on your end. First, contact the fire department in question and discuss the issues that smaller and medium sized alarm companies will have with this reporting but, don't expect much at this point. It is not only the added cost, its the added time to do all this reporting assuming you are doing 30, 40 or many more of these test reports every month. This unnecessary process will keep you working later and longer only so a fire department can enjoy a free database.  I spoke to a medium sized Ohio fire protection company that services around 2000 customers that said he would have to hire additional staff that he simply cannot afford to do now just to enter these reports if it goes into full effect. As I have said in a previous post in this forum, some of the larger companies will just pass this cost along and already have the staff to do this reporting. However, with the smaller and midsized companies, it will be an added burden in an already hectic environment. From what I know now there are three or four different software companies trying to get this in place now. I speculate that there will be many more software companies wanting a cut of the action in the future. In the areas that this has been done some fire departments are touting that they have 100% compliance and found several fire protection systems that were in a failed state. In my opinion, had they been conducting fire prevention inspections in the first place on their own as they should be doing; they would have found those non-compliant systems anyway. Another very important reason fire departments need to conduct fire prevention inspections in person is to find if the locks to the building in question have the correct keys in the Knox box or whatever lock box system they use. Also, to see if any persons on their night call lists have changed. They also need to check to see if the use group has changed for a building that it was not intended for such as a new daycare in a church that was not there before and is not permitted to be or even if exits have been changed or removed for an unpermitted remodeling of said building. So, if all these important items need to be done in person by them anyway, why the need for a free report database for them?    
          Another thing you may wish to try is meeting with any business networking groups to discuss your concerns. Someone in one of those groups may very well know someone at a fire department that may be able to help you out. Try reaching out to your state legislators and representatives or possibly even the county prosecutor to ask about the legality of this. Remind them that a local government authority is trying to tell you that you must pay a fee to a third party that they have chosen and that you must use. Also tell them that current codes (NFPA) state that it is the responsibility of the building owner to maintain these inspection reports. You might also what to ask your customers affected by this to reach out to the same people to express opposition to this online reporting as well. I cannot overstate the importance of having a good relationship with your fire department that can go a long way in helping you. Having a good working relationship helps us all out in the long run. I spoke to three local fire departments that said they would never require this online reporting. One of them said they thought it might tick off a taxpayer at levy renewal time and they did not want to do that. I am thinking some Lawyer or law firm someday will tackle the legality of this in a similar fashion as the false alarm registration ordinances were fought and won against. 
Ron Baumann, NICET IV
Cincinnati, Ohio 
          Just a reminder:  the Fire All in One permits you to pass along any additional cost imposed by government AHJ to your subscriber.  Don’t be a martyr and try and absorb this or any other costs that you are permitted to pass along. 

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
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