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Comment on 8-hour standby requirement for communications / More on mutual indemnity 
August 23,  2023
Comment on 8-hour standby requirement for communications from article on August 4, 2023
          I read with interest Joe Pfefer’s comments in the August 4, 2023 article.  Seems like Joe and I got similar starts in the alarm industry and it certainly appears that we both have the same passion for the business.  I would like to respond to the matter of the 8-hour standby requirement for communications.  I chair the ULC Working Groups for intrusion monitoring and fire alarm monitoring and I can assure Joe and the other readers that we have labored over the standby power requirements at length!
          The background is that when dialers are provided and connected to conventional telephone lines the telephone companies now provide minimal standby power – usually not more than eight hours for their neighborhood remote switches.  So, while we could provide 12- or 24-hours standby power, if the telco switch is down after 8 hours, the extra standby time is a waste.  Internet and cable companies provided dialtone is not usually provided with more than 8 hours standby time, and in some cases, there is no standby power. Telco provided fibre terminal units may have 8 hours of standby – at least when they are new.  Internet reporting depends upon the standby power for modems, routers and switches that can be provided by UPS units but long-term UPS standby requires huge batteries which most customers do not want to provide because of the cost.
          In my opinion cellular communications is the easiest and best way to provide reliable reporting because the standby power provision is entirely in our wheelhouse. In my company we usually provide 24 hour standby for the entire system including the cellular communicator.
          And finally, UL/ULC requirements are a minimum and there is nothing to prevent us from providing longer standby power time if we wish.
 Daivd Currie
Damar Security Systems
          Custom and practice goes a long way to establish contract compliance when the specific standard is not mentioned.  Most alarm contracts will not address stand-by power.  If stand-by power or alternate communication is included in the equipment and services then you should specify that. The Standard Form Agreements clearly make it the subscriber’s responsibility to provide and maintain electric and communication pathway.
More on mutual indemnity
          We bought your Standard Agreements and use your verbiage on our contracts, We have a client that we were awarded a $140,000.00 video system job but they were unhappy with the verbiage and wanted us to come up with a mutual indemnification addendum so they will sign the contract.
          Do you have an opinion and price for this?
          I opined that I do not approve of mutual indemnity. What you can agree to is indemnity under certain limited circumstances and conditions. For example, you can agree to be responsible for damage and offer indemnity for claims arising for damage you cause during an installation; your indemnity should be limited to your insurance coverage.
                    You should not agree to indemnify for “after-install” services other than damage to property or person you may cause by your negligence while actually on the property, again subject to your insurance coverage.  This, by the way, is only offered reluctantly because the standard response for indemnity request is that “alarm companies do not offer indemnity to customers”, and definitely not in connection with alarm failure. 
          The indemnity provision is perhaps the most intricate and damaging provisions in the contract, just about any contract calling for services, and you should not be negotiating, drafting or agreement to change the indemnity provision in the Standard Form Agreements or accept your customer’s contract with indemnity without advice of counsel [mine preferably – the Concierge Program will pay for itself if you avoid one mess].

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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