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Comments on government offering fire alarm monitoring services
May 31, 2022
Comments on government offering fire alarm monitoring services
          Sounds like the city has a Gamewell municipal street box system (or equivalent) for monitoring fire alarms. This is likely a pretty fast way to get the fire truck rolling, but the FD won't necessarily know from which zone the fire is occurring.
          Perhaps the dealer could consider offering the city service ($3800 + $200 yr, plus dealer markup) as an optional add-on backup communication pathway service, with the dealer's central station service (zones, autotest, low battery/power failure, fire dept dispatch, etc) remaining as the primary communication pathway and monitoring service.
          We have done similar in California cities with free public agency monitoring offered.
Anon in Calif.
another comment re loss of government immunity in connection with fire alarm monitoring
          re your 5/24/22 long reply to a long question….
          Your stated: “When government decides to engage in “business”, even under the guise of providing police or fire protection it likely crosses the line and loses governmental immunity.  That means the municipality will be held accountable for its negligent performance.”
          We understand that municipalities are now using this basic Muni law as justification for very slow or no police response to private property alarm systems when a 911 type threat is not remote-witnessed/verified.  Said in layman language, using public services to add value to private contract customers, without cost recovery and it produces community discrimination.
          Ken, if government immunity is lost here too, then the new proposed AVS-1 by Alarm Associations would make it easy for PSAPs to NOT respond to millions of existing system.  Your comments?
Lee Jones
Support Services Group
          Government risks loss of immunity if it engages in business, but will likely retain immunity if it provides essential public service, such as fire or police protection.  It will depend on how the government sets up its alarm services.  Government providing alarm services is not new so there may very well be cases against the municipality or agency that operates the monitoring facility; I haven't researched it. 
          I think that government should limit its involvement in any business activity unless there is no one providing the services or the government thinks it can do it so much better it's going to fall under the police or fire protection immunity. 
          Certainly it should not be governments purpose to limit or supplant private business.  However it’s quite possible that some municipalities may find that engaging in some fire or police related activities promotes the public good, even if at the expense of businesses currently offering those services.
          Central stations and alarm dealers protect their “turf” by continuing to offer better and better services, and with the explosive technological growth in the industry it shouldn’t be too hard to stay ahead of government run operations.

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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