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Comments on What should you do if fire alarm is non-compliant
November 26, 2020
Comments on What should you do if fire alarm is non-compliant from article on November 12, 2020
            The 2016 NFPA 72 Section 10.20.4* states "The service provider shall report to the AHJ any system that is out of service for more than 8 hours.”  This section is elaborated in A.10.20.4 mentioning that the code refers to the entire system or a substantial portion thereof. Our company monitors, performs annual test & inspections and provides service repairs under an annual monitoring & service agreement. I would notify the AHJ in this instance given that notification or initiating devices did not function in a portion of the complex. Again, I have limited information regarding the actual impairment. 
  Hope this helps
Name withheld 
            Concerning this article in some States you are required to file deficiency reports through the Compliance Engine.  FYI:
            You can go to their site to see who in your area you do have to file with, if any.
Terry Sprinkle
            I believe Compliance Engine is a website that requires you to pay for the information.  There must be a free source for the jurisdictions that require fire alarm companies to notify the AHJ of down time or termination of monitoring.  Anyone know?
            In our area we are required to notify the AHJ of unrepaired deficiencies.  The City of Phoenix, ignored their own deficiencies, which led to the destruction of the City library and millions of $$ in damages when the sprinkler system leaked.  My point is, some areas require it.
            I do not fully agree. If it were my company that was contracted to monitor or inspect the fire alarm then NFPA 72 requires notice to the AHJ when the system is out of service for more than 8 hours. 
            Yes, the term “out of service” can be interpreted. If there are dozens of smoke detectors and/or other devices and one is not working I would not consider the system out of service. However, if a significant portion of the system is not working then I would then be required to let the AHJ know.
            Without any contractual relationship with the owner I believe I would have no legal or code responsibility to let the AHJ know if a significant portion of the fire alarm is out of service. 
            However, being that this is a life safety system should I find that a significant portion of the system is inoperative after being invited to perform some service on the system it would be my moral obligation to let the AHJ know once the owner refuses to have the issues corrected. If the owner got upset with my company, like he did, then it would not be a customer for whom I would want to work for.           I have to sleep at night. 
            The comparison of the AHJ to the IRS is inaccurate. Again a fire alarm is a life safety system. If somebody fails to rightfully pay what is owed the IRS nobody will be at greater risk of dying.
Eric Levy – IT Technology Manager
NICET IV; Florida EF
            We don’t really disagree.  If under contract then there is duty to report “out of service” if the entire or substantial portion of the fire alarm is out of service.  If you’re not under contract you feel a moral obligation to notify the AHJ.  Don’t feel a moral obligation to notify IRS if you think something fishy is going on and taxes aren’t being paid, like your restaurant customer keeps wanting to pay you in cash.   Some of your customers will be relieved to know your position.
            Some customers are going to react the way the customer in the Nov 12 article reacted, thinking that the alarm company was just trying to get more work by bringing in the fire marshal.  
            Keep in mind that unless your jurisdiction has adopted the NFPA provision, or your local AHJ has imposed its own regulations or requirements, you are not obligated to notify the AHJ, and unless under contract you probably shouldn’t.  
            I should make clear [I came back to this paragraph after finishing the below].  You have a legal duty to notify the AHJ if the fire alarm is out of service and you are monitoring that system.  If you inspect it you also have the same obligation to notify the AHJ.  Legal duty is different than moral duty.  
            You get a call to come and fix a commercial fire alarm.  It’s not your customer or it’s your customer but you don’t have a service contract with this customer.  You are not under any obligation to accept the service call or to fix the alarm.  You get to the business and discover that it’s way more work than you thought, you need parts and you time; maybe the needed repair is so extensive you think you need a permit, plans and specification, and AHJ approval.  All that is going to take time.  You explain this to the customer who tells you it’s not in the budget, blah blah blah and no thanks get lost.  
            On your way to your next job you call the fire marshal and let them know that the fire alarm is out of service.  Your next call is to the customer letting them know that you’re happy to come back if they need you; maybe you slap a decal on their window that night.  
            Here’s the epilogue: The customer calls you, gives you the job; insists on paying cash which you naturally decline.  When you’re done you call IRS.  

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Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
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