Is a Fire Marshal allowed to modify the fire code in a municipality without an amendment to the fire code?
Good question. Short answer is: Fire Marshal is not permitted to change a fire code on his own, but he has considerable leeway to interpret the code and I suppose under some circumstances decide that something other than code is required. Always get the Fire Marshal to document any change requested. That means in writing and signed. You've got filed plans and specs. That's what you have to install.
I asked fire alarm expert Stu Gilbert his opinion. Here it is:
The fire inspectors responsibility’s is to inspect the fire alarm systems with regard to code compliance and proper operation as well as conform with the accepted and approved plans. Any items or defects found should be documented and refer to specific sections of the code that the item stated did not comply. As to “Is a Fire Marshal is allowed to modify the fire code in a municipality without an amendment to the fire code?” Actual code changes have to be done in a published and public hearing formation and not just arbitrarily.
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In an effort to not be viewed as a "crap stirrer," I feel compelled to respond to both Jeff & Ray's comments. Let me start by saying THIS WOMAN IS A NIGHTMARE. What I didn't put into my original email about her, is as follows:
When she first contacted me to install a security system, there was already one in place. Not surprisingly, the panel had been electronically locked, rendering it useless for reprogramming. Per her instructions no stickers indicating who the alarm installing company was were attached anywhere. (She didn't want whomever was targeting her to be able to contact that company and "buy" a user code.) But the contractor had used Honeywell equipment, which I use also, so I was able to reuse all of the peripheral devices. What I didn't know until I arrived to do the job was as follows: When the last contractor was at her house, she saw a neighbor talking to him as he was backing his van out of her driveway. She immediately concluded that the neighbor was buying her user code from the man. As I started to change over the panel, I looked down and saw there was a box on the floor that had two other alarm panels in them, and looking at the revision numbers, I realized these had all been installed and replaced in less than a three year period. When I saw them, I had a passing thought that maybe I should re-connect the old panel and then feign illness, leave and never return. Obviously I didn't do that. Over the next few months, she had me change her codes no less than 8 times. And yes, I was able to change them remotely, but that wasn't enough for her. She maintained that everything electronic in her home had been hacked, her cell, her security system, even her emails. I told her to change her passwords frequently and that should solve the hacking issue. My mistake was trying to put a rational thought into an irrational mind.
She subsequently sold that house and purchased a new one a few miles away. Like an idiot, I agreed to do the install in the new place. I did feel compassion for this woman, as it was fairly obvious that mentally she was a tortured soul. In the new place, she insisted on having "Fort Knox" security. Thus the contacts on every opening, glass break detectors in every room, and interior motion detectors on each floor, including two that looked in a crossing pattern on the first floor. I have since had to go back several times for ridiculous reasons. With the alarm being a Honeywell, I hooked her up with the Total Connect 2.0 remote services. I made it so that she would get a text for anything with the system, including arming/disarming and all trouble signals. I showed her on her laptop how to check the event log in Total Connect. But she doesn't want to do anything herself, she wants it all done for her. She still didn't feel safe, so she had me install security cameras around her home. That still wasn't enough, she wanted interior cameras installed as well. I agreed to install one camera in the main hallway, since you couldn't get past the security system or the other cameras without being detected. Now, she tells me that she got a letter from the association where she lives, and the exterior cameras are against the association rules. So now I have to go back and "uninstall" the exterior cameras and likely add one or two more interior cameras. While on the phone with her, she insisted that someone had gained entry into her home recently, as things had been "moved." I tried to assure her that it would have been almost impossible. She got nasty with me and alluded that maybe I didn't do such a great job. I told her that the only way anyone could have gained entry into her home undetected, would have been for her to go out and n! ot arm the system and she would have had to power down her CCTV system. Her response was "I don't care, I know someone was in here."
As for calling county and state agencies for this woman, I believe her family has tried all of that. That is likely why her ex-husband is her ex-husband. I also know, that mental illness is probably worse than a physical ailment or addiction. You can't help an alcoholic who doesn't acknowledge they have a problem. People get sick and go to the doctor and follow a prescribed treatment that improves their health. Mental illness is much different. Often a person will see a mental health professional, they may even start taking the psychiatric drugs. The problem is that as soon as they start feeling better, they think that they don't need the drugs anymore. It is a vicious cycle. I have seen it in families and it is heartbreaking.
My question to Jeff and Ray is this: At what point do you say "I can't do any more for this person?" I have already devoted way more time to this customer than I have billed her for. Much of the time I have wasted running to this woman's home has been to the deficit of my business and other customers. I signed a business contract with this woman, I didn't take a marriage vow.
John from NJ