With reference to the post regarding fire alarm systems, I agree with Steve, that we are supposed to be the experts .... however, something that I've never been able to rationalize is what Steve mentioned,....  that "all or nothing" is an acceptable requirement of AHJ's. Doesn't common sense say that "something is better than nothing"? I'm sure there are hundreds of thousands of small businesses that don't have "any" fire protection for the only reason that ..... "we the experts" are not allowed to install anything less than a full fledged fire alarm system at the risk of the end user being fined and/or us being fined and/or losing our license, and/or being sued. What kind of reasoning can one come up with to justify this "all or nothing" requirement? Am I missing something?
    For instance, you've got a small Deli or stationary store or any small retail store or office ....maybe family owned. They'd like to put in a few smoke detectors that report to central station...... and ..... what?  They can't do it???? They either have to spend 2, 3, 4, 5 thousand dollars or NOTHING?
     Even if the system approaches some semblance of a "life safety" system (which isn't likely because remember, its a SMALL business where yelling "FIRE!" will probably be the first alert) the system is more likely wanted to protect assets in the store when no one is there. I just can't see the reasoning that wont allow that.
    And I DO realize that we can't just allow installing "anything" to run rampant. But how about different "levels" of qualifying fire alarm system requirements with lesser standards to allow the more sensible reasoning of "something is better than nothing" to prevail, ....... and which certainly trumps "all or nothing?  How about standards that are gauged by the type of business, the square footage, the number of employees, etc. Two or three levels below a full system .... should do it.  
    With 47 years in this trade I personally don't do commercial fire alarm systems any more because I can better utilize the time and effort spent on related paper work and "do-overs" demanded by fickle AHJ's.  I can run a much more profitable business without the aggravation of having to deal with pompous jerks that typically fill the ranks of Fire Marshals. Another reason it works out better now is because ......  I'm a nice guy, I'm a nice guy, I'm a nice guy, I'm a nice guy ...... and then I'm NOT!
Accepting bureaucratic indifference, condescending  attitudes and intentional and non intentional ignorance derived from a position of power, is not on my list of personal attributes.
    I would be interested in hearing if there ever has been any discussion or effort to set up a tiered standard for commercial fire alarms that would at least provide "some" protection to small businesses, rather than ........ NONE.
    How much business would THAT, generate .....!
Reliable Alarm
    We are installing some cameras at a city hall.  It shows the lobby of the city hall. Are the recordings considered public records?  Do they have the same retention requirements as paper/electronic records?
Dan Terrigno
American Safge and Vault Service
    Who's going to fight with city hall?  Even under the Freedom of Information Act information can be deemed confidential and non disclosable.  The video is likely only going to be available to law enforcement and pursuant to court order.  Also, unless this city passes a law regarding the storage it is free to store the video for any time it deems appropriate.
    Maryland seems to be on the verge of legalizing marijuana and allowing applications for licensed retailers.  Part of their application is the security component, which needs to be robust. 
    We recently attended a North American conference on this topic and found security providers in Oregon and Washington ended up having  problems with their banking and the IRS- basically anything that involved federal oversight or insurance or licensing that they needed access to during the normal course of performing the security business.  
    Do you have any wisdom to share on this topic related to legal and risk management?  It seems to be poised to be a huge growth industry, but we do not want to risk any of our current business or federal contractor status by getting into this sales vertical.
Amanda A. Mull
Corporate Compliance Officer
    Presently the federal law does not permit the growing or selling of marijuana and you are correct that many industries are very concerned about doing business with the marijuana industry.  Banking is one of those industries.  Insurance companies are generally governed by state law, unless a federally chartered carrier [and I don't know any off hand], so I am not sure why a carrier would be so concerned.  
    I am not aware of any federal enforcement efforts against state authorized marijuana businesses or those who peripherally support that industry.  I recall that I did an article [https://www.kirschenbaumesq.com/article/alarming-the-pot-industry-your-profits-going-up-in-smoke-september-20-2013] on providing security to the marijuana industry.  While there may be some additional risks I don't think that you need to concerned with federal law enforcement taking any action against state authorized businesses.         

     In fact, Congress appears determined to facilitate the growth of the marijuana industry.  The marijuana business is currently legal in 23 states plus Washington D.C. (with 5 of those states permitting recreational use). Another half dozen states are considering legalization this year.  There is even a bipartisan effort to remove federal restrictions on medical marijuana in the states where it is allowed.  As for banks, last month a federal bill was introduced that would shield banks from potential liability for serving legal marijuana businesses. You are correct that the legal marijuana business is a high growth industry and it is just too profitable for the federal government to keep fighting it.  I wouldn't worry about federal oversight.

     I don't think many crack houses or illegal marijuana business are interested in having monitored alarms with police dispatch, but you should sell it if you can!