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comment on will mfg go into cs business / move away from POTS lines for fire / comment on fire marshal authority
March 1 , 2018
comment on will mfg go into cs business from Feb 17 2018 and move away from POTS lines for fire
    Regarding your comment/concern about manufacturers going into the central station business [Feb 17 2018 article] because they cite an increase in recurring revenue:  That’s likely not the case.
    NAPCO, DMP, BOSCH, and others offer cellular services through their cellular network and charge recurring fees for access.  The monitoring is still done by the dealer or integrator’s central station of choice.  I believe those are the sources of the recurring revenue described in what you read. 
    Here in Ohio cellular is beginning to boom for fire alarm monitoring due to a recent code change to the latest edition of NFPA 72 (a move from the 2010 edition to the 2016 edition) which will no longer allow two POTS lines as the primary and secondary communication pathways.  We have been pushing customers away from POTS lines for several years due to their unreliability (particularly outside of the subscriber’s area).  Often the only notice of a failure was when the 24-hour check in did not occur which left customers unknowingly unprotected for varying amounts of time that could be up to 23 hours and 59 minutes.  National 800-line providers have bought each other, and central stations often contract with a sole provider.  So, it is difficult if not impossible to obtain two separate telephone line pathways and when one line fail, they both fail.  Sole pathway cellular annunciates both at the central station and protected premises within 5 or 60 minutes, depending upon code edition or customer preference.  It is more reliable, and if it fails, customers will know quickly so they may take action.  We also see many commercial buildings without POTS leaving cellular or IP as the only real options.   The 2016 edition of NFPA 72 makes the code making panel’s intent for IP pathway equipment at the protected premises to require 24-hours of standby power (for switches, routers, servers, etc.) much clearer.  Most smaller commercial enterprises find that secondary power requirement difficult for their IT equipment.  This leaves cellular as the lead option.
    I would believe that NAPCO’s StarLink, DMP’s SecureCom, BOSCH’s Wyeless, along with non-alarm panel cellular manufacturers such as Telguard are seeing an increase in their cellular business as customers move away from POTS lines and states move to adopt newer codes that will not permit reliance on POTS lines for communication pathways to a supervising station for fire/life safety.
Richard J. Keller, Sr.?
Integrated Protection Services, Inc.?
Cincinnati, Ohio 
    I agree with all you mention.  You've covered two issues, whether the manufacturers - vendors will compete with central stations [ I suggested they won't because they won't want to devote the man power for operators] and, the second issue, communication pathways for fire.  That issue was raised by the question [on Feb19, 2018 article] whether or not the Touchstone DOCSIS 3.0 Upgradeable 16x4 Telephony Modem TM1602, which is being provided by Spectrum, is NFPA Approved to replace phone lines or radio for fire transmission. 
    I am advised that the devices are "listed" because a device or service meets a particular standard set by the testing laboratory.  Regarding communication pathways, the concern is the Network the VoIP line numbers are connected to and signals being transmitted over.  For example, in NY,  Spectrum is a MFVN provider (meaning their VoIP network simulated the POTS type network).  If the Spectrum network in Hawaii is MFVN, then it should be “OK.”  
    Here is more on communication for fire.
    With the new IP TECHNOLOGY out there today, why is anyone thinking of using any type of telephony for fire communications?  There are redundant IP systems out there and IP GSM combinations systems that offer redundancy ad supervision far beyond the requirements of NFPA 72 or IFC.  Use a Central Station that recommends and embraces latest technology.
Im still here.....
Joel Kent
comment on fire marshal authority  from February 19, 2018
    You opined in your response that " My guess is that every fire marshal reserves the right to add, rather than reduce, standards.  File applications, get permits and approval when required."  I'd like to comment on that.
    Fire code officials derive their legal authority from the adopted legislative code, and the most popular template for fire codes is the International Fire Code, published by the International Code Council.  The 2015, and earlier versions of the IFC addresses the code officials authority and responsibilities in section 104.1, and states that the official is authorized to render interpretations of the code, provided those interpretations are in compliance with the intent and purpose of the code, and shall not have the effect of waiving requirements of the code.  
    My understanding of this is that code officials are obligated to follow the adopted language of the code, and are not permitted to require more or less than is stipulated in the code.  I understand it doesn’t always turn out that way in the real world, but I think it is important to be aware of when someone is exceeding their authority.
Daniel G. Decker, President, CFPS, CPP, SET
Safety Systems, Inc
    As you conclude, knowing a fire marshal is exceeding his authority presents quite the dilemma.  You have to work with these fire marshals on a regular basis and their cooperation certainly can make your life easier.  On the other hand, you cannot compromise your own judgment if you believe you are correct and deviation from the code requirement will endanger your subscriber and others.  Disagreement with fire marshals is likely to rarely rise to this level.  More often than not it's a request for something that may not be technically required by code [in your opinion] but requested by the fire marshal, and the real problem is who is going to pay for that additional equipment and labor or who is responsible for the delay on the job.  The Standard Fire All in One covers it; make sure your fire alarm contract is up to date.


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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
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