I have a question pertaining to a commercial fire alarm that got connected to a voip phone line. Customer has time Warner phone lines that are connected to the fire alarm panel.   I advised them that they needed a pots line or cellular connection,   They are unwilling to convert saying that the system should work with voip.  I advised that it is not compatible and issues will arise, I would like to terminate the fire monitoring and place plackers near each pull stations and make it a local only system as the AHJj approved this. What are my options;  can I terminate services?
    I think your subscriber is in New York City, though that may not make a difference in how I respond.
    I am confused by your question because you state that the AHJ has approved the system.  If that is true then you don't need to do anything.  I didn't know that the NYC FD would approve a fire alarm communicating over the Internet, VoIP.  
    Seems to me that you are overstepping your bounds.  From your question I'm not even sure it's your subscriber.  Who did the installation?  Who inspects it?  Who pulled the permit and attended final inspection?  
    If the AHJ has not approved this system then you should not be monitoring or providing any other service without making sure that the AHJ will not investigate you for monitoring an unapproved system, and that your agreement with the subscriber is clear on your limited responsibilities.  Whether you can terminate service will depend on your agreement with the subscriber.
    I'd like to hear from a few fire experts on this one.
    John from New Jersey makes a great point.  Summed up, it means; “No business is better than bad business”.  You can recover from one, rarely the other.
Zeke Lay
    I guess February must be pick on AFA month.  I don't mind responding to legitimate complaints, but these "anonymous" ones, from those content to lurk in the shadows, demonstrate to me a total lack of credibility.  So please, if you have something to say, please say it directly and do it in a form that has some backup to it instead of just bald accusations.
    The latest attack from the shadows which you published on February 9th refers only to a supposed account of ours in Northern New Jersey saying the writer installed a system that we needed to be at for an inspection and tie in.  The writer went on to say he only had two days notice of the inspection.
    What he does not say is who the account was, when this purportedly happened (was it a month ago, a year ago, 5 years ago?), who he spoke with at AFA, or when he supposedly spoke with AFA about it (how much notice was AFA given?).  With such little information to go on it was virtually impossible to verify or dispute.  Very convenient.
    Nevertheless, I attempted to look into the matter and contacted the only two places within our company that could have possibly been involved with such an incident: our Northern New Jersey office and our National Accounts Division.  Both researched this based on the complainer's letter to you, and both responded they did not recall any such incident.
    If the complainer would care to be more specific, I would be happy to make further inquiry into the matter.  However, absent that, my response is that we believe there is absolutely no merit to his story.
    As for the writer's disapproval of our dedicated and proven approach to protecting our business, I make no apology for how we do that.  In our opinion, protecting our customer base is the most important responsibility we have as management of an alarm company.  Our attrition rate is perennially among the lowest (best) in the industry.  To me, that is the only validation that counts.
    And Ken, I am sure you are enjoying your month off since it appears I have been writing your column for you during that time.
Robert Kleinman, Chairman and Counsel
AFA Protective Systems
    Not really.  But you're welcome to contribute comments and articles any time.  And when you want the right answer to legal issues, you can write in too.  Also, I'm sure the host of alarm experts who regularly share their knowledge on this forum would be happy to help you out too.