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Fire Alarm issues - Electrician V. Alarm Installer

Question:
Hi Ken
I would like to know why in NYC we are limited to install of fire alarm
systems.
I was told that with the NY State license we are able to work in New York
City which is the truth?
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Answer:
   For this answer I asked Phil Kolman at United D&W Central Station
Alarm, a UL certified central station in NYC and NYC Fire Department approved
to monitor fire alarm systems. I believe the state licensing permits NYC to
enact its own requirements for fire alarms.  While every type of alarm
provides its particular measure of security, fire alarms have received special
mention in judicial decisions and often are governed by laws enacted in states
and municipalities.  Though this question pertains to NYC, I am circulating
this to the entire email list in other jurisdictions.  You should find out if
fire alarm installations and monitoring is governed by different requirements
in your jurisdiction.  Here are Phil's comments:
      The New York State requires a license to install and service fire
alarm systems, New York City requires a Master Electricians license to install
or supervise the installation of fire alarm systems.
      The design of the fire alarm system must carry the stamp of a PE or
architect and must be approved by the New York City Building Department.
      If the alarm system is to be monitored, it must be by a New York
City Fire Department approved "retransmission facility" like United's central
station. To be NYFD approved the central station must first be approved by
Underwriter Laboratories for signaling and alarm system installation.
      After all of the above is accomplished you are subject to regular
inspections by the NYFD and UL New York City is not a place to say lets go
install fire alarms it sounds like fun.
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Ken,
             NYC Fire, like in any populated city, presents tremendous
responsibility because the consequences of a fire could be catastrophic.  For
this reason, fire alarms in NYC are only allowed to be done by licensed
electrical contractors, such as us.
          We do perform work for alarm companies when they have a project in
NYC.
          Should any of the local alarm companies need work done they can
contact us for assistance. We are also licensed and perform work in NJ,
Nassau & Suffolk.
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Ken,
 NYC Fire, like in any populated city, presents tremendous
responsibility because the consequences of a fire could be catastrophic.  For
this reason, fire alarms in NYC are only allowed to be done by licensed
electrical contractors, such as us.
 We do perform work for alarm companies when they have a project in
NYC.
 Should any of the local alarm companies need work done they can
contact us for assistance.  We are also licensed and perform work in NJ,
Nassau & Suffolk.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Ken,
Municipalities with populations over 1 million (ex: NYC) the NY alarm
license is optional.
NYC has adopted the license but, has an ordinance of their own on COMMERCIAL
fire alarm installations
or what is know as an approved system. (MEA) You don't need to be an
electrician to do single family residential.
I'm sorry, but I've met many electricians in NYC that have no concept of
what alarm transmission is... They install from engineered plans and many
lack the industry knowledge that is necessary to provide continuing
maintenance.
It's like the installer that can't service syndrome.

Ron Petrarca
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
You don't need to be an
electrician to do single family residential.

To the best of my knowledge this is wrong. As far as I understand NYC does not
(at this time) make a distinction between commercial and residential fire alarm
SYSTEMS (I highlight systems). And, I would be VERY leery about installing a
combo residential burglar/fire alarm control panel in NYC.

However, to the best of my knowledge, FDNY does understand the importance or
residential fire alarms and sort of looks the other way (not legal but
tolerant).

So unless the system is installed according to NYC code (filed plans, master
electrician, approved central station, etc.) and there is a loss, Ken, you
might have to pull a rabbit out of the hat to defend some alarm company.

In my humble opinion.

Alan Glasser
Brooklyn, NY
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Ken,

As a Director of Codes and Standards of Automatic Fire Alarm Assoc. of NY, I
sit on NYC Fire Dept. Advisory Board and also chair a committee on fire alarm
installations at the Buildings Department.

We had a FDNY subcommittee to create a new standard for residential fire alarms
in 1-3 fam. homes, which will allow burg/fire combination, a separate new grade
of "Residential Only" central stations based on UL listing, etc. We had a draft
created, but it was never finalized, it's still in Legal Dept. of FDNY. For
time being, I agree, no combination burg/fire alarm systems are allowed in NYC.


Any system installed requires filing and FD inspection, even if it is
voluntary in 1-fam. home.  Again, the new rule would change that once
promulgated.

Zygmunt Staszewski PE
ZS Engineering PC
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The concept that an electrician is capable of installing fire alarm systems to
meet NFPA 72 or any other code requirements is a problem in all states.
Electricians simply follow the plans that were designed by an architect that
lacks knowledge in many areas of fire alarm design or installation. Ask the
architect that designed the fire alarm system about a UDACT or other means of
communications for the requirements for monitoring and you will receive a blank
look. I have never received a set of plans that the fire alarm system was
designed by an architect that would meet state or local code requirements. In
the state of Texas Fire Alarm Contractors are required to be Registered by the
State. The Fire Alarm Technicians are required to pass a test administered by
the State Fire Marshals Office in order to receive a State license to install
and service Fire Alarm systems. This procedure eliminates "electricians"
that have little or no knowledge of fire alarm systems. Licensed electrical
contractors should leave low voltage systems installation to professional Fire
Alarm System contractors. Tommy HensonSouthwest Alarm SystemsDallas, Tx
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