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fire alarm won't test and subscriber won't cooperate / hiring or retaining problem employee December 25, 2017

KEN KIRSCHENBAUM, ESQ
ALARM - SECURITY INDUSTRY LEGAL EMAIL NEWSLETTER / THE ALARM EXCHANGE
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fire alarm won't test and subscriber won't cooperate / hiring or retaining problem employee / LAST DAY TO GET FREE Christmas gift from Ron Davis
 December 25, 2017
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Happy holidays and merry Christmas to all.  I want to especially thank Ron Davis for making his book available - free - as a holiday gift.  I wish I could kid Ron that he doesn't like to give ice away in the winter [some would say that better describes me], but honestly, Ron really is generous with his time, advice, his commitment to the industry and his clients, and it's not surprising that he readily agreed to give his book away [he evens pays shipping and handling] to everyone on this forum.  So, if you haven't ordered the book, do it now - click here - because Ron's book was meant to be read, by you. 
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fire alarm won't test and subscriber won't cooperate
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Ken,
    I have a problem with County Schools.  All the Fire Systems dial 9 to hunt for an available phone line to use. We put the school system on notice that 70% of the daily test signals where not coming in as required due to the fact the when the systems dialed 9 it could not find a line to use within the time allowed.   Too many failed to communicate back to back on at least 60 to 70 % of the schools each day. We made it known to management, as well as to the Fire Marshals.  We brought it to the attention of two Fire Inspectors. One stated to me, not to worry, cell units will take the place of phones in 5 years. 
    So I asked him to put in writing to protect my company from any responsibly should a system not report a fire due to not having a standalone Analog Phone just for the Fire System.  They refused to comply.  
    We were offered an option to continue our services and accept a percentage of responsibility if a system failed to call out and life and property were lost.  We declined the offer, so our 3 year Monitoring Contract was terminated.  We are looking into our legal rights.  What is your take on the matter?  
Thank You. 
A.Ferg
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Response
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    You don't indicate if you use the Standard Form Agreements.  If you do, you have a remedy.  The subscriber was and is responsible for installing and maintaining phone lines and other communication pathways as directed by you.  You of course get your marching orders from the AHJ, in this case building department or fire marshals. 
I'm not technical, but I think I am correct that a fire alarm system must have a dedicated phone line and can't be connected to a phone system that requires it to share the line and hunt for an open line.  If your subscriber chooses to ignore the law, the AHJ and your contract, you were right to terminate.  
    You were also right to ask the Fire Marshal for confirmation in writing, and it's not surprising you didn't get it.  While they do have governmental immunity, it probably would not apply if they are acting entirely irresponsibly and outside their authority.  
    This is also not a situation where you should feel comfortable with your subscriber's acknowledgment that you recommended certain things that the subscriber declined.  Imagine the potential loss to property and life that a fire could cause.  Those injured will not be persuaded or deterred by hiding behind letters from the AHJ or subscriber.  You know the systems are defective and dangerous.  You did the right thing terminating and now you should sue.  Trouble is that your subscriber is the school system - probably why they got away with the phone line - and you will find out that suing a school system is easier said than done.
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hiring or retaining problem employee 
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Ken
    re: DWI [or DUI] hires. 
    When I was a commercial sales manager for a large alarm company we had a situation; good employee with drinking problem.  He was our top rep.  We did our annual evaluation and his drinking came up.  Corporate told us that if he is not gone by the end of the day, we would be gone by the end of the day.  He was a good person and also "cleaned up his act".  The issue was that with his record we thought we would be a sitting duck if he got into an accident, even if not his fault. 
    Just food for thought. It can be risky hiring someone with a drinking problem or history. Is it worth the risk?
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Response
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    Unfortunately people find ways to cause themselves problems or ruin their life, at least in some way.  A history is hard to shake.  Clear documentation helps.  Also, in many states the licensing agency is going to let you know if you can hire someone or if you have to discharge a recent hire.  But the licensing agency is only privy to criminal convictions.  As an employer you have access to your employee daily and have every opportunity to evaluate not only performance but conditions you think will expose the company to liability.
    Companies have enough liability without looking for more.  It's not just people with drinking or drug problems.  How about an employee with a dismal driving record; all kinds of traffic violations and accidents; but no drug or health problems.  Remember, as the employer you are responsible for your employee during the employee's performance on the job.  
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LAST DAY TO GET FREE Christmas gift
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                Ron still has books left - get yours today!! Thanks to Ron Davis’ generosity we are offering his smash hit, must have, book, The Start of the Deal.  It’s free and no annoying promotions.  You just have to click here and fill out the form.  So, Click Here   I told Ron I'd sell out his First Edition, so EVERYONE should get the gift book right now.  This offer is available until December 25, 2017 and Ron promises to personalize and sign each book.  
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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301
ken@kirschenbaumesq.com
516 747 6700
www.KirschenbaumEsq.com