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Fire [and other] Alarm Monitoring Pass Codes / BDA added to updated Fire All in One / Christmas gift [free] December 20, 2017

KEN KIRSCHENBAUM, ESQ
ALARM - SECURITY INDUSTRY LEGAL EMAIL NEWSLETTER / THE ALARM EXCHANGE
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Fire [and other] Alarm Monitoring Pass Codes / BDA added to updated Fire All in One / Christmas gift [free]
 December 20, 2017
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NOTICE:  BDA added to updated Fire All in One
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    The Fire All in One has been updated to include BDA systems.  This is in addition to the recent update adding Area of Refuge System.   Both of these systems require that the corresponding box be checked if the system is included in the Fire All in One.  A BDA system is an In-Building Wireless Communications Systems for Emergency Responders, Signal Boosters and Bi-Directional Amplifiers (BDA), which systems require testing and service.  You will include that system in the Schedule of Equipment and Services to determine which of the services are included:  wireless system design, surveys, radio equipment installation, testing, coordination and permits with AHJ.  Remember - we offer free updates within 6 months of purchase; half price if within one year.
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Fire [and other] Alarm Monitoring Pass Codes
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Ken,
    We require all our customers to have passcodes for the monitoring station, but currently we are getting a request from a subscriber that they don’t want a passcode on the account for fire alarm monitoring, that we have their numbers, and we are calling them, and they are cell phone numbers. She is stating she doesn’t want to memorize a passcode.  Is this a liability to us?
Thank you,
Roman 
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Response
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    Interesting.  The subscriber's position is that since you are calling their designated cell phones that alone should be enough confirmation that you have reached an appropriate party; no need to require a passcode.  Couldn't the same argument be made if you're calling the premises land lines?  
    The real question is, should you require a passcode?  The purpose of the passcode is for alarm verification.  Upon receipt of a signal the central station calls the Call List directory for verification of the alarm status.  If the subscriber or subscriber representative on the Call List confirms a false alarm or emergency condition under control and no First Responder response is needed, then there is no dispatch.  The passcode would also be requested if the subscriber called to place the system on Test.  
The use of passcodes for these purposes is customary and alarm industry-wide.  Passcodes are also referred to in NFPA 72 and most likely all central station procedural policies.  
    Except in those cases where the design and installation is governed by statute and enforced by the AHJ, subscribers are for the most part free to make decisions regarding their alarm system, level or protection and services.  What a subscriber is getting and what performance is to be provided by the alarm company should be spelled out in the end user Agreement.  In the All in One it would go in the Schedule of Equipment and Services [which may be your proposal] along with the appropriate boxes checked on the face of the contract.  
    It may be even more important for you to document equipment, services and procedures the subscriber is not getting, especially when these items would normally be included in a customary alarm design, installation and on-going services.  For example, you design and install a commercial fire alarm and contract for service and monitoring.  The subscriber doesn't want to sign up for Inspection service, which is required by the AHJ.  Do you just leave the check box unchecked on the Fire All in One?  
Well you will be leaving it unchecked.  But I think you need to do more.  The Disclaimer Notice is designed for this situation.  You would note that the subscriber has declined the inspection service.  You would also note that in the Schedule of Equipment and Services.
    I think a subscriber's refusal to use a passcode would fall into the category of something that would be expected in the ordinary course of providing the alarm service.  If the subscriber wants to assume the risks that may attach to not having a passcode, then, after documenting that election by the subscriber, the alarm company can comply with the decision.  
    What issues are likely to arise?  Certainly subscriber identification is reduced.  True, the central station will still be calling a designated phone number, but there will not be any way to know if an authorized person has actually been reached.  Of course, in the intrusion alarm scenario, someone could be coercing the subscriber to give up the code, but that is less likely in the case of a fire alarm. 
    No passcode may also cause more false alarm dispatches, or no dispatch if anyone is reached on the phone call.  The false alarm fines are already covered in the contract and other than becoming an area of contention, the alarm company is not going to be the one paying the fine.  If there is no dispatch when there should have been, the Agreement is going to protect the alarm company from liability.
    You might suggest to the subscriber that they select a passcode that they will never forget, like "I don't know" or "I forgot".   
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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.  You just have to click here http://www.graybeardsrus.com/kkbookoffer.shtml and fill out the form.  So, Click Here  You can thank me later.  BTW I promised to 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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THE ALARM EXCHANGE

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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