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will following NFPA save you if there is loss of life
April 1, 2017
Register for next webinar on April 11, 2017: See below for details.
TitleAll You Need To Know About Getting Top Dollar for your  Alarm Business -sale or financing
Register here:
will following NFPA save you if there is loss of life
     I turned on the TV this morning and GMA was doing a piece on Smoke Alarms.  They noted that almost every smoke detection system, whether it be the smoke alarms installed by an electrician when the home was built, a battery operated smoke alarm  or a burglary / fire system using smoke detectors, all failed to wake sleeping children in a home.  They let the detectors sound for over 4 minutes, yet none of the children awoke.
     Here is my question:  Even if we follow NFPA guidelines, as far as smoke detector installation, and test the sounders (65dB at the pillow,) if God forbid a customer has a catastrophic fire in the home and a child dies as a result, and of course we have a good alarm contract in place, how much exposure do we have in this industry? 
     I know, as per the terms of the contract there is a set dollar value that we could be held accountable for, but what about loss of life?
     I've known about sleeping children not hearing the alarm sirens.  I tested the siren in my daughter's bedroom and the sound rating was over 80dB.  Yet this kid would sleep right through the alarm going off.  I always treated it as a "note to self: check the kids' bedrooms if the fire alarm ever goes off."  But is that enough?  I don't know that a grieving parent's grief would at all be assuaged by telling them that the system was installed by NFPA regulations.  What are your thoughts?
John from NJ
    Scary question.  Residential fire alarms are not approved by the AHJ.  You should install a fire alarm according to building codes if the codes deal with fire alarm, which typically means smoke detectors.  In commercial accounts the answer is a bit easier because the AHJ is going to tell you exactly what to install.  That direction and your Fire All in One will be sufficient to protect you from paying claims [not getting sued however[.  But residential fire alarms, pretty much unregulated, you look to custom and practice in the industry, and may mean NFPA 72.  If you meet or exceed the specifications can you be held liable for a claim?
    Loss of life, a child in particular, is going to challenge all defenses.  Bad facts make for bad law.  But on a theoretical level your compliance with NFPA 72 and the Residential All in One [which addresses fire alarms] should enable you to prevail if sued.  
    There are two types of damages, economic and non-economic.  Simply put, economic loss is damage to property or theft of property.  Non-economic loss is personal injury or death.  The protective provisions in the Standard Form Agreements [exculpatory, limitation of liability, indemnity, insurance procurement] should be enforced when there is economic loss.  There have been cases where non-economic loss claims caused the court to scrutinize the protective provisions in contracts so closely that the courts were able to circumvent enforcement.  I am not aware of any claim that has successfully challenged a Kirschenbaum TM contract.  However, you are wise to be concerned with exposure when the loss is horrendous, the facts murky and your contract less than perfect.

WEBINARS:  Sign up for any or all of the webinars that interest you.
FREE Webinar Series "All You Need To Know About" alarm industry issues. 
Register for one or all.  Each presentation scheduled for half hour to hour.  Not recorded.
TitleAll You Need To Know About Getting Top Dollar for your  Alarm Business -sale or financing
When: April 11, 2017 noon EST
Where: Your computer for power point, live video and call in on computer or phone
What will be covered: General discussion about how to maximize the value of your alarm business and position yourself for sale or financing
Who should attend: Alarm company owners.
Presented by: Rory Russell, Acquisition Funding Services, 888 551 0476
Register here:
TitleAll You Need to know about Internet security and why is it relevant for the alarm industry 
When: April 25,  2017 noon EST
Where: Your computer for power point, live video and call in on computer or phone
What will be covered: Discussion of securing Internet devices.  Attacks by Mirai and other botnets and disruption to Internet services around the world made possible because of the millions of poorly secured cameras, DVRs and other installed network devices. 
Who should attend: Alarm company owners, general and technical managers
Presented by: Securifi, a leading router and smart home hub company, soon to be offering its own comprehensive Total Security Solution (Monitored Security + IoT Security + Parental Controls + Malware Blocking) to the alarm industry.  Rohit Somani    855 969 7328  
Register here:


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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
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