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§901-01 Central Station Monitoring of Fire Alarm Systems
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(a) Scope. This section sets forth standards, requirements and procedures for:
(1) the monitoring and related maintenance of all fire alarm systems that are installed in premises located in New York City and that transmit an alarm signal to a central station that monitors such systems for the purpose of re-transmitting or otherwise reporting fire alarms to the Department; and
(2) the operation of the central stations that monitor and maintain fire alarm systems.
(b) Definitions. The following terms shall, for purposes of this section and used elsewhere in the rules, have the meanings shown herein:
Alarm service. The service provided by a central station company commencing upon the transmission from the protected premises of an alarm signal, a supervisory signal, or a trouble signal.
Approved central station company. A central station company that has been issued a valid certificate of operation.
Central station company. A person or entity engaged in the operation of a central station.
Central station signaling system. A system comprised of the protective signaling system at the protected premises, the central station physical plant, the exterior communications channels, and satellite stations, if any.
Designated representative. A person or entity designated by the subscriber who shall be responsible for receiving notifications from the central station company concerning the status of the protective signaling system at the protected premises and who is authorized to take action with respect to such system.
Mandatory system. A protective signaling system whose installation at a protected premises is required by law.
Proprietary central station. A central station operated by or on behalf of the owner of the protected premises monitored by the central station, that monitors protected premises other than the premises in which the central station is located. For purposes of this section and R4604-01, unless otherwise specifically provided, reference to "central station company" shall be deemed to include proprietary central stations.
Protective signaling system. A system or device installed at a protected premises and designed to transmit an alarm signal, a supervisory signal or a trouble signal.
Runner service. The dispatching to the protected premises of individuals designated by a central station company, other than the required number of operators on duty to monitor signals, to silence, reset and otherwise restore the protected signaling system to normal service. Such runners may be employees of the central station company, another approved central station company, or a service retained by the central station company, provided that the individuals are trained in and knowledgeable of the protective signaling systems for which they are providing runner service.
Subscriber. An owner of a protected premises, or an owner of a fire alarm system installed on such a premises, who has arranged for a central station company to monitor the fire alarm system on the protected premises for the purpose of reporting fire alarms to the Department.
Terminal. A number assigned by the Department which indicates a specific location and/or type of alarm signal at a protected premises.
Transmitter. A component of a protective signaling system that provides the link between a fire alarm system and the transmission channels.
Voluntary system. A protective signaling system whose installation at a protected premises is not required by law.
(c) Prohibited Fire Alarm System Monitoring. It shall be unlawful for:
(1) Any person or entity, pursuant to FC901.6.3.5, to operate a central station company or central station that monitors fire alarm systems in protected premises without having first obtained a certificate of operation pursuant to R115-01. A central station company shall obtain a certificate of operation prior to operating any central station or transmitting any alarms to the Department received from a protected premises.
(2) Any owner of a protected premises, or other person or entity to contract for, arrange, or otherwise cause or allow, a central station company to receive or retransmit alarm signals from a protected premises, unless such central station company possesses a valid certificate of operation. This provision shall apply whether the protective signaling system installed at a protected premises is a mandatory or voluntary system.
(d) General Provisions.
(1) Applicable provisions of law. All central stations and proprietary central stations shall be designed, installed, operated and maintained in compliance with the requirements of FC Chapter 9, this section and NFPA 72. The relationship between the provisions of the Fire Code, this section and such referenced standard shall be as set forth in FC102.6.2.
(2) Compliance with Building Code and Electrical Code. All central stations and proprietary central stations shall be designed, installed, operated and maintained in compliance with the requirements of the Building Code and the Electrical Code.
(e) Central Stations. Central stations shall comply with the following design and installation requirements.
(1) Security. The central station operating room shall be locked at all times and access restricted to authorized persons only.
(2) Emergency power. Emergency power shall be provided for the exclusive use of the operating room and other areas vital to the continuous operation of the central station and its provision of fire alarm monitoring services. The emergency power supply shall function automatically upon failure of the normal power supply system. Emergency power systems shall be maintained in accordance with FC604.
(3) Listed equipment. The central station shall be equipped with devices, equipment and systems capable of automatically receiving and recording signals, as required by NFPA 72. Such devices, equipment and systems shall be listed by Factory Mutual, Underwriters Laboratories or other approved nationally recognized testing laboratory.
(4) Circuit adjusting equipment. Circuit adjusting instruments or equipment for emergency operations may be automatically initiated or manually operated upon receipt of a trouble signal.
(5) Retransmission of alarm signals. The retransmission of an alarm signal received at the Department shall be effected as follows:
(A) by the use of two (2) telephone lines provided with suitable voice transmitting, receiving and automatic recording equipment, provided that these lines shall not be used for any purpose except communication between the Department and the central station and shall have terminal equipment located at the central station and the Department and shall be provided with twenty-four hour standby power; or
(B) any other means of retransmission deemed by the Commissioner to effect a retransmission at a level of reliability that equals or exceeds that under R901-01(e)(5)(A).
(6) Alternative voice communication capabilities. The company shall maintain at each central station at least one cellular telephone available for communication with the Department and the protected premises in the event that telephone circuitry is inoperable.
(7) The central station company shall bear all costs associated with the retransmission of fire alarm signals to the Department, including any costs incurred by the Department.
(f) Central Station Operations.
(1) General responsibilities. A central station company shall be accountable to its subscriber to provide all of the requirements of this section, and shall set forth such obligation in its contract with the subscriber. In all cases where an approved central station company has subcontracted with another entity to provide services, the central station company shall be responsible for ensuring that the services provided by the subcontractor comply with this section and with all other applicable laws, rules, regulations and reference standards. A central station company may not subcontract signal monitoring or retransmission services or maintenance to a separate entity unless said separate entity is itself an approved central station company.
(2) Maintenance of central stations and transmitters.
(A) A central station company shall be responsible for the maintenance of its central stations and the transmitters at protected premises within New York City monitored by such central stations. A central station company shall have available at all times designated individuals trained and knowledgeable in the maintenance and repair of central station devices, equipment and systems, including transmitters, so as to prevent or minimize any disruptions in fire alarm system monitoring. Such individuals shall be employees of the central station company (other than the required number of operators on duty to monitor signals); another approved central station company; or of the holder of a fire alarm installer license issued by the New York Secretary of State pursuant to Article 6-D of the New York State General Business Law or a master electrician licensed by the Department of Buildings and registered with the New York Secretary of State in accordance with such Article 6-D, who has been retained to provide such service. In the event of a malfunction, repairs shall be immediately undertaken so as to restore proper operation and system monitoring as soon as possible.
(B) A central station company shall ensure that a complete and satisfactory test of all transmitters is conducted at each protected premises in compliance with the requirements of NFPA 72.
(C) A central station company shall test all paths of communication for the central station signaling system that are not supervised at least once every twelve hours. A record of such tests shall be maintained in the central station log.
(3) Monitoring of fire alarm systems.
(A) A central station company shall have sufficient personnel on duty at all times to ensure immediate attention to all signals received. This shall include a minimum of two (2) operators at each central station, each of whom shall possess a certificate of fitness to operate central station equipment. A trainee functioning as an operator must work under the direct supervision and in the presence of an operator holding a certificate of fitness and may not be counted as one of the two (2) operators holding certificates of fitness as required by this section.
(B) Central station operators shall monitor and process all fire alarm signals before any other signals, regardless of the order in which they are received.
(C) Alarm signals shall be re-transmitted to the Department immediately upon receipt of the full signal at the central station. A full signal is deemed to be received at the time it is capable of being decoded.
(D) Alarm signals transmitted to the Department shall indicate the type of alarm received (e.g., automatic, valve or manual).
(A) All records required to be maintained under this section shall be entered in a central station log which shall be maintained at each central station. The central station log shall be available at all times to the Department for inspection and copies shall be provided upon the Department's request. The central station log shall be kept on a yearly basis and be maintained for six (6) years following the period of use.
(B) The format of the central station log shall be either:
(1) a bound (not spiral bound) logbook for each calendar year, with consecutively numbered lined pages with entries made in ink;
(2) a computer database with a legend or key to all symbols and abbreviations; or
(3) any other format approved by the Commissioner. Where a computer format is used, the data may be stored on tape, disk or hard copy, provided that hard copies are maintained for 18 months following the period of use, in addition to the storage of the tape or disk for six (6) years following the period of use.
(C) A central station signaling system shall receive and retransmit all signals and information which the subscriber is required by law to transmit, such as the location of the alarm source (building, floor, section, zone, or subdivision) and/or the type of alarm signal (e.g., automatic, valve or manual). Central stations presently unable to determine the type of alarm signal received due to the lack of sufficient transmitters at the protected premises shall be granted a period of time, as the Department deems reasonable, to make the conversions necessary to comply with this requirement.
(D) Subsequent alarm and supervisory signals received from the same building shall be retransmitted to the Department upon receipt.
(E) A combination alarm signal that by its nature is indicative of waterflow in a sprinkler system at the protected premises shall be retransmitted in the same manner as a fire alarm signal. In addition, the designated representative for the protected premises shall be notified as soon as possible.
(F) The dates and times of the receipt and retransmission of all signals shall be recorded in the central station log.
(5) Runner service. A central station company shall ensure that a fire alarm system requiring manual silencing or resetting is restored to normal service no later than 90 minutes from receipt of an alarm signal. The central station company shall dispatch a runner to the protected premises for such purpose and shall immediately notify the Department once the system has been restored. A runner need not be dispatched and may be recalled if the central station confirms that the fire alarm system has already been restored, in which case the central station company shall immediately notify the Department of such fact.
(6) Notification of service disruptions.
(A) It is imperative that disruptions in central station service be detected as soon as possible and that service be restored immediately. The Department shall be notified of any disruption of fire alarm monitoring services regardless whether the disruption is due to failure of a fire alarm system, a fire suppression system, a protective signaling system, or central station equipment. The central station company shall make the following notifications:
(1) The central station company shall notify the Department whenever a fire alarm system or fire protection system is expected to be out of service for eight (8) hours or longer at a protected premises, where such information is available. This provision shall apply only to the installation of mandatory systems.
(2) The central station company must notify the Department and the designated representative for the protected premises forthwith in the event that a central station is either unable to receive alarm signals from a protected premises or to retransmit signals to the Department due to inoperative central station equipment or telephone circuitry. In making the above-described notifications, the central station company shall identify to the Department the terminal assignment number(s) for the affected premises, where such information is available.
(B) A central station company shall record in the central station log the following information relating to disruptions in service:
(1) All instances in which a fire alarm system or fire protection system is out of service for eight (8) hours or more at a protected premises, where such information is ascertainable. This record shall identify the terminal assignment number for the protected premises, as well as the date, time and duration of the disruption of service.
(2) All instances in which a protective signaling system at a protected premises is out of service for two (2) hours or more. This record shall identify the terminal assignment number for the protected premises, as well as the date, time and duration of the disruption in service.
(7) Posting of certificate. A copy of the certificate of operation shall be posted at each central station operated by the central station company.
(g) Compensation. Every central station company shall pay compensation to the Department in accordance with the provisions of R4604-01. Failure to timely remit such compensation shall be grounds for non-renewal, suspension or revocation of a certificate of operation, or denial of a new certificate of operation, in addition to any and all other remedies provided by law.
(h) Registration of Central Station-Monitored Fire Alarm Systems.
(1) Central station companies shall register each fire alarm system on each protected premises that it is monitoring by submitting to the Bureau of Fire Prevention, on the application form prescribed by the Department, the following information and such other information and documentation as the Department may require:
(A) The address of the protected premises in which the fire alarm system(s) are installed;
(B) The number and type of fire alarm systems monitored at the premises, regardless of the number of terminals associated with each such system;
(C) The floors, or portions thereof, monitored by each fire alarm system;
(D) The name, address and telephone number of the owner or operator of each fire alarm system; and
(E) The type and location of each terminal, including manual fire alarm boxes, sprinkler and standpipe system flow alarms and tamper switches, and heat, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, associated with each fire alarm system.
(2) A central station company shall register with the Department each fire alarm system it proposes to monitor prior to the commencement of the receipt or retransmission of alarm signals from the fire alarm system, including resumption of previously discontinued or suspended monitoring service.
(3) The Department may deny a registration application upon a determination that the fire alarm system has not been installed and/or is not being operating in accordance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations, or other good cause. The Department may conduct an inspection of the protected premises to verify the proper installation and operation of the fire alarm system. A central station company shall not monitor any fire alarm system as to which the Department has denied registration.
(4) A central station company shall give prior written notice to the Department, on a form prescribed by the Department, of the discontinuance or temporary suspension of its monitoring of a fire alarm system, at least ten (10) days prior to such discontinuance or suspension. Five (5) additional days notice shall be provided if notice is given by mail.
(5) A central station company shall give written notice to the Department within seven (7) days of any change in any of the information set forth on its fire alarm system application form.
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