The National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) is considering comments on a standard for operation of remote stations that monitor fire alarms.

“Some of the input is that it might place a hardship on dealers, and we’re going to look at that, and if we need to adjust it, we will,” promised Scot Colby, NBFAA past president, who is working on the Standard for Remote Supervising Stations (SRSS-01).

SRSS-01 specifies what a remote monitoring station is, the equipment it should have, how it should be constructed, procedures for monitoring, and methods of notifying emergency responders and keeping records.

“The most controversial areas of the code are some of the building requirements and some of the requirements for the equipment in the facility,” Colby noted. “Some thought they were as tough as a true listed central station or even harder.

“The main issue at one point was an attempt being made for anybody who monitored fire to have to be listed either UL or FM, and this was an attempt to not have that take place,” Colby said about SRSS-01.

He estimates that a majority of the fire alarms in the United States are not monitored by UL-listed central stations, but by remote stations. One of the reasons is that many fire systems do not have to be UL-certificated, and it is less expensive to have them monitored by remote stations.

“When the project started, it was to make a simple document, but everybody’s got different opinions, and it has gone through a few of the comment periods already,” Colby pointed out, estimating that the standard has been worked on for perhaps up to nine years.

“During those comment periods, some groups felt we weren’t tough enough, and maybe we toughened it up too much,” Colby conceded. “That’s why we have the open process.”

NFPA 72 only includes a few paragraphs on remote stations. “The idea of SRSS-01 was to expand on NFPA 72 and put it into layman’s terms so everybody could have a simple standard to use to meet the minimum requirements,” Colby recalled.

At press time, the NBFAA’s standards committee was reviewing the input from the comments session. “We’ll take into consideration what was sent in, and the effects they feel it will have, and either accept or reject it, and then it goes in front of the Security Industry Standards Coalition (SISC) committee for approval or not, which is made up of everybody in the security industry,” Colby explained.

“We’re just trying to put out a good standard where people know what to do to do it right,” he concluded. “One thing about a standard is that they’re living documents. Once you create one, you have to change it to keep up with technologies.”