House approves measure allowing fire system repairs to begin before permit approval

Waiting for permits can take weeks, leaving buildings unprotected.

The House has unanimously OK’d changes to fire alarm repair regulations, allowing repairs to begin before a local government signs off on a permit.

Republican Rep. Amber Mariano sponsored the bill (HB 823). Current law requires contractors to receive a fire alarm permit before “installing or replacing a fire alarm if the local enforcement agency requires a plan review for the installation or replacement.”

Mariano’s bill still requires the permit application, but gives contractors a head start on those repairs. She argued the status quo makes it dangerous for buildings awaiting those repairs.

“During the time the malfunctioning fire system is turned off, the occupants remain unprotected while the local government reviews the permit for the proposed repairs,” Mariano told fellow House members Thursday.

“This puts the building on fire watch, forcing the fire department to drive by the building from time to time to make sure it’s not on fire. Once the permit is approved — which can take weeks — repair work can finally begin. This legislation would allow repair work to begin immediately, which would better provide for public safety.”

Mariano’s legislation also extends to alarm contractor advertising. As she explained, current ads over tv or radio require a segment where an individual reads off a contractor’s registration or certification number. The measure would place that information elsewhere.

“This bill would allow the company to direct people to its website, where license numbers can be on one page permanently,” Mariano explained.

According to the bill, that information would no longer be necessary in “a newspaper, magazine, flyer, billboard, phone book, Internet, or broadcast advertisement for alarm system contracting as long as the contractor maintains an internet website that contains the contractor’s registration or certification number and the advertisement directs consumers to the contractor’s Internet website.”

A Senate companion bill, backed by GOP Sen. Jason Brodeur, has also moved through the committee process and is ready for the Senate floor.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]


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