Schaumburg, IL -- Six fire alarm companies are suing the village of Schaumburg over a law that directs the 1,200 businesses to exclusively contact a government contract company for fire alarm calls.
The plaintiffs argue that this law creates a government-backed monopoly, and raises the costs for the 1,200 businesses in Schaumburg from approximately $25 a month to $80 a month.
The Schaumburg Fire Chief David Schumann said that the reason for the law is safety. Among a sampling of fire alarm calls to private monitoring companies, the response time was higher than his comfort level. Schumann said that since the Northwest Central Dispatch, the government contracted alarm company, already needed to be contacted for every fire alarm, it just made sense to make them the exclusive company. He concluded that it removes steps in the process. It is a more strreamlined and safe process.
Over a 15-month period, the Schaumburg Fire Department found 31 instances of unreliability among private alarm and sprinkler system companies. All 31 instances were false alarms; however, Schumann said they could have easily been real. Among other issues, there was a system problem that caused a 10-12 minute delay between the alarm going off and the fire department being called.
One of the plaintiffs said, "It's the fireman's red-light camera. It's really all about the money, but no fire department will ever say that. It's just another tax."
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