Lease program springs from R.I. law

Thursday, April 1, 2004

WESTMINSTER, Mass. - In order to help Rhode Island businesses comply with the state’s new laws for fire safety, SimplexGrinnell is allowing those businesses to lease their systems rather than buy them.

The Comprehensive Fire Safety Act of 2003 took effect on Feb. 20, the one-year anniversary of the deadly fire at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I. The law eliminates a grandfather clause that had enabled older buildings to avoid some fire code requirements. Nightclubs with maximum occupancies of 150 to 300 will have until July 2006 to install the mandatory sprinkler systems.

Those with capacities of more than 300 must install systems by July 2005.

The law also requires fire alarm system communication with local fire departments and gives more authority to the state fire marshall’s office and local authorities.

SimplexGrinnell’s Providence office has fielded many calls and provided consultation for a number of businesses as they prepare to comply with the law. According to Dave Baer, vice president of SimplexGrinnell, the company developed the lease program to help offset the enormous cost of the fire safety systems that must be installed within the next year or two and increase compliance with the law.

“We understand the importance of the law and the critical role it will play in reducing the risk of death, injury and property damage from catastrophic fires,” Baer said. “At the same time, we know that the cost of compliance can be an issue in some instances.”

Under the lease program, SimplexGrinnell will, in some cases, lease 100 percent of the project cost, including equipment, installation, maintenance, monitoring and training. The company will then roll the equipment, service and monitoring charges into one monthly bill for its customers.

“In these Rhode Island venues, the leasing program is an option that will enable customers to get the systems and services they need without straining their capital resources,” he said. “We’re committed to working with customers on an individual basis to find the most practical and affordable way to get the necessary fire safety systems in place.”