Paterson schools say fire and safety alarm vendor failed to do inspections and repairs

Paterson Board of Education building, photographed on Tuesday, July 18, 2017.

PATERSON — The company that was supposed to inspect, test and repair fire and security alarms in Paterson’s schools last year repeatedly failed to do its job, city education officials say.

The company, Vanwell Electronics in Stirling, in Morris County, did not respond to education officials’ requests for technicians to do work on the school fire and security alarm systems, the district said. Vanwell also failed to provide invoices for its work, the district said.

As a result, the Paterson Board of Education on Wednesday night voted to disqualify Vanwell from getting any city school district contracts for the next five years.

Vanwell did not respond to a phone message left by a reporter seeking the company’s input for this story.

Schools investments: What NJ will spend to build a new high school in Paterson. Advocates say more is needed

When did the district contract with Vanwell?

The district had a security alarm contract with Vanwell that took effect in 2021 and a fire protection services contract that began in 2022, according to public documents. Information on the dollar value of those contracts and how much the district paid the company was not immediately available.

Paterson school board members did not have a public discussion about the Vanwell disqualification before voting on it Wednesday night.

Advocacy group faces hurdles Will a leadership rift disrupt — or damage — the Paterson Healing Collective?

The district sent Vanwell a letter on Aug. 9 alerting it to the plans to disqualify the company and noted that there would be a public hearing on the issue on Sept. 11. Vanwell did not dispute its disqualifications.

The Paterson district has not made public details of how frequently Vanwell failed to inspect and repair the alarm systems.

Joe Malinconico is editor of Paterson Press. Email:

This article originally appeared on Paterson NJ schools dismiss fire alarm and safety vendor