April 30, 2020
At UL, we help create safe living and working conditions for our customers. This value shapes program policies and the standards developed by our nonprofit affiliate, Underwriters Laboratories. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic presents a new challenge but, by working together, we can find ways forward.
As developments around the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve, we have been asked how health risk mitigation techniques might impact Alarm Monitoring and Alarm Service Certifications, especially for those locations impacted by the quarantine, social distancing, work from home or other changes affecting daily life.
The authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) play a critical role regarding system requirements because the alarm industry and service companies look to AHJs for adopted code and standards direction, requirements, deviations and expectations. Our Certificate Services AHJ Outreach Team works in conjunction with AHJs to assist alarm service companies to best understand requirements and directions.
As we saw during previous natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy and others, actions taken to maintain monitoring operations may temporarily be out of sync with the current language of UL 827, the Standard for Central Station Services, CAN/ULC-S301, the Standard for Signal Receiving Centers Configurations and Operations and CAN/ULC-S561, the Standard for Installation and Services for Fire Signal Receiving Centers and Systems and NFPA 72 the standard for National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code or possibly other model code language. In emergency situations like these, know that our primary concern is public safety and health for all.
We work with the industry to develop reasonable guidelines and alternative operating methods for scenarios such as the current COVID-19 outbreak. Initial drafts for the U.S. and Canada are available for download below this article and will be updated as improvements are identified. These guidelines may eventually contribute to proposed revisions to UL 827, CAN/ULC-S301 and CAN/ULC-S561 to better address future crisis scenarios.
We encourage monitoring stations to make contingency plans for operating in environments where operators are not able to physically gather to monitor signals in a central station operating room, or when local government guidelines to limit or prohibit assembly or travel preclude normal station operation.
Alarm service companies/providers:
We encourage alarm service providers to make contingency plans for operating in environments where it is not safe and/or permissible for runners or technicians to gain access to a customer’s premises, or when local government guidelines to limit or prohibit assembly or travel preclude normal service delivery capabilities. Companies are being advised to document in detail any circumstances preventing compliance with written requirements such as those from UL, NFPA or within the code.
UL Listed monitoring and alarm service companies are being strongly encouraged to capture and retain documentation clearly demonstrating specifics associated with any non-compliance issues. Moreover, such documentation should be kept as part of the records that underlie their respective UL Certification and Certificated systems. When alarm company audits can resume, documented circumstances and deviation(s) noted will be thoroughly reviewed by UL Certificate Services audit staff.
We are a resource for AHJs at any time and our team stands ready to answer questions and provide guidance to all AHJs regarding fire and security alarm related concerns.
If you have questions or concerns, please fill out the form below and one of our subject matter experts will contact you.
Alarm Service Certifications – Virtual Workplace Guidelines
Alarm Service Certifications – Virtual Workplace Guidelines Canada
Alarm Service Certifications – Virtual Workplace Guidelines US