November 29, 2023
By Al Policano, PSP principal engineer, Fire and Security Alarm Systems
UL Solutions now offers a new service that assists monitoring centers and public safety professionals with a validation program for Call for Service prioritization based on the requirements in TMA AVS-01.
When a security alarm is triggered at a protected property, a signal is sent to an alarm monitoring center, where an operator records the signal and initiates the appropriate response. Experience and reliability can vary greatly among monitoring companies, which can impact the allocation of resources and first responders’ situational awareness — critical elements of an effective emergency response.
The Monitoring Association (TMA), in collaboration with UL Solutions and various key stakeholders from the security monitoring industry, have developed ANSI/TMA AVS-01, Alarm Validation Scoring (AVS) Standard, which is intended to help build trust between private-sector alarm monitoring centers and the public safety organizations responsible for dispatching and managing first responders. TMA AVS-01 defines and standardizes the monitoring centers’ requests for public safety service in response to the burglar alarm signals that are received.
Monitoring centers that provide Alarm Validation Scoring processes evaluate all data available at the time of a burglar alarm (intrusion detection) system activation, categorize the alarm event level per the defined alarm scoring metric, and employ a standardized communication priority protocol when creating an alarm Call for Service to an Emergency Communications Center (ECC) or Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).
In coordination with the publication of this standard, UL Solutions has developed a certification program that evaluates whether the Alarm Validation Scoring process and delivery system used by alarm monitoring centers are in accordance with the requirements as defined in ANSI/TMA AVS-01.
The UL Solutions program includes validation of the monitoring center’s required self-assessment process, an audit of the monitoring facility’s alarm notification and response procedures, as well as its implementation of the standardized approach to alarm scoring in an effort to potentially enhance collaboration with the ECC and PSAP and assist with ongoing compliance management.
Alarm levels (0-4)
The ANSI/TMA-AVS-01 standard provides an alarm scoring or classification metric for unauthorized human activity. The alarm levels noted below are designed to add some meaning to a monitoring center’s Call for Service and are the result of operator observations and/or a combination of observations and alarm system detection. Compliant monitoring stations report alarm events falling into one of the following alarm event levels:
- Level 0 – No Call for Service
- Level 1 – A Call for Service with no other information.
- Level 2 – A Call for Service, with proof of, or a high probability of, human presence at the alarm site.
- Level 3 – A Call for Service, knowing there is a human presence at the alarm site, and it appears that there is a threat to property.
- Level 4 – A Call for Service, knowing there is a human presence at the alarm site, and it appears that there is threat to life.
NOTE: All alarms received at the monitoring center are initially categorized as Level 1, and then either escalated or de-escalated based on the data available and enhanced call confirmation process.
Potential benefits of certification for monitoring stations
- Facilitates acceptance of standardized requests for service to ECCs/PSAPs in response to burglar alarm/intrusion detection alarm events
- Empowers monitoring centers to demonstrate that they are aligned with industry best practices for alarm response procedures
- Helps provide evidence of due diligence for an enterprise liability mitigation portfolio
- For UL Certified monitoring stations, the addition of AVS certification is quick and easy and can be integrated into the comprehensive annual compliance audit.
Potential benefits of certification for ECCs and first responders/law enforcement
- May help to reduce false alarms by assisting in determining if a burglar alarm is truly valid
- Provides consistently accurate alarm event information
- Can help to facilitate efficient, effective and policy-driven prioritization of public safety resources
- Better prepares first responders for what they will encounter when they arrive at the scene
Why choose UL Solutions for certification?
At UL Solutions, we leverage our longstanding history as the monitoring industry’s trusted certification partner to build trust among stakeholders. With our active collaboration with The Monitoring Association (TMA), the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), and other industry associations throughout the standards development process, we have a deep understanding of the technical requirements and the constantly evolving stakeholder objectives. Our dedicated experts can provide timely support at every step of the certification journey.
UL Solutions alarm validation scoring is covered under category CAVS. UL Certified products can be found using our complimentary search tool UL Product iQ®. Access to the code authority features of Product iQ requires a simple one-time registration.
Learn more about UL Solutions Alarm Validation Scoring (AVS) service: ANSI/TMA AVS-01 Alarm Validation Scoring Certification
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