A central station is a commercial entity that monitors fire, commercial security and residential security alarm signals. When an alarm is triggered at a protected property, the signal is sent to the central station where a trained operator records the signal and initiates the appropriate response. Experience and reliability can vary greatly among central station monitoring companies. Those demonstrating a high level of service can opt to become UL Listed.
UL Listed central stations are required to adhere to the requirements in UL 827, the Standard for Central Station Alarm Services, and must demonstrate compliance before becoming UL Listed. We conduct annual audits of each UL Listed alarm company to help ensure continued compliance.
Becoming a UL Certified central station
- The process of evaluating a central station for certification, formally known as Listing, includes UL staff conducting an on-site examination of the monitoring station facility and operation for compliance with UL 827 and standards related to the category. If the monitoring station is applying for a full-service category, the evaluation will include examples of installed alarm systems. The results of the evaluation are detailed in a report.
- If certification is granted, a renewable Certificate of Compliance is issued. This certificate allows you to promote your brand and services with the globally respected UL Mark, helping you distinguish yourself in today’s competitive landscape.
- The central station will also appear in UL’s online certification directory: a public-facing, easily searchable database of qualified companies.
- The central station may also elect to enroll in UL’s Standards Customer Certification Library (SCCL) for a subscription to UL 827 without charge.
- If the Certification of the central station is for full service, you can issue Alarm System Certificates to your customers using AlarmHUB, our certificate management application. These certificates are a declaration of the features of the installed system and related services and are often required by insurance companies and code officials.
Maintaining a central station certification
- After certification has been established, the central station is enrolled in UL’s audit program. Under this program, we conduct yearly audits of central stations and the elements of service associated with their certification. These audits are designed to verify compliant deliveries of services and to provide a technical resources to assist the central station with questions related to the UL program and standards.
- When the certification is for a full-service company, the audit also includes an assessment of selected alarm system certificates by visiting protected properties.
- Access to our technical experts who can respond to requests and questions from the field is included with every certification.
Central station Listings
We offer three central station certifications:
- Central station fire alarm service
- Central station burglar alarm service
- Hosted central station
Central station fire alarm service
Fire alarm systems are supervised by a commercial entity serving multiple customers. Fire alarm signals are recorded and acted on by trained operators. Requirements in NFPA 72 address the following elements of service:
- System installation at protected premises
- Signal monitoring
- Retransmission of signals and associated record-keeping
- Runner service
Delivery of central station services allowed by NFPA 72:
- A single full-service entity
- A contractual partnership between an alarm service local company and a monitoring company.
Full-service company: A full-service company delivers all alarm service elements and can issue UL certificates.
Monitoring only company: Provides signal monitoring and system supervision services under contract to companies authorized to issue UL certificates.
Alarm service local company: Delivers alarm system installation, testing, service, maintenance and runner service to protected premises. Monitoring is subcontracted to a UL certified central station.
Central station burglar alarm service
Intrusion detection systems at a subscriber’s property send signals to a central station. The information is recorded, maintained and processed by trained operators. Central station systems operation is under joint control of the owner and the central station. The specifics of arming and disarming the system are agreed upon in advance and any deviations from that understanding are investigated by the central station. Runners are always on duty and are dispatched to investigate any unauthorized entry of protected properties. Local law enforcement may also be dispatched.
Hosted central station
The Hosted Central Station category covers host services that support the delivery of central station services to companies that carry UL certifications for central station burglar alarm systems (CPVX); Central Station Protective Signaling Services (UUFX); or Monitoring Stations, Residential (CVSU). Hosting services may consist of, but are not limited to, data storage from alarm monitoring software, housing the automation system that is running the alarm monitoring software, and/or housing the receivers as well as the automation system.
Senior members of our staff serve on numerous technical committees with industry groups, and the majority of our audit staff worked in the industry prior to joining UL.
UL certified central stations must adhere to strict requirements and demonstrate compliance on an annual basis. For this reason, many central station companies incorporate their UL certification into their overall marketing strategy, as a representation of high-quality services.
As part of a central station certification, the name of the certified company appears in Alarm Finder: a public facing, easily searchable database of UL Certified alarm companies. Many AHJs use this database to find and recommend qualified alarm companies operating in their jurisdiction.
Access to our technical experts, who can respond to requests and questions from the field, is included with every certification.
"TMA and UL have shared a long history together, and every UL Listed full-service monitoring station can likely recall the day when they received their first listing. I believe that a UL Listing is an important step in the quality of a company and is an important differentiator of our full-service association members."
President, The Monitoring Association