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What Does "UL Listed" Mean?

UL or "Underwriter's Laboratories" is an independent testing group along the lines of Consumer Affairs or the Good Housekeeping Seal program. They test and evaluate a product or service and if it meets their standards, award a good rating or, in the case of UL, their seal of approval. You may recall seeing the little "UL" symbol on an appliance or extension cord around your home. In the case of UL, they have special standards and a certificate program for alarm monitoring and dispatch facilities. These standards are very strict and most smaller security companies do not meet these requirements. Requirements that include among other things:

Multiple dispatchers ON DUTY 24-7.

100% central station computer, receiver and network redundancy.

High standards for standby generator backup of AC power.

Secure building standards and strict Fire Code adherence.

Certified training and qualification of dispatchers.

Strict background check requirements.

Routine UL compliance inspections.

What does all this mean for me?

Choosing a security company that provides UL Listed monitoring assures you that when seconds count, when you need a fast, informed and professional response to your alarm, the technology, the communications, training and professionalism will be there.

In addition, your ability to negotiate the most favorable discount on your homeowner's or commercial business insurance policy is maximized when your security system is monitored by a UL certificated central station.

Many alarm companies present "UL listed equipment" in their advertising and sales presentations but are not and cannot provide UL listed monitoring. West*Alert's monitoring and dispatch center is fully UL Listed.

Central Station

West*Alert's 24 Hour UL Certified monitoring and dispatch center

Is local vs. regional security monitoring really better?

Many alarm companies that operate non UL approved central stations stress local, personal service but typically have very real management and/or technological disadvantages. Such companies typically have technological downsides such as poor, if any generator AC back-up, no signal receiver or computer automation back-up, no secured phone lines entering their offices and a less than physically secure building housing the monitoring equipment and staff. Such companies typically double as non-secure answering services and face ongoing employee training problems and turnover due to lower pay rates. When such an employee leaves that local company, along with that local employee's departure can go some if not much of the highly confidential local subcriber's information, i.e. personal contact info, schedules, proceedures and even access codes, there in the same local area the employee lives.

West*Alert's UL monitoring center minimizes such security breaches by meeting UL's high technological, management, dispatcher and customer service standards. For more information on how UL is the superior choice when considering any alarm company please visit Underwriters Laboratories Inc..

What does "Listed Central Station" mean?

"Listed central station" is a common way to refer to an alarm monitoring facility that has demonstrated the ability to provide Standards complying service. In the case of monitoring stations, UL requirements cover building structure, receiving and monitoring equipment, and staffing issues; in addition to installation and ongoing service. In order to be able to provide Standards complying service, the building, equipment and staffing requirements have to be met at all times. However, the handling of specific signals from specific alarm systems is only audited by UL if a Certificate is in effect for that alarm system.

What is the "UL Certificate" ?

UL's product safety certification programs are well known by many people. Under these programs, a company submits representative samples of a product. When UL finds that the samples comply with the applicable requirements, the manufacturer is authorized to use the Listing Mark on any products that continue to comply with requirements. Our follow-up inspection service is then initiated to countercheck actual, on-site production for compliance. The Listee's name (often, but not always the manufacturer) is also added to UL's product directories.

Manufacturers are not obligated to use the Listing Mark on all products. Products that do not bear a UL Mark are not required by UL to comply with UL's requirements. Just because a product model number is listed under a company name in a directory does not imply that a specific device complies with UL's requirements. Only those products that bear a UL Mark are considered UL Listed.

What does "Listed alarm service company" mean?

"Listed alarm service company" is a common, short hand way of saying that a company is authorized to use the UL Mark on alarm services that are in compliance with UL's requirements. For alarm systems, the UL Mark is a Certificate. In other words, the alarm company has demonstrated its ability to provide Standards complying alarm service: installation as well as appropriate alarm response, service and testing. As a result, the company's name appears in UL's directories.

What does "Certificated alarm system" mean?

A "Certificated alarm system" is one where the Certificate issuing alarm company declares that Standards complying alarm service is provided. It is equivalent to a manufacturer whose name appears in a UL product directory choosing to place a UL Mark on a specific production product. A Certificated alarm system is subject to random audit by UL alarm system auditors to countercheck compliance, just as a product with a UL Mark is subject to random audit.

Do all alarms installed by a Listed company or monitored by a Listed central station comply with UL requirements?

UL can only audit alarm systems for which Certificates have been issued. So, we can not answer this question with a definable level of certainty. Many non-Certificated systems may comply with requirements. Many do not. A non-Certificated alarm system is an unknown quantity to UL.

The vast majority of alarm systems in the U.S. are not Certificated. Listed alarm companies are not required by UL to issue Certificates for any of the systems they install. Typically, a Certificate is issued only when a customer or authority having jurisdiction requests one. This means that the majority of alarm systems are designed and installed with a goal in mind, but not necessarily a vision commonly held by all parties. A system that has a Certificate complies with published, nationally recognized standards and codes that provide a baseline common understanding of the system and service provided.

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