Many alarm companies make liberal use of labels like “UL” and “Factory Mutual,” but don’t bother to explain why these terms matter. While the average alarm user doesn’t need to master the technical terminology of the security industry, it’s important to know what separates one alarm company from another – especially when it comes to protecting your home and family.
UL (Underwriters Laboratories) – this is the most easily recognized stamp of approval in electronic security. The UL listing or approval is generally applied to one (or both) of the following:
- The specific alarm equipment that goes into your home or business.
- The monitoring center that receives signals from your alarm system and dispatches authorities when necessary.
In each case there is a lengthy (and expensive!) testing and vetting process involved. The UL equipment listing is important (and may be required by your state or local jurisdiction). The monitoring center approval is a bit more complex, since there are different service levels: the best central stations have earned the following listings, inspected and audited by UL each year:
UUFX – Protective Signaling Services. This listing covers burglar and fire alarm event processing. For homeowners, this is the minimum you should see.
CRZM – National Industrial Services. This listing, added in 2007, is the new “gold standard” of UL listings, and fewer than 15 dedicated monitoring centers have earned it. With this approval, the monitoring center is even qualified to monitor government sites – such as Department of Defense-cleared facilities.
Factory Mutual – Similar to UL, this approval may be applied to equipment as well as monitoring centers, based on a lightly different set of criteria than used by UL. Factory Mutual is primarily an insurance company, but has added levels of approval for alarm equipment and alarm companies for its insured sites. While more relevant for commercial facilities, it’s a tough approval to get – and keep.
New York City Fire Department – I saved the best for last. This is the approval monitoring centers fight for, since it allows them to monitor commercial fire alarm systems in New York City: it’s considered the highest level of accreditation in the alarm industry. Only a handful of monitoring centers have it, and you have to obtain the UL or Factory Mutual listing before you can even apply to FDNY. Operators are individually trained and tested, and the annual inspection is a real bear: I know, because I earned this approval at my . You only earn this when you are very good.
We know that your home has little in common with a New York City high rise – but it is one of your biggest material assets, so of course you want the best protection. For FrontPoint, that means we use UL listed equipment, and a monitoring center with the highest approvals. It just makes sense that if a monitoring center has earned the highest approval levels, that’s good news for you. As the nationwide leader in interactive, wireless home security, FrontPoint has always been committed to the highest level of protection, which is why we use Rapid Response as our monitoring center. We’ve known them since they opened almost twenty years ago. What approvals does Rapid have? Glad you asked! Rapid has earned both of the UL listings shown above (UUFX and CRZM), plus Factory Mutual, and that very important FDNY listing. In our book, that makes our monitoring the best – and it gives FrontPoint customers the most peace of mind. How about your monitoring center?