Underwriter’s Laboratory requires that all Secure Facilities (SCIFs) have an approved UL681 alarm system installed to Category Extent 3 and monitored by a Department of Defense approved Top Secret Cleared Central Monitoring Station before granting a UL2050 Certificate. This certificate is one of many things that are needed to get the space accredited prior to getting communications installed and before moving into the SCIF.
The Intrusion Detection System (IDS) protecting the SCIF must detect process and report movement within the SCIF when the system is armed. Intrusion devices protect the SCIF perimeter and portals from unauthorized access. The devices themselves are alarmed against tampering even when the system is turned off. Some typical devices are Passive Infrared Motion detectors (PIRs), High Security door switches or contacts (HSS), Ceiling mounted 360 degree motion detectors (360’s), audible sirens inside and outside the SCIF and security alarm keypads that arm/disarm the system by way of a proximity card and accompanied pin.
When these devices are activated they send an alarm status to the PCU (alarm panel) which then generates an encrypted alarm signal over a network connection to a Central Alarm Station. The connectivity to the alarm station must be via a network connection to enable the required 128bit encryption. You cannot send an encrypted alarm signal over a POTS (plain old telephone signal) line. The alarm receiver panel at the central station needs to be of the same manufacturer as the PCU or alarm panel in the SCIF so that the encrypted signal can be sent and received properly. The receiver panel also “pings” the alarm panel several times a day to insure that that panel connectivity remains intact. If the alarm panel does not respond to several “pings” the receiver panel generates a “Communications Lost” alarm signal to the “call list.”
The Central Monitoring Station must have a secret facility clearance with the operators being the same or being issued a Certificate of Trustworthiness by a government sponsor inside a protected space. When an alarm or trouble signal is received by the Central Alarm Station, they must follow protocols set up by the Department of Defense and the customer. The customer must provide a call list where someone can be reached 24/7 in case of an alarm. The central station logs all alarm system activity. Those logs are sent to the customer as well as the alarm system provider for their UL2050 files.
The alarm provider must keep files of all UL2050 accounts for an annual UL inspection. This inspection of all records and three installations are required for the alarm provider to keep their UL2050 provider status. All generated alarms must be rectified in the files as a valid alarm or false alarm. If it is a false alarm, the alarm provider must respond to the IDS system and fix the problem immediately. Each system can only have one false alarm per month. The alarm provider is required to respond to the alarm within 4 hours to correct the issue. Each SCIF is required to have a Maintenance Contract with the alarm provider to respond within 4 hours for problems and to provide semi-annual inspections of the system.
My recommended SCIF alarm system is made by Digital Monitoring Products (DMP). Our Central Station is AlarmWatch, Inc. Our maintenance contracts as set up on a time and materials basis with no monthly charges. For more information please contact Mark Wharton at email@example.com.
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