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Explained: Why You Need a UL-Certified Alarm

Security camera
Security camera

You wouldn’t drive a car that wasn’t crash-tested or inspected. Now, apply that same logic to your jewelry business: Would you pack a small space with drawers upon drawers of expensive jewels and not set up a top-of-the-line alarm system to protect it? No way.


And when it comes to retail alarms, there’s a gold standard: UL-Certified alarms. The “UL” stands for Underwriters Laboratories, a nationally recognized organization that tests everything from alarms to appliances to cleaning products to kids’ toys.


You may recognize their mark; the “UL” appears on over 22 billion products, including alarms (and in addition to the actual alarm, UL also certifies alarm service providers, which is equally important for jewelers to consider). What does the UL stamp of approval mean? Just this: UL sets minimum performance standards for alarm systems that exceed those captured in an alarm service and maintenance agreement, including ensure that electrical protection circuits and devices signal properly and the system is properly installed.


UL issues certificates for two types of monitoring: Central Station (CS) and Mercantile (MR). Here’s how they differ:


Central Station

  • A guard (also known as a runner) is designated for a response
  • Provides supervised openings and closings
  • Provides two-party control over arming and disarming of the alarm system
  • Requires that repairs begin within one hour of the guard’s response time (after normal closing time)



  • No guard (runner) is dispatched
  • Supervised openings and closing can be arranged, but are not automatic
  • Requires that repairs begin within 18 hours after the alarm company receives notification


There have been instances where nearly all a jeweler’s inventory was stolen because the alarm didn’t produce a signal, or there was no response after an alarm signal was received.


Having a UL-certified alarm will give you peace of mind that an alarm will signal and that there will be a response to that signal. Additionally, having this level of protection could help your cause when purchasing insurance. Possessing a current and valid UL certificate is recognized as a risk mitigator, which means you’ll likely receive a more favorable premium, assuming your other risk factors are equal. To find out if your alarm service company is recognized by UL, visit ULalarmfinder.com. —Logan Moore


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