TÜV SÜD certifies alarm receiving centre (ARC)
Effective from 2011, the EN 50518 standard has established the requirements to be met by alarm receiving centres (ARCs) throughout Europe. The standard can be applied to all control centres that receive alarms and reports from sources such as access control or video monitoring systems. Securitas Alert Services commissioned TÜV SÜD Industrie Service to carry out certification of its new alarm receiving centre.
Securitas Alert Services is part of Securitas AB, Stockholm, one of the world's largest provider of security services. The Sweden-based multinational employs 300,000 staff in 51 countries. Securitas Alert Services invested EUR 4.3 million in building a new ARC in Mannheim, one of the most modern of its kind, and not only equipped the centre in accordance with the state of the art but also designed it in compliance with the requirements of the EN 50518.
TÜV SÜD inspected the new building, verifying that it reliably fulfilled all standards.
The experts verified inter alia that all locks, the minimum thickness of walls and ceilings and uninterruptible emergency power supply were in compliance with the standard. In addition, they also checked whether employees received continuous ongoing and expert training.
Uniform standards throughout Europe
The new EU standard looks at all aspects of alarm receiving centres. The standard comprises three parts, addressing location and construction requirements, technical requirements and procedures and requirements for operations."Even though the EN 50518 standard is not legally binding, operators should have their ARCs checked for possible weaknesses. After all, unless compliance with the standard is ensured, in the case of incidents questions may arise as to whether the owner/operator of the control centre has taken due care. "This increases the liability risk", notes Markus Schäll, Risk Manager at TÜV SÜD Industrie Service. "And incidentally, this also applies to existing ARCs."
The modifications required for existing ARCs to achieve compliance with the standard can vary greatly from case to case. Every assessment and cost-efficient implementation of measures starts with a comprehensive target/performance comparison. Step 2 is an individual risk assessment addressing fire risks, overvoltage protection and even hazards caused by sabotage. The results obtained in these two assessments will then be used to derive ARC-specific measures and possible alternatives that are in compliance with the requirements of the EN 50518 standard.
For the new ARC of Securitas Alert Services, TÜV SÜD confirmed not only compliance with all statutory standards and requirements, but also 'best in class' implementation thereof. Successful certification by TÜV SÜD also demonstrates the ambitious goals that Securitas Alert Services sets itself with respect to security and reliability. Assessments of compliance with the standard are repeated at yearly intervals.