A resident uses a call-for-aid system to summon aid during a medical emergency. They can come in the form of a system that alerts an external emergency response source, or an internal notification system, typically with alarms and lights. These systems are not required under this inspection protocol. Still, if they are present, they must be tested to determine if the system is functional and if the elements of the system (a cord, lights, annunciators, etc.) are operating as intended.

  • The call-for-aid cord must hang six or fewer inches from the floor.
  • If the call-for-aid alarm system includes a light in the hallway, it must be tested to ensure that it operates as intended.
  • The call-for-aid cord must not be coiled or tied up/off.
  • Not all call-for-aid systems will have a cord, some may have a button, which should not be cited as an issue.
  • The annunciator panel is a centralized panel that indicates which apartment/room an emergency call originates from. To test, the inspector should have a property representative at the panel and communicate with them via cellular phone or other devices to determine if the corresponding light is illuminating during a unit or common area inspection.
  • Personal wireless call-for-aid systems, typically worn around a resident’s neck, are not to be inspected.

Abandoned Systems

  • If the call-for-aid system is abandoned: Do not evaluate call-for-aid systems if all pull stations have been removed; all that remains are the indicator lights, audible indicators, or annunciator panels. The primary consideration is that no part of the user interface remains.

Offsite Monitored Systems

  • If monitored offsite, request the owner/agent either
  • Notify the site monitor and ask them to put the system on test.
  • Provide third-party documentation of a call-for-aid inspection.

If the property is able to provide documentation for a call-for-aid inspection, then:

  • The inspector does not need to test all pull stations.
  • Verify that the document addresses all parts of the call-for-aid system.
  • If a valid or certified third-party inspection has been completed in the last 12 months of inspection, do not test the call-for-aid interface.

*Wireless call-for-aid systems typically worn around a resident’s neck are not to be inspected.

Do Elderly Properties Have to Have Call for Aid Systems?

On October 31, 2014, HUD Published a Memorandum regarding “Office of Multifamily Programs Policy on Emergency Call Systems in Elderly Properties In this memorandum, HUD clarifies that “There is no requirement that a property use a particular type of call systems (such as older pull cord systems), as long as the system in place meets the functional requirements described in HUD Handbook 4910.1, Section 100-2.20” This Handbook (4910.1 Minimum Property Standards for Housing, 1994 Edition) specifies the requirements to provide and maintain the emergency call system.” The handbook states that it is “unacceptable to have a separate add-on rental fee, but the cost for such a system is part of the project’s expense and is expected to be covered within the monthly rental charge.”

Def# Deficiency Severity Repair Due HCV Rating
1 Pull cord end is higher than 6 inches from the floor Life Threatening 24-Hours Fail
1 Call-for-aid pull cord is blocked Life Threatening 24-Hours Fail
2 Pull cord is coiled or tied up/off and cannot be engaged Life Threatening 24 Hours Fail
2 Pull cord is missing Life Threatening 24-Hours Fail
2 Call-for-aid system does not emit sound or light Life Threatening 24-Hours Fail
2 The annunciator does not indicate the correct corresponding room Life Threatening 24-Hours Fail
2 Call-for-aid system does not send a signal to the annunciator Life Threatening 24-Hours Fail

Call for Aid Standard V3.0, Updated 6/16/23
Call for Aid Standard V3.0, Updated 8/11/23

Revision: 62
Last modified: 9 December 2023


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