Underwriters Laboratories Inc. has concluded its investigation of UL Product Incident Report 2019MS-940, which was requested by Jeffrey Zwirn, president of IDS Research & Development. Zwirn requested the investigation after noticing that if the data-bus circuit of certain alarm panels is damaged in any way, the alarm system is unable to communicate the alarm condition to the central monitoring station or audibly alert those within the property of life safety dangers such as smoke and carbon monoxide, or intrusion. 

Zwirn believed this defect made the alarm panels non-compliant with UL 985 and UL 1023, along with NFPA 72. He reached out to UL seeking a recall of these alarm panels on April 30, 2019, and received notice from UL that the investigation was closed on Dec. 11, 2019. 

In the Dec. 11 email from UL, UL Lead Market Surveillance Engineer Duane Johnson said that claims involving faults associated with the attack of data circuits by fire or intrusion are not part of UL 985 and UL 1023. The email added that proposals for the revision of the UL standards may be submitted through the UL Collaborative Standards Development Process. 

On Jan. 16, IDS Research and Development sent a formal response to UL, stating UL’s email did not address their concerns, which were supported by two independent expert reports, as well as authenticated video demonstrations related to the susceptibility of these data buses through the induction of short circuits of any kind. In the letter, IDS calls UL’s response “insufficient, inaccurate, deflective and dangerous.”

“Just 58 words in response to the dangerous non-conformity identification of millions and millions of control units across the country pose a life safety danger and risk to all of the unsuspecting families across the country who rely solely on these systems for early detection of a life safety emergency, we find this grossly insufficient,” IDS’ response read.

In addition, IDS said they will not be creating and submitting a proposal for revision of the current UL standards because the requirements are already outlined in sections 1.1, 1.4 and 41.3 of the scope for the standards. 

“If faults are not part of UL standards, as submitted by UL in response to the investigative findings, that UL 985 control units are non-conforming, it is axiomatic that UL cannot defend this contention at all based on the plain language incorporated in the fifth edition of UL 985-Household Fire Warning System Units, in that not only are faults specifically identified in this UL standard but how the units are to function under these specific fault conditions is also set forth,” IDS said. “We directly challenge as there has been no acceptable response provided to the video evidence created and submitted by IDS Research and Development Inc., which clearly demonstrates the susceptibility of the alarm panels to a simple short circuit being introduced to the data bus, which will then render the alarm panel and system useless and nonfunctional.”

Find Zwirn’s videos, and SDM’s original coverage of his investigation, here.