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REAC Answers Questions Regarding Call-for-Aid, Inspections

by Published On: Feb 03, 2012Updated On: Feb 23, 2012

Is a REAC inspector required to test/operate or visually inspect the call-for-aid system and its components?  

Also known as "pull cords," REAC’s  February’s quality-assurance “Question of the Month” answers this question, instructs inspectors on how to assess call-for-aid system and component functionality, and covers requirements for accepting certificates when call-for-aid devises are monitored off-site by third parties. 

Here is what HUD posted:

Q and A Question of the Month: Feb. 2012

Q) While updating the profile, the inspector proceeds to record the certificate for the fire alarm. The POA provides him with a copy of the alarm inspection report which includes all of the unit call-for-aid devices. Is the inspector required to test/operate or visually inspect the system and its components?

A) Yes. The inspector must first verify whether or not the system is monitored off-site by a third party. If he/she ascertain the system is monitored off-site by a third party, the inspector accepts the written documentation provided, however, he/she must visually inspect components within the sample units to ensure the system functions as intended. (Note: The inspector should review the document for compliance with the provisions set forth i.e., date within one year, support for system testing. Based on the documentation provided, the inspector should use professional judgment to determine if enough information has been imparted to show evidence the system has been adequately tested.)

For example: The inspector has established the call-for aid- system is monitored off-site by a third party. Upon entering the first unit, he/she notices the pull cord in the bathroom is tangled and wrapped around the towel bar. After evaluating the condition of the cord, he/she concludes the device is not operational in its current state. Under this condition, the call-for-aid device, as installed does not serve its intended function. In accordance with the Compilation Bulletin, Unit: Call-For-Aid, (see reference below) call-for-aids must function as intended and the inspector must record L3 Inoperable Call-For-Aid addressing functionality in the comment field.

If the inspector determines the call-for-aid system was inspected and certified by a local alarm company, but is not monitored off-site, then the inspector is responsible to test/operate and visually inspect the entire system.

Reference: Compilation Bulletin Rev 2.1, Page 7, P. General Information: Systems Designed for Off-site Notification/Monitoring: 

  1. If the property can provide current (within one year) documentation supporting the testing of a system designed for off-site notification/monitoring (call-for-aid, smoke detector, etc.) the inspector does not need to inspect the individual components and all should be marked “NOD.”
  2. If the property cannot provide the proper documentation and cannot put the equipment into a “test mode” for inspection purposes, all relevant items should be marked “OD.”

Reference: Compilation Bulletin Rev 2.1, Page 29, C. Unit: Call-For-Aid: (1) Call-for-aid as installed must serve its intended function. (E.g. A bell sounds an alarm, a light is turned on or off-site personnel are notified when the system is activated.). (2) When recording an “Inoperable”, Level 3 deficiency and providing comments such as coiled-up, not fully extended, more than “x” distance from the floor, taped to the wall, etc., inspectors are also required to address the system functionality as supporting justification. Failure to provide the appropriate comments will result in the uploaded inspection being challenged by REAC. (3) If the property has replaced the old Call-for-Aid system with a new electronic neck or hand-held type of system, the presence of any part of an inoperable system that remains must be recorded as “Inoperable.”

The Physical Inspection - Quality Assurance Division performs quality assurance reviews and physical inspections of HUD insured and assisted properties. In addition, the PASS-QA Division provides inspector training both in the classroom and in the field. 

PASS-QA's objective is to ensure that the Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) certified inspectors perform in a professional manner and conduct accurate, reliable and repeatable inspections in full compliance with established REAC inspection protocol. It is useful for those who are expecting a physical inspection in the coming months to become familiar with the latest QA’s (which are posted monthly) to REAC Physical Inspection - QUALITY ASSURANCE DIVISION (PASS-QA).

LeadingAge members are encouraged to submit comments and questions about recent REAC inspection experiences so that staff can be apprised of the latest developments in the field.


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