Alarm Safety Committee

Campus Safety maintains central alarm systems that monitor security, fire, and safety systems across campus. All security alarm systems installed on campus must be reviewed by the Alarm Safety Committee (ASC) and align with the Intrusion System Policy.

Intrusion System Policy


To establish standardized procedures to enhance and preserve the personal safety of students, staff, faculty, and guests; secure the physical property and tangible assets of the university; protect campus buildings from unauthorized intrusion, and to protect the integrity of university research. 

Campus Safety monitors and provides response to several alarm systems on campus. This policy specifies the processes (e.g. system reviews and approvals) that university colleges, departments, and auxiliary corporations must follow to install and maintain non-fire alarm systems. 

Alarm Safety Committee

  • Reviews requests for installation or modification of any alarm system
  • Reviews response protocols for alarm systems
  • Reviews existing alarm systems to determine necessity for any changes
  • Reviews policies related to alarm systems and the necessity for any changes 

  1. Campus Safety
  2. Security Engineering Services
  3. Information Technology Services
  4. Office of General Counsel
  5. Other groups as needed 

No intrusion or security systems shall be installed on the academic campus without the express approval of Campus Safety.

The University of Iowa Health Care is exempt from this policy as they provide central monitoring and response for their internal alarm systems. 

Departments are required to report the existence of any intrusion and/or panic alarm system to Security Engineering Services by December 31, 2024. Campus Safety may require an inventory as needed in the future after the initial inventory.

Security Engineering Services (SES) designs, installs, or oversees installation, and maintains security systems throughout the University of Iowa campus. Security devices, control panels, and all associated wiring, cabling, telephone, and network connections are the responsibility of the department and SES. SES will be used to maintain the system at the expense of the department. If any exceptions are requested the Alarm Approval Committee will consider them on a case-by-case basis.

New Construction 

For newly constructed or renovated facilities SES is to be included in and have input in program design meetings for all of projects and remodel/refurbish projects on campus that include security and video surveillance devices as a part of the design and eventual monitoring. Campus Safety and SES will use a security assessment tool to advise departments on the minimum building security requirements for these kinds of projects.

Existing Facilities

Prior to purchasing security equipment to be added to existing facilities departments are required to request a site inspection conducted by Security Engineering Services to determine the department’s purpose in requesting an alarm system and to provide advice and approval of its configuration.

Installation Costs

All costs for purchase and installation of security systems alarm devices shall be borne by the appropriate project budget or the department or unit making the requests, with the understanding that meeting the minimum standards is the goal.

Central Monitoring

All approved alarm systems are required to be connected to a central monitoring system located at Campus Safety. The Alarm Approval Committee will consider any exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

New Security System Installation

All new alarm installations on campus must have accompanying user training provided by SES or the approved vendor to include access control, article protection, and intrusion devices. The department will create an internal policy with input and approval from Campus Safety.  The alarm system operations policy must include: 

  1. Arming and disarming the system
  2. Response to real alarms
  3. Response to false alarms
  4. How to update information
  5. How to test the alarm system

The end user is required to perform annual staff training for its personnel, as well as new employee training as needed. The department is required to test systems annually at the department's expense. The end user and vendor will schedule the annual testing three (3) weeks in advance with the Emergency Communications Center.

In July of each year Campus Safety’s Emergency Communications Center will contact each alarm account holder to update contact information to include three points of contact, their email addresses and phone numbers.

As of Jan. 1, 2018, SES is the sole service provider (installation and maintenance) for alarm systems on campus. Maintenance costs for alarm systems are the responsibility of the department. Departments will be assessed a monthly fee per panel for license, monitoring hardware upgrades and programming.

The University of Iowa Police Department (UIPD) will respond to all alarms received by the Emergency Communications Center. The alarm account holder is required to maintain their systems and training to reduce the number of false alarms reporting to UIPD. When an alarm occurs, the Emergency Communications Center will attempt to contact an alarm account holder and their alternate contacts. If a police officer responds to an alarm that is determined to be false, and it occurs 3 times in a 24-hour period, UIPD will request permission from the alarm account holder to disable the alarm until the account holder advises UIPD that the system is operational. In the event a UIPD supervisor cannot contact an alarm account holder, the UIPD supervisor has the authority disable the account on a temporary basis.


Hold-up and Duress Alarms

All alarm installations must be vetted and approved per university policy. Please note that most requests are declined as other solutions are employed.

Hold-up alarms are installed in areas where the risk of robbery is heightened because of the nature of the work unit's business and/or environment factors. All electronic devices installed to actuate and transmit a "silent" alarm signal to UIPD and/or other designated police or security agency.

Duress alarm systems are installed in areas where the risk of personal confrontation is heightened because of the nature of the work unit's business and/or other environmental factors. All electronic devices installed to actuate and transmit a "silent" alarm signal to University Police and/or other designated police or security agency.

Installations of Duress and/or Hold-up alarms that are expected to be monitored and responded to by University Police will conform to the following:

  1. All Hold-up/Duress alarm locations must be vetted and approved by Security Engineering Services in conjunction with University Campus Safety.
  2. Duress and/or Hold-up alarm buttons will only be installed where there is an extreme (and predictable) safety risk to university personnel and where no other viable options are available.
  3. A written procedure must be developed in conjunction with Campus Safety. This procedure must be followed by Departmental staff.
  4. Yearly training and testing of buttons will be required and at the expense of the Department.
  5. A training certification must be completed by any staff, student, or faculty member that has access to the button and is responsible for its activation.
  6. Video surveillance cameras per UI Policy, will be installed covering the button and immediate area surrounding the Duress/Hold-up installation at the Department requesting, expense.
  7. Installations will be hard-wired only, with few exceptions. Mobile or personnel-worn wireless Duress/Hold-up buttons will only be used where hard-wired options are not available.
Hold-up Alarms

Hold-up buttons are restricted to point-of-sale locations where cash handling exceeds $1,000. 

Duress Alarm Systems

Duress alarm button installations are sternly regulated at the University of Iowa and will be restricted to vetted locations and operations where duress alarms are the only, and best, occupant security option. 


Any location where duress or hold-up buttons are installed  require video surveillance. This is mandatory. For existing locations, SES will either install cameras or remove buttons. Note: installing cameras tasked on work or office locations will likely meet resistance from staff/faculty.

Other Alternatives
  1. Positioning a phone at the location, with 911 on speed dial.
  2. Rave Guardian App: Allows users to set a safety timer, text anonymous tips to police, and call UIPD with the push of a button.
  3. Silent Alerting (non-UIPD response and intradepartmental notification): UIPD does not service or manage but is responsible for approving the use of the service.
  4. Silent Alerting (UIPD response): Allows front desk staff to discretely send a notification to request intradepartmental assistance or police involvement. This service utilizes centrally provided software that is available to all university staff and is managed by the department's IT staff once approved by Campus Safety.
  5. Other options can include +1 staffing procedures, training nearby staff to make phone calls, a “local only” system to alert full-time staff at locally attended locations (i.e. no tie to UIPD), etc.

Make a Request

All intrusion/security systems on campus must be reviewed by the ASC and align with campus policies.