On October 11, 2019, the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) issued Notice PIH 2019-25, which provides guidance on emergency call systems in public housing. The notice applies to all PHAs and localities that operate public housing. It should be noted that while the notice applies to public housing, the Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) of the notice apply to all HUD housing subject to REAC.
PHAs are not required to install emergency call systems in any public housing property. However, systems may have to be installed as a reasonable accommodation.
If a housing unit has call-for-aid pull cords, wireless electronic notification systems, or other similar emergency call systems, the systems must function as intended. All systems are subject to REAC protocols and must be tested during inspections.
If the PHA has replaced an old call-for-aid system, any part of the old system that remains (e.g., the pull cord) will be tested and recorded as a deficiency if inoperable and does not function as intended. For this reason, when replacing an old call-for-aid system, all components of the old system must be completely removed.
In order to be deemed operable, all the following conditions for an emergency call system must be met:
- The system must work as intended;
- The system sounds an alarm to summon help from the intended source, and/or actuates a signal, which may be visual, audible, or both; and
- The system is available in each bathroom and each bedroom in dwelling units.
All owners/agents with subject to REAC inspections should be familiar with this HUD Notice and the requirements relative to Emergency Call Systems.