Emergency call systems in public housing

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued guidance on emergency call systems in public housing.  There is no requirement to install emergency call systems in public housing.  HUD does not prescribe the type of emergency call system a public housing authority should use if there is a system present or installed.

However, emergency call systems may be required to be installed and operable as reasonable accommodations, modification or auxiliary aids pursuant to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act.

If a public housing authority has call-for-aid pull cords, wireless communication notification systems or other similar emergency call systems in a public housing property, the systems must function as intended, are subject to Real Estate Inspection Center (REAC) inspection protocols and must be tested. Housing Authorities are not required to replace older call systems with wireless or electronic communication technology.  However, when the public housing authority uses call-for-aid pull cords, REAC inspectors must verify the system functions as intended and the cords must be accessible.  (PIH Notice 2019-25, October 11, 2019.)