Office of Research Environmental Alarms in Animal Facilities - Office of Research

Environmental Alarms in Animal Facilities


The purpose of this policy is to define when environmental alarms, with central monitoring and a system that provides 24/7 alarm notifications, are required in animal housing rooms. Temperature alarms provide a mechanism to ensure room temperatures are maintained within the ranges necessary to prevent catastrophic loss and is not a substitute for routine temperature monitoring (e.g., daily temperature logs) to ensure the recommended temperature range for animal well-being is maintained.

The alarms are a back-up system to aid in ensuring the well-being of the animals in the room, as well as help reduce unintended variables that may impact research studies.


The IACUC has determined that temperature alarms must be installed in all indoor animal housing areas, excluding barns and sheltered housing areas

Animal areas housing aquatic species may not need “room temperature alarms”, if the equipment (i.e., pumps, filters) and/or tanks that hold the animals are alarmed in some manner and a notification system provides immediate contact to the facility manager or designee.

In some animal housing areas a central alarm may be appropriate, the IACUC may also require additional rooms be alarmed, these will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Daily temperature logs must be maintained to document the temperatures are within the ranges required by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and the ILAR Guide. Temperature alarms are intended to detect HVAC system failure; they are a backup mechanism for daily temperature checks rather than a replacement.


It is the responsibility of the Scientist-in-Charge (SIC) and Technician-in-Charge (TIC) to ensure that all animal rooms in their facilities that fall in the above categories are properly alarmed prior to housing animals. The SIC and TIC must also ensure the system is functioning properly, that it is tested at least annually and appropriate preventive maintenance is provided. The SIC and TIC must also establish a notification system for alarm response and ensure the notification call list is updated as personnel changes occur. Updates should be sent to so Facilities Management has the current contact information in the event of an alarm.

To have alarms installed or to request an estimate, place a work order with Facilities Management at  In the event of an emergency call 530-752-1655.


  • Animal Welfare Act
  • ILAR Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, Eight Edition

Procedure: IACUC-16
Date: May 5, 2016
Enabled By: PHS/USDA
Supersedes: October 18, 2012