Standard Active Last Updated: Jan 09, 2019
ASTM F3297-19

Standard Practice for Corrections Application for Non-Lethal Electric Security Fences

Significance and Use

4.1 Electric security fences, in view of their high-deterrent impact, are a safe method to reduce security costs or enhance existing security. They have broad applications for situations in which both minimum or maximum security are needed. They are deployed in a wide variety of environments and geographies. In particular, electric security fences are used to decrease the need for security guards and other security systems.

4.2 This practice provides information to users and manufacturers of electric security fences, filling a void.

4.3 International standards exist at IEC and BSI (see Section 2) that cover some aspects of these systems.

4.4 A standard issued by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) (UL 69) covers electric fence controllers to be used on lighting or line circuits in accordance with NFPA 70. However, UL 69 covers, specifically, electric fence controllers used only for the control of animals. Its requirements cover portable and permanently mounted electric fence controllers with peak-discharge or sinusoidal-discharge output for indoor or outdoor use, including battery operated controllers intended to operate from battery circuits of 42.4 V or less, line-operated controllers intended to operate from circuits of 125 V or less, combination controllers intended to operate from either a battery or a line circuit, and photovoltaic module battery operated controllers. The scope states that the requirements of UL 69 do not cover electric fence controllers for the continuous (uninterrupted) current type or intermediate equipment, such as a converter, a rectifier, or the like, that is sometimes used between the primary source of supply and an electric fence controller and is investigated only as part of a complete controller. UL 69 also states that the requirements do not cover electric fence controllers for use with electrified security fences.

4.5 In contrast to UL 69, this practice specifically addresses the use of electric security fences in detention and correctional facilities.

Note 1: Extensive research on the safety of pulsed electrical devices, which are used in electric fence controllers, is found in work by Amit Nimunkar and John Webster.6 This research provides background on the safety of electric security fences and is of value to those wishing to understand the basic science behind these systems.

4.6 Limitations of Electric Security Fences—It is likely that electric security fences are not appropriate for use in environments associated with juvenile, mental health, or other special populations.


1.1 The purpose of this practice is to provide advice for the selection and use of non-lethal electric security fences to deter, detect, and delay an unauthorized breach of the perimeter.

1.2 The intended applications of this practice are detention and correctional facilities.

1.3 Units—The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard. The tolerance on physical dimensions is ±10 % unless otherwise specified.

1.4 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.5 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 15.08
Developed by Subcommittee: F33.06
Pages: 4
DOI: 10.1520/F3297-19
ICS Code: 13.310; 29.020; 91.090