Emergency call center operator

2013 GCN AWARDS

Richmond's alarm tech cuts 911 errors, speeds call center operations

Emergency call centers operators at Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) handle not just 911 calls but those from alarm monitoring companies that also report fires, break-ins and medical emergencies.

In that hectic world, PSAP  operators are required to answer 911 calls first. While that seems reasonable on the surface, this policy can set up points of failure in the handoff from an alarm monitoring company operator and the 911 operator. How is this a failure point? When alarm call takes a back seat to 911, help may not be dispatched as quickly as possible, and a break-in or other trouble can ensue.

The city of Richmond, Va., in partnership with York County, Va. and working with alarm firm Vector Security, helped develop the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP), a new alarm interface, to remove these points of failure.

Developing a custom data exchange template and using message broker technology conforming to XML and National Information Exchange Model standards, the system has cut down on the number of phone  calls between alarm monitoring companies and 911 centers. All electronic exchanges delivered to Richmond have been free of errors, and there have been no mistaken dispatches for any alarm event received via the data exchange.

The system has been so successful that, in at least four cases, when the police arrived on the scene of a burglar alarm that was delivered to Richmond’s 911 center via the data exchange, they found the perpetrator still on the premises.

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