Monitronics International, Dallas, an alarm monitoring company that works through a network of nationwide, independent authorized dealers, began participating in a program aimed at reducing emergency response time and saving lives.
As part of the program, Monitronics now monitors emergency calls in Richmond, Va. The company also began on Aug. 8 monitoring calls to the Houston Emergency Center (HEC), which is the fourth-largest public security access point (PSAP) facility in the United States.
Monitronics was one of the first central stations chosen for the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP) pilot program. The program has three important goals that could save lives: reduce the number of telephone calls in emergencies, eliminate miscommunication, and reduce processing and response time. By transmitting emergency data electronically, Monitronics can do just this.
The Central Station Alarm Association and Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International developed the protocol that reduces the two- to three-minute relay that currently exists, in part by allowing data to be processed by a computer at the dispatch center.
“This program replaces the telephone calls between the alarm company and the 911 PSAP call-takers,” said Mary Jensby, Monitronics central station director. “Central stations will gain an immediate communication from the PSAP, eliminating hold times sometimes experienced when making a dispatch. The program will not only reduce the amount of phone calls that are received by an agency on a daily basis, but will also eliminate the potential for human error.”
The ASAP pilot program took place over the last several months in Richmond. Now, the full implementation has the potential to benefit even more monitoring customers. In addition to being the fourth-largest PSAP in the U.S., HEC is also the largest public safety communications agency in the country and the first in Texas to implement ASAP. In addition to the safety benefits of the program, it is also expected to save the city of Houston $1 million to $2 million annually, according to HEC director David Cutler.
Only three monitoring companies nationwide currently participate in ASAP: Monitronics, Vector Security and United Central Controls.