Congressional Bill Threatens Emergency Response
The Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC), Vienna, VA., has a major concern that the NG 9-1-1 section of H.R. 3630, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011, as currently drafted could result in overwhelming the Public Service Answering Point (PSAP) with calls that do not require emergency services.
The problem could well result in 911 operators being flooded with automatic sensor generated calls, from security devices, as well as personnel emergency response system (PERS) calls. The alarm industry, which currently screens these calls before they are forwarded to 911 centers, knows from experience that the vast majority of these calls from burglar and fire alarm systems as well as from PERS systems do not require dispatch.
While there is support for allowing human-generated texting as an adjunct or replacement for voice, as drafted the bill would allow for sensors to be installed that would result in emergency signals being sent directly to the 911 center without verification. It is also a concern that PERS could be set up to send messages directly to the 911 center.
The AICC is concerned that the FCC would use the authority in the bill to move forward with its desire to allow sensor-driven calls to 911 centers unless Congress changes the existing language in the bill.