Guardian Protection Services of Warrendale, Pa. recently achieved the successful implementation of ASAP-to-PSAP processing protocol for the communication of alarm information to the City of Richmond, Virginia. The protocol went live after successful data transmissions between Guardian’s U.L. certified CSAA Five Diamond monitoring center and the City of Richmond’s 9-1-1 center.
The acronym ASAP/PSAP means Automated Secure Alarm Protocol to Public Safety Answering Point. ASAP is the American National Standard (from American National Standards Institute or ANSI) for computer to computer-aided dispatch system data exchange created by the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) and the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO). The ASAP/PSAP protocol reduces the telephone-based relay currently in place by allowing a computer at an emergency dispatch center (the PSAP) to process data. It is considered the next generation for the processing of information between alarm monitoring stations and emergency dispatch centers. The protocol was developed through the joint partnership of APCO, CSAA and Nlets; the latter is a non-profit organization founded by U.S. law enforcement agencies.
Jim Breisinger, Guardian’s vice president of information technology, stated, “The plan for Guardian to integrate ASAP-to-PSAP was contingent upon the upgrade of our MAStermind monitoring platform to MAS 6.3. We had this in place therefore our next step was to configure MAS for the protocol. It was extremely important MAS be notified that we were preparing to activate this module in our monitoring platform and that the configuration comply with MAS and ASAP requirements. We also wanted the assurance from MAS that they would be there to support us, and they were.” According to Breisinger, the entire process took about six weeks and went smoothly.
“Our I.T., data entry and central station personnel worked together to create, analyze and verify Guardian’s customer database,” said Jason Bradley, central station director. He added, “It was required that our customer data be formatted in compliance with ASAP standards; this is important in completing the emergency dispatch process successfully.”
Guardian worked closely with Bill Hobgood, project manager for the city of Richmond’s DIT public safety team. “The City of Richmond is pleased to have Guardian Protection Services, one of the top ten largest security providers, join the ASAP program and begin delivering alarm notifications to the Richmond 9-1-1 emergency communications center using automation instead of a telephone call. The Guardian staff was easy to work with and able to complete the required certification testing with Richmond in an expeditious manner. Guardian is a welcome addition to the ASAP program.”
According to Bradley, Guardian has prepared its internal staff and developed methods and procedures to support the deployment of the ASAP-to-PSAP protocol “Following data verification, we tested the communication network between Guardian and Richmond, and after instance testing met the satisfaction of City of Richmond and Guardian personnel, we went live,” said Breisinger.
Guardian is a member of the CSAA and a charter member of the ASAP-to-PSAP program which is underway in various cities and municipalities throughout the U.S. It is expected to grow based on its goal of reducing unwarranted alarm signals and call volume to 9-1-1- centers and decreasing processing time, thus saving the PSAP, law enforcement, fire and emergency services millions of dollars in staff time that can be utilized for other purposes, as well as helping to ensure quicker response times.