About Elizabeth Lasko

VP, Marketing and Communications for The Monitoring Association

Loudoun County, VA Implements ASAP

Technology Increases Accuracy and Reduces Response Times to Alarms   

Loudoun County became the twenty-ninth PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) in the United States and the second in the Washington, DC area to go live with the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP), a technology that allows alarm companies to transmit alarms to both the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office and Loudoun County Fire and Rescue communications centers without making a phone call.

This week data from residential and business alarms can now be transmitted electronically, allowing dispatchers to process an alarm in a fraction of the time it would normally take to process an alarm via telephone from an alarm monitoring company. “This new system will eliminate call volume from alarm companies and transmit alarm information to our emergency communications center in three seconds,  ultimately reducing the response times of first responders,” said Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman.

ASAP will not only improve the accuracy and the speed of emergency response times, but eliminate potential human error and miscommunication between 911 dispatchers and alarm monitoring company operators.  “In any emergency, response time and accuracy is critical,” said Chief Keith Brower with Loudoun County Fire and Rescue. “By directly transmitting the information all pertinent information goes directly to Loudoun’s first responders within seconds,” added Chief Brower.

Loudoun County went live with the ASAP program at 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday, October 10, with Vector Security. By the end of the day, Affiliated Monitoring, Rapid Response, and Protection One were live, with Guardian, Vivint, Monitronics and ADT expected to quickly follow.

ASAP was created in partnership with The Monitoring Association (and the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO). Fore more information, visit ASAP. 

Call to Action – The Threat to Central Station Service

A Call to Action from TMA Executive Director Jay Hauhn

TMA members participate on Standards Development Organization (SDO) committees in the development of standards that impact our industry. Despite our best efforts, SDOs occasionally adopt standards language that is harmful to TMA members. Such standards actions can also restrict the service provider preferences of fire and security practitioners, or, may not be in the public’s best interests. When onerous language is enacted, it is crucial that TMA has a strategy to work within established SDO processes to respond appropriately.

TMA members, your immediate attention to a current situation is requested. Three years ago the 2016 edition of NFPA 72, The National Fire Code, was modified to include language that negatively impacted NRTL-listed Central Stations. The language in the code was amended to support municipalities that prescribe through an alarm ordinance what monitoring entity is allowed to monitor fire alarm signals in their municipality. More often than not, that is a single monitoring facility owned or contracted by the municipality. Our effort to overturn this change to the 2016 National Fire Code was unsuccessful.

NFPA 72 is updated every three years. A proposal was submitted by a TMA member to amend the 2019 edition of NFPA 72 to allow NRTL-listed Central Stations to monitor fire alarms without unfair obstruction. The technical committees responsible for the 2019 edition of NFPA 72 have essentially completed their review of changes to the code, and our member’s proposal was rejected. TMA plans to contest this at the June 2018 NFPA event.

It is important to note that standards typically define a minimum requirement. Allowing a higher level of performance that exceeds the minimum requirement is the normal practice. It is unusual for language in a standard to require that a higher level of service require specific approval. This is particularly onerous given that NRTL-listed Central Stations are the gold standard of fire alarm monitoring.

If you are a NRTL-listed Central Station, this issue directly impacts the life safety services you provide your customers. TMA’s effort at the 2015 meeting was defeated as the issue was unfairly portrayed as usurping an AHJ’s authority. We must have sufficient TMA representation at the June 2018 NFPA meeting to contest this action. Our effort to amend the 2016 version of NFPA 72 failed because TMA did not have sufficient representation attend the 2015 meeting and vote.

If monitoring fire alarms is part of your business, you should consider your presence mandatory at the June 2018 annual meeting. Without your attendance, fire alarm monitoring by NRTL-listed Central Stations can be significantly curtailed!

TMA member companies need to send associates to the NFPA meeting in June of 2018. In order to vote at the June Technical Meeting, the attendee must have been a member of NFPA for six months. NFPA membership is an individual membership, not a company membership. The annual cost to belong to NFPA is $175 per individual.

Preparing for action is not complicated

While we know that our member companies all have employees that belong to NFPA, we do not have a database that reflects the names of the actual NFPA members. It is impossible at this time to determine how many members will attend. We will be working to compile that data.

To vote at the 2018 meeting, an attendee must have been a member of NFPA by December 1, 2017.

Please assure that your current employees who are NFPA members renew their membership for 2018 by December 1, 2017.

Join or renew NFPA membership now.: http://catalog.nfpa.org

Please have additional employees join NFPA by the December 1, 2017 date. Joining does not mean the employees will be obligated to attend the June meeting. However, the six month membership requirement requires joining NFPA by December 1. Being proactive is only $175 per employee.

The 2018 NFPA meeting is in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay. Las Vegas is an inexpensive travel location if you plan ahead. Many attendees stay at Luxor and Excalibur where rates are typically under $75 a night. There is a tram between those hotels and Mandalay Bay. Most attendees there to attend the voting session will only need to stay one night.

TMA needs to track participation. Please provide Celia Besore, TMA’s vice president of membership, with information on your current NFPA members, as well as information on those who have joined as a result of this Call to Action. TMA will release updates frequently between now and December 1. You can reach Celia at 703-242-4670 x18 or cbesore@tma.us.

Thank you for your support and action.

Jay Hauhn
Executive Director and CEO
The Monitoring Association

Union County, NC is Live with ASAP

ASAP-Concept1DASAP continues its 2017 surge. Union County, NC went live on Thursday, September 21 at 10:30 a.m. with Vector Security, Rapid Response, Affiliated, and Vivint.  The county will be going live with additional monitoring centers this week.

Union County is the 28th agency in the United States and 8th PSAP in North Carolina to join the ASAP program.

 

More information will be posted soon.

More ASAP News

AICC Fall Meeting Welcomes Members of Congress

On September 7, the Alarm Industry Communications Committee hosted its fall meeting in Washington DC and welcomed two Members of Congress with important connections to telecommunications legislation and regulations.

Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) currently serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is a member of the Communications and Technology, the Health, and the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittees.  She spoke about disaster preparedness and Hurricane Harvey, noting that any natural disaster affects the alarm industry. She noted that the whole country needs to be connected to broadband — the lack of it is “not fair to small towns, rural areas which are struggling to survive” — and the need to rewrite the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Later in the meeting, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, addressed the AICC members primarily on the issue of Net Neutrality. AICC members noted that they are participating in the comments process. Walden said his committee is “fully committed to finding a legislative solution that takes care of bad behavior but does not suppress innovation.” He noted that reauthorizing the FCC as an agency needs to happen before the Telecoms Act can be addressed.

AICC Fall 2017 Walden Fiore Hauhn Signer

From left: TMA Executive Director Jay Hauhn, AICC Chair Lou Fiore, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), AICC lobbyist Bill Signer

Following the representatives’ remarks, AICC members were able to ask questions and put forward their concerns as an industry of small businesses regarding the Telecoms Act, Net Neutrality, and FirstNet.

Johnson Controls Building Solutions, North America Goes Live with ASAP®

ASAP-Concept1DIn a new milestone for the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP®) service, Johnson Controls Building Solutions, North America went live with the city of Richmond, VA on September 18.

ASAP, launched in 2011 as a public-private partnership, is designed to increase the efficiency and reliability of emergency electronic signals from alarm companies to PSAPs. ASAP utilizes ANSI standard protocols developed cooperatively by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) and The Monitoring Association (TMA). With ASAP, critical life safety signals and accurate information are processed digitally in seconds through the Nlets system of state-to-state PSAP communication, insuring that complete and accurate information is transmitted to a PSAP every time.

“We are looking forward to being part of this industry transformation,” said Tony Mucci, Director of Product Management and Engineering for Johnson Controls Building Solutions, North America, “that will enhance the value of our business and our important relationships with emergency responders through the exchange of accurate data, reduction in dispatch time, and achieving awareness of an entire event from start to finish in a way that we have never had before.”

ASAP benefits PSAPs by reducing 10-digit phone call volume from alarm companies; reducing 9-1-1 processing time from minutes to seconds; and eliminating errors and miscommunications from voice calls. These benefits translate to improved public safety outcomes.

“Johnson Controls’ go-live with ASAP and the city of Richmond represents another milestone in the project,” said Bill Hobgood, ASAP Subject-Matter-Expert. “The company is to be applauded for its commitment and diligence in becoming the newest alarm monitoring company to the ASAP service.”

Since its creation, ASAP has grown steadily nationwide. The alarm industry is committed to the service, with small, medium and large companies onboard. The major CAD providers now deliver an ASAP interface. PSAPs ranging from small municipalities to large cities are connected. And the ASAP technical implementation team has developed standardized technology for seamless deployment.

###

About The Monitoring Association
The Monitoring Association (TMA), formerly the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), is an internationally-recognized non-profit trade association that represents professional monitoring companies, including those listed by a TMA-approved Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory, such as FM Global, Intertek/ETL or UL. Incorporated in 1950, TMA is legally entitled to represent its members before Congress and regulatory agencies on the local, state and federal levels, and other authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) over the industry. TMA’s mission is to advance the professional monitoring industry through education, advocacy, and public safety relationships. www.tma.us. For more information, contact Elizabeth Lasko at TMA, 703-242-4670 x 16.

September is National Preparedness Month — Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM)! Disasters don’t plan ahead, but you can. We should all take action to prepare! We are all able to help first responders in our community by training how to respond during an emergency and what to do when disaster strikes — where we live, work, and visit. The goal of NPM is to increase the overall number of individuals, families, and communities that engage in preparedness actions at home, work, business, school, and place of worship.

  • Week 1: September 1-9 Make a Plan for Yourself, Family and Friends
  • Week 2: September 10-16 Plan to Help Your Neighbor and Community
  • Week 3: September 17-23 Practice and Build Out Your Plans
  • Week 4: September 24-30 Get Involved! Be a Part of Something Larger

Find more information and resources at National Preparedness Month.

Wisconsin’s Dane County Looking for a “Dial Mover” with ASAP

Paul Logan Dane County PSAPOn July 6, Dane County, Wisconsin became the 26th agency in the U.S. –and the first in the Badger State–to go live with the ASAP program. Dane County 9-1-1 Center Operations Manager Paul Logan took some time to review the ASAP implementation, which included being the first PSAP to use TriTech’s Inform CAD with an ASAP interface solution and also working with the state Justice Department which manages the state switch.

Asked why Dane County implemented ASAP, Paul said, “We’d been interested in ASAP for a long time, thinking it could have a significant positive impact on our operations. Every PSAP is looking for ways to improve answer times, and decrease the likelihood of errors, and ASAP seems to fit into both of those areas. We decided at budget time a few years ago to ask for the money to buy an interface and get the project rolling.

“Overall, the process has been painless,” he continued. “We worked with our CAD vendor (Tri-Tech) on the interface. It was a learning experience for everyone since we were the first customer to make the request. We’re excited to help make it right for those Tri-Tech customers who will follow. Having [ASAP Subject Matter Expert] Bill Hobgood involved was key to making it happen. Bill obviously has the answers to the tough questions.

“We also worked closely with our state Department of Justice who manages the message switch. Internally, our technical staff worked with all our ASAP partners to make sure it would work, and we’re happy that we finally are live.”

While Logan says that it’s a bit early to say how ASAP is impacting operations, he adds that with ADT, Tyco and other companies coming online soon, he expects to see an impact. “I’m really looking forward to being able to says it’s been a huge dial mover for us,” he concluded.

WASAP-Concept1De’ll check back with Paul Logan in a few months to report on Dane County developments.