100 Associations

Safety: Connected First Responders

By / Aug 12, 2020 (Panuwat Sikham/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

TMA is advocating for nationwide use of technology that would give first responders access to audio and video details when they arrive on the scene of an emergency.

Safety • The Monitoring Association

Many buildings use video and audio monitoring, transmitting data to monitoring centers, which contact first responders when alarms are triggered. But even in 2020, information about a scene where an alarm was triggered is still often relayed to first responders by telephone.

“Video or audio data may be available in a monitoring center, and a description of what the operator sees or hears is commonly relayed to the ECC [Emergency Communications Center] verbally,” says Celia T. Besore, MBA, CAE, executive director of The Monitoring Association, the trade organization representing the professional monitoring industry. “However, the first responder has no way of seeing live what is happening. Any additional data about the alarm activation provided to the ECC, such as additional sensors being triggered, necessitates another phone call.”

TMA is working to move that communication into the 21st century. The organization is advocating for universal use of “ASAP-to-PSAP technology,” a national infrastructure that automates the process of sending alarm notification data.

“There is no need for a phone call, which means that public safety receives the information a lot faster, saving an average of five minutes per call,” Besore says, adding that electronic transmission also has the advantage that “human error due to miscommunication is virtually eliminated.”

With full implementation of this technology, first responders will have access to audio and video details when they arrive on the scene of an emergency, improving their safety and that of those who are already there.

Rasheeda Childress

Rasheeda Childress is a senior editor at Associations Now. She covers money and business. Email her with story ideas or news tips. More »