Protection 1 goes live with ASAP program

Pam Petrow, CSAA VP, says local advocacy will be key to getting more PSAPs—and central stations—on board
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

ROMEOVILLE, Ill.—Protection 1, a security company whose monitoring arm is CMS, is the latest central to go live with the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol program, according to an announcement from the CSAA.

By adopting the ASAP program, the company will have all its alarm signals processed in seconds through the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System of state-to-state PSAP communication, ensuring that complete and accurate information is relayed to the PSAP every time.

As of press time, Protection 1 had not responded to Security Systems News’ request for an interview.

Designed by the CSAA and the Association of Public Communications Officials, the ASAP to PSAP program, launched in 2011, is an industry initiative designed to enhance the efficiency and reliability of signal transmission between central stations and PSAPs.

Pam Petrow, CSAA first vice president and CEO of Vector Security, said the program is gaining momentum. Ten jurisdictions have already adopted the program, including Houston and Washington, D.C., and Petrow said three major cities are due to come on board by the end of the year, although she was not at liberty to disclose those jurisdictions.

As ASAP adoption expands to more jurisdictions, the ranks of monitoring centers coming online with the program will swell too, Petrow said. She added that it’s up to the industry to conduct the necessary outreach to bring the program into their market.

“The biggest challenge for [monitoring companies] is gaining the participation of the PSAPs of the markets in which they work,” Petrow said. While CSAA has an outreach committee dedicated to spreading the PSAP message, she said that effort has to be supplemented by local advocacy as well.  

“Individual member companies have the strongest relationships in their markets to help drive change,” Petrow said. “If you’re in a geographic market where there isn’t currently an [ASAP] operating PSAP or one that’s in the process, the No. 1 thing you want to do is get engaged in your community to find out what you can do to make that happen.”

One major factor Petrow believes will spur greater PSAP adoption is the expanding number of computer-aided dispatch vendors. As more CAD vendors come online, the likelihood increases that PSAPs in more locations will begin build into their operation the software necessary for ASAP to PSAP adoption.

But Petrow cautioned that such companies have to be pushed by customers.

“They’re just like any software development company—they need to be pushed by customers to provide the service,” she said. “If PSAPs aren’t reaching out and saying ‘Hey, I’d like to see this service,’ they’re not going to put development time into it.”

Equally important to getting PSAPs on board is the need to understand the different dynamics governing the hundreds of PSAPs across the country, Petrow noted. For example, some could be run by agencies like the police and fire departments, she said, while others might be civilian operated.

Discerning the differences of these various styles of operation can be the first step toward successful outreach—which Petrow says is the industry’s major imperative when it comes to the program.

“I think it’s about creating the awareness in their local markets,” she said. “If they have PSAPS in their communities that aren’t attending any of these industry events, they may not even know the capabilities are out there. So the outreach is really critical at this point to make sure we’re finding these cities and jurisdictions and making sure they know this technology is available.”