Siemens connects directly with Philly PSAP

Thursday, January 24, 2008

BUFFALO GROVE, Ill.—Siemens Building Technologies, a provider of building controls, fire safety and security system solutions, announced on Jan. 3 the installation of a direct-access phone line connecting its central monitoring station directly to the Philadelphia 911 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).
“I would recommend [this solution] to anyone based on the success we’ve had so far,” said Tim Kennedy, Siemens central station data administration manager.
Kennedy told Security Systems News that Siemens’ central station operators were experiencing extended wait times when reporting alarms to the Philly PSAP. In the process of attempting to resolve the problem, Kennedy said the PSAP informed him that they had developed a system to route priority calls directly into the center and Siemens could acquire a dedicated line if it wanted to receive faster service.
“It didn’t even take a day to decide that that was what we wanted to do,” said Kennedy. “The difference between a 45-second to two-minute wait before we even spoke to a dispatcher and a five-to-10 second wait wasn’t even comparable when dealing with life safety and property safety,” said Kennedy.
Siemens set up a direct access phone line, or direct-dial DID PBX line, through Verizon that prioritized Siemens calls and informed PSAP operators that the incoming call was a Siemens operator. Kennedy said the new system, which began operation on Nov. 9, has “dramatically decreased” response times.
He said there was little to no transition time involved in setting up this system and it not only decreased Siemens dispatch time, but it also increased the efficiency of its operators who only had to call one number instead of multiple Philly numbers, depending on the location of the alarm.
Kennedy said that the Philly PSAP is the only center he’s aware of that offers this type of service, and said that Siemens is considering acquiring additional lines into the PSAP after they evaluate the number of alarms dispatched to the Philly PSAP.