Photo: Bill Hobgood, public safety team project manager of the Richmond, Va., Department of Information Technology

Alarm monitoring companies typically call a 911 operator to report an incident when an alarm sounds, which can result in errors, delays and possibly life-threatening circumstances.

But that doesn't happen in Richmond, Va., which now automates the process, eliminating phone calls, saving time and possibly lives. The automation interface could eliminate more than 32 million incoming 911 phone calls for assistance from alarm-monitoring companies.

Richmond, in partnership with solution provider Intergraph, went live in April after a two-year pilot that displayed the viability of the software interface and resulted in an American National Standards Institute standard recognized by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International.

"The new exchange standard simply replaces that traditional call that alarm companies place to 911 centers in order to notify them of an alarm event," said Bill Hobgood, public safety team project manager of the Richmond Department of Information Technology. "If you look at just the initial delivery of the new alarm event by telephone and using this standard nationwide we predict across all the 6,500 public safety answering points [PSAPs] if they were to take advantage of the standard, we could eliminate 32 million telephone calls to 911 every year."

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Jim McKay, Editor  |  Editor