WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives approved a bill this week that would allow unscreened emergency calls from alarm systems to go directly to public service answering points (PSAPs). This action would bypass the alarm industry's screening process that helps avoid false alarm dispatches, according to the Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC). The bill is now headed to the Senate for debate.
Section 4265 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011 (H.R. 3630) defines emergency calls as "nonhuman-initiated automatic event alerts, such as alarms, telematics, or sensor data, which may also include real-time voice, text or video communications." According to the bill, the alarms can be sent "through voice, text, or video and related data."
The alarm industry screens more than 100 million calls a year and reduces roughly 90% of false alarm dispatches, according to AICC. However, if the bill is enacted, dispatch operators would be flooded with automatic sensor-generated calls and Personnel Emergency Response System (PERS) calls, which cause 99% of false alarm dispatches.
"This action could result in overwhelming PSAPs with calls that do not require emergency services," AICC Chair Lou Fiore says. "While this does not force alarms to be sent directly to 911 centers, the mere fact that it will allow such types of signaling will create products to exist. The harm this would do to the functioning of 911 centers and to the culture of alarm verification we have so successfully implemented is beyond description."
AICC has drafted a document that expresses opposition to the Next Generation 9-1-1 section of the bill. AICC is encouraging all alarm contractors to send the letter to their elected officials. To download the document, click here.