New Standards Subcommittee Will Address NFPA 730 and 731

NFPA 730 – Guide for Premises Security and NFPA 731 – Standard for the Installation of Electronic Premises Security Systems are two documents of interest to TMA and its membership.

 

TMA has created a sub-committee within the Standards Committee to monitor and influence these documents. Rick Sheets, who has been involved with these NFPA documents since 2005 and is a current sitting member of the Technical Committees, will lead this effort as the Chairman of the TMA NFPA 730/731 Subcommittee.

 

If you would like to take part in assisting TMA by volunteering to be on the TMA NFPA 730/731 Subcommittee, please contact Bryan Ginn at bginn@tma.us. If you have any questions about NFPA 730/731, please contact Rick Sheets at Rs8486@att.com or 940-390-6989.

 

We will schedule a meeting once the TMA committee members are onboard to begin reviewing the current public comments and discuss TMA’s position and any comments TMA should submit on behalf of our membership.

 

Below is the NFPA schedule for the documents:


Next Edition: 2023


Revision Cycle: Fall 2022

 

First Draft

• Public Input Closing Date: January 6, 2021

• First Draft Report Posting Date: October 27, 2021

 

Second Draft

• Public Comment Closing Date: January 5, 2022

• Second Draft Report Posting Date: October 5, 2022

 

Motions Committee Report (NITMAM)

• NITMAM Closing Date: November 2, 2022

• NITMAM Posting Date: December 14, 2022

UL Releases Update on 2021 Audits

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 brought the concepts of remote inspection, virtual audits, and working from home into full-fledged practical use, at a speed few would have predicted. The experience was a dramatic demonstration of the value of collaborative problem solving and clear communications. In that spirit, UL would like to share plans for 2021.

Read the full update.

TMA will also be hosting a webinar to present and discuss these updates on April 26, 2021 at 11:00AM/ET. Please refer to our calendar for registration.

NetOne’s CTO Appointed New TMA Standards Committee Chair

TMA is pleased to announce that Glenn Schroeder, Chief Technology Officer, NetOne, Inc., has been appointed to Chair, TMA Standards Committee. Glenn bring 40 years of alarm industry knowledge and experience to his new role. Over the span of his career, Glenn has held key senior leadership positions in Information Technology, Corporate Finance, Central Station, Customer Service, Field operations, and sales disciplines.

“Standards creation is rewarding, but challenging, work. In defining best practices, standards help business, the economy and the safety of everyone. They affect all of us every day, wherever we go, and in whatever we do,” stated Glenn. “Having the opportunity to spend over 40 years in this industry, it is a privilege to be able to contribute my knowledge, expertise, and experience to influence the development of standards that could better the lives and business of the future.”

Please join us is welcoming Glenn to this pivotal role.

The Monitoring Association Releases Revised ANSI-accredited Standard

In its on-going effort to reduce the occurrence and impact of false dispatches, TMA has released the latest revision of its ANSI-accredited standard, TMA CS-V-01-2020 (Version August 01, 2020). This standard takes alarm verification and confirmation to its next level by defining multiple-attempt confirmation, biometric, audio and video confirmation. The standard is now available for free download.

Learn more about TMA’s standards activities at https://tma.us/standards/.

Call for Participation – New TMA/ANSI Standard

The Monitoring Association (TMA), as an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited Standards Development Organization (SDO), is seeking interested individuals to participate on the committee that will create a proposed new standard, currently designated as TMA-AVS-01.

From the ANSI Project Initiation Notification System:

Abstract of Project:

The increasing use of data by Public Safety has had a positive impact on the services they provide to the public.  Datasets generated by commercial sources, such as the alarm industry, can be a valuable data source to Public Safety.  Real time data from security providers will improve situational awareness as well as first responder safety.  Sensor innovation driven by technological advances has raised the quantity and quality of data collected by alarm systems. 

Alarm monitoring centers can use this data to estimate the validity of an alarm event, which enables the creation of standardized “alarm scoring” metrics.  Calls for Service to Emergency Call Centers/Public Safety Answering Points that include a standardized scoring metric can assist public safety departments that opt-in to the program, with their alarm response policies, similar to how Location Accuracy and Crash Severity scoring are used. 

Project Need:

Public Safety officials in municipalities establish alarm response policies specific to their jurisdiction.  Such an ANSI standard will be created cooperatively with Public Safety stakeholders.  Alarm scores would be calculated by an alarm monitoring center process and technology.  Alarm scores transmitted to Public Safety in a standardized manner minimizes workflows within Public Safety.  It allows Public Safety to take advantage of the data without the burden of receiving and analyzing it themselves.  Additionally, the standard can enable processes for data relative to a Call for Service, to be “pulled” by Public Safety on demand.

Identify Stakeholders:

The Monitoring Association (TMA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Association of Public Communications Officials (APCO), National Emergency Number Association (NENA), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), National Sheriffs Association (NSA), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Partnership for Priority Verified Alarm Response (PPVAR) 

ANSI guidelines require that standards development committees have proper “balance” so that no single interest category dominates the group or process to the exclusion of fair and equitable consideration of other viewpoints.  Proper balance of committee membership will be achieved through sufficient representation from three primary interest categories: User – a person or organization who directly or indirectly utilize services or products described in the standard; Producer – a person or organization that directly or indirectly produce, manufacture, or distribute products or develop services which may be described in the standard; and General Interest – a person who has expressed a general interest in the content of the standard.  Specifically, proposed interest categories are Alarm Monitoring, Public Safety, Installer/Maintainer, Special Expert, Service Provider, and Manufacturer/Software Provider.

Membership in TMA is not required to participate as a committee member.  Additionally, anyone may offer comments on the draft standard without being a committee member or a TMA member.  ANSI and TMA procedures require equal consideration of all comments.

TMA leadership will determine the number of committee members with consideration to the number of applications received, balanced with the need to assure the group can work effectively and efficiently.   Alternate member non-voting participation will be considered.

The committee will be asked to complete their initial draft of the standard within 120 days of the first committee meeting.  Following completion of the draft document, committee participation for an additional three to a six-month period will be required during the public review and comment phase, and for completion of the final draft.

Please complete the online short form if you are interested in being considered for membership on the TMA-AVS-01 committee.  Questions may be directed to Bryan Ginn at bginn@tma.us or at 703-660-4919.

CS-V-01 Draft Available Now, Public Review opens April 1st, 2019

The TMA CS-V-01 Committee has completed revisions to ANSI/TMA CS-V-01 2019 and the draft is available now at https://tma.us/standards/.  60-day public review opened April 1st, 2019. Closing date May 31, 2019.

Standards Overview


Background

Alarm Systems serve the public interest by providing alerts of threats to life and property and initiating proper responses to those emergencies. Because of the critical nature of these systems, it is vital that these systems be installed, monitored, and serviced in a manner that will assure they accomplish their public safety function.

With wide variations in the capabilities of alarm companies, there is a need for ensuring consistency of installation and service. The best method of ensuring alarm systems accomplish their public safety function is through the use of standards.

Purpose of Standards

Standards are seen as minimum requirements that can be used to regulate various elements of the provision of alarm services. Standards guide regulators as to what requirements should be imposed on providers of alarm services and how alarm systems should be inspected.

There are many types of standards that can be used depending on the regulator’s needs. Standards exist for alarm equipment, installation, monitoring, and service. Additional standards are being developed to address both false alarm reduction and licensing for operation of alarm monitoring organizations.

Development of Standards

Because of the vital role standards play, it is important to develop them with a disciplined process. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is an organization of standards writers that coordinates the development of voluntary consensus standards. Standards developed through the ANSI process are assured of having broad input from a variety of stakeholders and a consensus decision making process to finalize the standard.

Participating stakeholders for alarm system standards include regulators, manufacturers and installers of alarm systems and the conformance assessment agencies UL and FM. The writing of accredited standards are sponsored by various organizations including the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and private sector alarm industry associations such as the Central Station Alarm Association.

Benefits of Standards

Standards benefit regulators by providing a high quality guide for use in setting local standards. They can be seen as both fair and effective because they are developed by a consensus process. Standards also protect regulators against litigation because an industry accepted standard was utilized.

Standards benefit purchasers of alarm systems by providing assurance that their alarm system meets minimum requirements. Standards can provide businesses reasonable assurance that they are taking prudent precautions to provide safety and security for employees and visitors.

For the alarm industry, standards enhance its overall image by assuring all participants will install, monitor, and service to a minimum standard, which opens the markets to all by promoting, fair competition.

Implementation of Standards

Although a broader community develops standards, their implementation is dependent on regulators to assure the proper installation and ongoing service of alarm systems. Regulators can be local public fire officials, public safety officials, the insurance industry, and others.

Conclusion

The broad use of accredited standards by regulators provides protection and assurance to customers who purchase alarm systems. Implementing standards that are developed by a consensus making process assures the validity of the standard. The use of standards will raise the level of alarm services, benefiting all participants.

ASAP to PSAP: One Size Fits All

 

The month of May has been a busy month for the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP) program. Efforts are underway to migrate all Nlets directly connected alarm monitoring companies to the new Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) managed Message Broker. In concert with this effort, CAD providers that have an ASAP interface solution have been upgrading their ASAP software applications to the 3.3 schema. Couple these efforts with new added security between the Message Broker and the Nlets Message Switch, three new CAD providers testing their ASAP interface solution, one new alarm automation provider testing its solution and the first of the next five alarm companies to join the ASAP program becoming connected to the Message Broker, and it has been a busy month indeed.

The ASAP ANSI standard is a one-size-fits-all solution: It is no secret that the ASAP to the PSAP program works well for the Houston Emergency Center (HEC), reported to be the fourth largest PSAP in the United States. It’s responsible for providing public safety communications to 2.3 million residents over an area of 634 square miles. Houston is a huge metropolis, so large that someone driving a vehicle could start from one end point on the interstate on the edge of Houston and continue to drive and still be in Houston one hour later. The HEC receives 2,600 police-related alarms weekly and 13% require no calltaker involvement because of ASAP. As more alarm companies begin their participation, this percentage will increase, and fewer alarm notifications will require calltaker involvement. Houston is preparing to begin accepting fire and medical alarms via the ASAP program in June.

The ASAP standard works well for the City of Richmond Virginia, a medium-size PSAP about one-tenth the size of Houston in both population (204,751) and land area (63 square miles). Richmond averages 250 alarms (police, fire and medical) weekly. Approximately 18% of these alarms are received via the ASAP program. Like Houston, this percentage will increase as more alarm companies are added to the program including the long-awaited, granddaddy of the alarm industry: ADT.

The ASAP program works for large cities/counties, medium-size cities/counties and small towns. Like Houston, the ASAP program will work for New York City; Chicago; Los Angeles; San Diego; Washington, D.C.; Boston; Dallas; Fairfax County, Va.; Atlanta; San Antonio; Denver; and so on. Like Richmond, it will work for Norfolk, Newport News, Charlotte, Virginia Beach, Savannah, Charleston, Portland, etc. ASAP to the PSAP can work for a one position 9-1-1 PSAP that receives only one alarm a day or perhaps only one a week. Many of the cities and counties mentioned above are actively working with their CAD providers to acquire an interface to receive the ASAP traffic.

The ASAP is an American National Standard that is not vendor specific or proprietary. It is based on open standards using the Extensible Markup Language and conforms to the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM). CAD providers and alarm monitoring automation providers need only develop the ASAP interface once and deploy it many times to their customers.

Some determining factors if the ASAP program will work for your agency (now or later): The logistics of the ASAP program requires that the PSAP have a CAD system capable of interfacing to the Nlets state control point. Typically, the transport path for alarm notifications is (1) alarm monitoring company sends to (2) CSAA Message Broker sends to (3) Nlets sends to (4) state control point sends to (5) PSAP’s CAD system. Responses from the CAD system to the alarm monitoring company use the reverse route. The travel time from the alarm monitoring company to the PSAP has been benchmarked in the 2 – 5 seconds range. This means that from the time that the alarm operator initiates the alarm notification to the PSAP, the data shows up within 2 – 5 seconds on average at the PSAP’s CAD system and the CAD will automatically create a new call-for-service alarm event instantly. Because the ASAP program bypasses the call-taker process, the first indication to PSAP staff of the new alarm event is upon delivery of the call-for-service event to the radio operator’s pending call queue. The CAD can be configured to automatically broadcast high priority law enforcement-related alarms to all Mobile Data Computers (MDCs) in the field to enable a rapid response by law enforcement resources sometimes starting before the voice dispatch by the radio operator.

If the PSAP does not have a connection to the state control point, often this may mean that the PSAP is a secondary PSAP. Sometimes a secondary PSAP may have an agreement in place with the primary PSAP and be able to make use of the primary PSAP as a message switch. When this arrangement is not practical, the statewide Emergency Service IP Networks (ESInets) hold promise for the future and may offer those PSAPs that are unable to connect to the state control point a viable alternative in receiving ASAP traffic. The APCO/CSAA Technical Committee will continue to monitor connectivity possibilities as the ESInets are deployed in each state.

For PSAPs that have a CAD system that is capable of interfacing to the state control point, the next obvious question is whether the PSAP’s CAD provider offers an ASAP interface solution. To make this determination, the practical method is to contact the CAD provider and ask. Even if the CAD provider does not have a solution, at least the PSAP has made its interest in the PSAP program known to the CAD provider. Some CAD providers have made business decisions to provide a solution for their most current CAD product line, but not for their older product lines.

The cost of an ASAP interface is surely another consideration for some agencies. APCO and the CSAA have encouraged CAD providers to absorb research and development costs, and then spread those costs across license fees for the CAD providers’ customers. While the ASAP to PSAP articles steer clear of mentioning license fees, the costs may be cheaper than you might think. Again, contact your CAD provider. If they have an ASAP solution, ask about the costs associated with implementing ASAP.

Reprinted from Public Safety Communications. Written by Bill Hobgood on May 30, 2012 in APCO, Calltaking/Dispatch, Codes/Standards, News, Operations, Tech

 

About the Author

Bill Hobgood is a Project Manager for the City of Richmond’s DIT Public Safety Team with 40 years of experience in public safety. He is also a Project Coordinator for APCO’s Comm Center & 9-1-1 Services Department and a Subject-Matter-Expert on the ASAP Project. Contact Bill via email at asap@apcointl.org.