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Vol. 14, No. 21 - November 17, 2008
440 Maple Avenue East, Suite 201, Vienna, VA
703-242-4670; Fax 703-242-4675

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Table of Contents:

CSAA New Wiki Workgroups

CSAA has established three new Wiki workgroups. The purpose of the workgroups is to collaborate to collect best practices in three areas: hiring, central station design, and disaster preparedness.

The workgroups will follow the work pattern established by the State Licensing Workgroup and will collaborate by conference calls and by using the CSAA Wiki.

Below are the dates and times for their next work session.

  • "Hiring" Wiki Workgroup: Wednesday, November 19, 2:30pm ET
  • "Central Station Design" Wiki Workgroup: Tuesday, November 25, 2:30pm ET
  • "Disaster Preparedness" Wiki Workgroup: Wednesday, November 26, 10:30am ET

If you are interested in joining any of these groups, please contact Celia Besore at 703-242-4670, x. 16 or at communications@csaaintl.org.

Milestone Reached in Alarm Data Transmission
Successful Conversion to National Information Exchange Model

The Public Safety Data Interoperability (PSDI) Program announces the successful conversion of the External Alarm Interface Information Exchange Packet Documentation (IEPD) to the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) Version 2.0. NIEM is designed to develop, disseminate, and support information sharing standards and processes across the whole of the public safety, justice, emergency and disaster management, intelligence, and homeland security enterprise at all levels and across all branches of government. The PSDI program and the IEPD conversion project were funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, US Department of Justice. The PSDI program is co-managed by the IJIS Institute and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International.

The External Alarm IEPD has been in development since 2004, and has been tested extensively through partnerships with APCO International, York County, Virginia, Emergency Communications Division, City of Richmond, Virginia, Department of Information Technology and Richmond Police Department’s Division of Emergency Communications, the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), and Vector Security.

The purpose of the External Alarm Interface IEPD is to provide a standard data exchange for electronically transmitting information between an Alarm Monitoring Company and a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). There are three primary uses for this IEPD: initial notification of an alarm event, bi-directional update of status between an alarm monitoring company and the PSAP, and bi-directional update of other events between an alarm monitoring company and a PSAP. The upgrade of the exchange from the Global Justice Data XML Model (GJXDM), a reference model for the exchange of information within public safety and justice communities, to NIEM 2.0 enables the emergency communications community to more easily adopt NIEM as a national data exchange standard.

After being in operation with the testing partners for two years, over 5,000 alarm exchanges have been transmitted between Vector Security and the two Virginia PSAPs. The benefit resulting from these 5,000 exchanges include:

  1. 5,000 less telephone calls to the two PSAPs, eliminating the need for the alarm monitoring company operator to converse with the PSAP call-taker.
  2. Elimination of miscommunication between the alarm company operator and the PSAP call-taker.
  3. A significant decrease in response times to alarm-related calls-for-service, with an increase in law enforcement apprehensions made, fires more quickly extinguished, and lives saved.

The External Alarm Interface Exchange concept has been submitted to the APCO American National Standard (ANS) process with the intent of becoming a national standard that Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) providers, Alarm Monitoring Company software providers, and 9-1-1 PSAPs can utilize. This process will include a public comment period beginning in early November 2008.

The PSDI Program is focused on advancing standards-based information sharing to support the emergency communications domains – police, fire, and EMS – and other relevant homeland security domains. The goal of this first project is to improve the real time information sharing capabilities in the emergency response environment. This includes development of high value information exchanges (IEPDs) related to local communication centers/PSAPs. The project committee is composed of 16 representatives from law enforcement, fire services, emergency medical services, industry, emergency management, transportation, APCO International, and BJA.

"The Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) would like to thank Vector Security and especially Vector's President John A. Murphy and Pamela (Pam) J. Petrow, its Chief Operating Officer, for the many hours dedicated to this project which will be of great benefit to the alarm industry and to the protection of our citizens, " said Steve P. Doyle, executive vice president of CSAA.

About the IJIS Institute—The IJIS Institute serves as the voice of industry by uniting the private and public sectors to improve mission critical information sharing for those who protect and serve our communities. The IJIS Institute provides training, technical assistance, national scope issue management and program management services to help government fully realize the power of information sharing. Founded in 2001 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation with national headquarters on the George Washington University Virginia Campus in Ashburn, Virginia, the IJIS Institute has grown to more than 240 member and affiliate companies across the United States. For more information visit www.IJIS.org.

About APCO International—The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to the enhancement of public safety communications. APCO International serves the professional needs of its 15,000 members worldwide by creating a platform for setting professional standards, addressing professional issues and providing education, products and services for people who manage, operate, maintain and supply the communications systems used by police, fire and emergency medical dispatch agencies throughout the world. For more information, visit www.apcointl.org.

About the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)—This project is funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Edward Byrne Memorial Discretionary Grants Program. BJA is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice. The mission of the BJA is to provide leadership and services in grant administration and criminal justice policy development to support local, state, and tribal justice strategies to achieve safer communities. One of BJA’s goals is to improve the functioning of the criminal justice system. To achieve these goals, BJA’s programs emphasize enhanced coordination and cooperation of federal, state, and local efforts. For more information visit www.ojp.usdog.gov/bja.

About the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA)—The Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) is a trade association representing providers, users, bureaus, and other agencies of UL-Listed and/or FM-Approved Central Station protection services. Since 1950, CSAA has represented its members before Congress, regulatory agencies on the local, state and federal levels, and other authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) over the industry. For more information about CSAA, please visit CSAA’s Web site, www.csaaintl.org.

About the City of Richmond, Virginia—Richmond is an economically progressive city and Virginia’s capital, offering a wealth of amenities not easily found among other East Coast municipalities. Richmond’s complete livability can be measured in numerous ways: beautiful neighborhoods with striking architecture; a vast cultural and educational heritage befitting its nearly 200,000 citizens within its 63 square miles; and noted historic prestige tracing back to the early English settlers. Nationally recognized for its vitality and New Economy embrace, Richmond’s diversified employment base extends from chemical, food and tobacco manufacturing to biotechnology, semiconductors and high-tech fibers. The city consistently ranks among “Best Places to Live and Work in America” in several national publications. For more information, visit www.richmondgov.com.

About the County of York, Virginia—York County has played a major role in the development of this nation. Most importantly, it was the location of the culminating battle of the Revolutionary War and the subsequent surrender of Lord Cornwallis and his British army on October 19, 1781. York County has ranked in the top 2% of best counties in a nation-wide quality of life study conducted by American City Business Journals, Inc. York County is home to nearly 65,000 citizens within its 108 square miles on a peninsula formed by the James and York Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay, and it part of the Hampton Roads region. York County is best defined by its quality of life. Mild temperatures, a low crime rate, hundreds of miles of coastline, and abundant flora and fauna contribute to the County’s reputation as a desirable place to live. For more information, visit www.yorkcounty.gov.


Some members' e-mails did not include the e-mail address for the Seattle Police department letter mentioned in the previous CSAA Signals. The link is http://www.csaaintl.org/2008_10_22_Seattle_Letter.pdf.

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