From Mark Brandstein, our president
It is common for campus police/security departments to be responsible for monitoring and dispatching fire alarms. They are usually busy with other responsibilities such as campus security, access control, video monitoring and a whole host of administrative jobs such as visitor parking passes. It’s no wonder that adding a life safety responsibility such as fire alarm monitoring with its inherently heavy level of process and responsibility, may be met with resistance. We get it – they already have too much to do but there are solutions.
Continuously improving technologies help to reduce the burden of the incremental responsibility of fire alarm monitoring. Computer-assisted dispatch software exists that greatly facilitates the process of effectively dispatching a fire event: it’s quick and simple, involving minimal training, and reducing the likelihood of mistakes. New technologies provide detector-level fire and life safety event information such as the exact location in a specific building the alarm is coming from. Dispatchers are no longer limited to knowing only the building where the alarm is. They don’t need to spend critical time trying to obtain or relay more specific information to the responders – it’s all on one, easy-to-use screen.
Technology exists to enable a facility to automatically send groups and types of signals to different responders. For example, trouble signals that indicate equipment malfunction can be sent to the campus fire alarm technicians leaving only essential alarms such as fire alarms for the police department dispatchers. Alarm monitoring, dispatching and reporting systems can also receive information from other building systems, so that dispatchers don’t have multiple screens to watch.
With organizations’ continued push to improve life safety but reduce operating costs savings, finding ways to increase efficiency while increasing situational awareness is a challenge…but there is technology to help. Find out more →