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PHOTO COURTESY VOLUSIA SHERIFF'S OFFICE KEEPING ALERT — Telecommunicator Alecia Kanaby monitors calls and positioning of emergency units in the Volusia Sheriff’s Office’s Communications Center, which handles emergency and nonemergency responses for all of the county’s police, fire and medical services.

County are getting faster response times to alarm activations — and at no additional cost.

The Volusia Sheriff’s Office Communications Center is speeding up response time and freeing up more dispatchers to answer 911 calls with a new, automated system that responds to burglar, fire and medical alarms instantly, with no phone call required.

In its first full month, implementation of the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP) system already resulted in about 1,200 fewer calls to VSO dispatchers, who handle every 911 and nonemergency call for every law-enforcement, fire and EMS service in Volusia County.

“If technology can help us provide better, faster service, we have to take advantage of it,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood said of the new system, which went live in May with the participation of major alarm companies across the U.S. “This will speed up our response to alarms, and at the same time, free up more dispatchers to take 911 calls that absolutely require a human being on the line.”

In the past, alarm companies had to manually call the nonemergency line to report a home or business burglar, fire or medical alarm activation. That meant a dispatcher had to answer the call, receive the information and enter it into the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system.

With the new ASAP system, the alarm notification is all electronic, and all the information is automatically populated and entered in CAD.

The Volusia Sheriff’s Office was the 86th emergency communications center in the country to implement ASAP, and the ninth in Florida.

The companies participating include ADT, Stanley Security, Rapid Response Monitoring, Vector Security, Security Central, Securitas, Tyco (Johnson Controls), Quick Response, ADS (Nashville), Alert 360, Guardian Protection, Affiliated Monitoring, National Monitoring Center, AT&T Digital Life, Protection One, Vivint, and Brinks Home Security.

No action is required on the customer’s end, and there is no additional cost for residents or businesses. Alarm companies will continue to contact home and business owners to notify them of any alarms.

Any customers who are unsure if their alarm service provider is participating in the new system should contact the provider.

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