PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The City of Portland’s Bureau of Emergency Communications has launched a new automated system that it says will help cut down on 911 hold times.
The Automated Secure Alarm Protocol technology, which the city implemented on Monday, will eliminate the need for dispatch to take calls from alarm companies when a fire or security alarm is sounded. Instead, the technology will send info about the triggered alarm directly to the bureau’s computer system, where dispatchers can readily assign the proper emergency response.
“We are the first agency in Oregon, but the 95th agency in the United States, to adopt this technology, which automates the process of alarm companies requesting dispatch,” the city said.
Emergency communications operations supervisor Thomas Kurtzbein told KOIN 6 News that the system is expected to reduce calls from alarm companies by 30%.
“We’re anticipating about a 30% reduction in police alarm calls that come into our center,” Kurtzbein said. “That’s beneficial for the public because it takes our call takers out of the middle of that process so they’re able to answer other emergency calls.”
Kurtzbein said that the transition should appear seamless for citizens calling 911 as the change is tailored specifically to alarm companies and the city’s 911 call center. While Kurtzbein did not say how much the change will actually affect 911 wait times, he said that it’s one of the ways that the city hopes to solve the issue.
“We’re excited about this being a piece to the puzzle of solving our long hold times,” he said.
While the ASAP system was implemented earlier this week, Kurtzbein said that employees have been training with the new system for the past month.
“We look forward to future updates about our results and the benefits to our community,” the city said.