Improving Dispatch Speeds: TMA invests in expanding ASAP digital dispatch service
For over a decade, The Monitoring Association (TMA), the trade association of the professional alarm monitoring industry, has led a public-private partnership—the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP) service—that allows alarm monitoring providers (including PERS) to dispatch first responders electronically instead of by phone call.

Today, most alarm dispatches—to police, emergency medical services, or fire departments—are made by a monitoring agent making a phone call to the customer’s local 911 center. 

Phone calls are slow, error-prone, and can add minutes to response times when seconds can mean the difference between life and death. Additionally, since COVID, 911 centers nationwide are understaffed, and it’s not uncommon for monitoring center agents to wait on hold for minutes until a 911 agent is free.

The ASAP service sends the information digitally directly into the 911 center’s software platform, eliminating the phone call and resulting in faster, more accurate dispatches.  ASAP estimates that when their service is used, first responders reach those in need an average of two minutes faster.

Through the efforts of TMA, APCO, and the monitoring industry, the ASAP service has grown to cover more than 54 million Americans across 23 states and territories and is in use by most of the major providers of alarm and PERS monitoring. 

The ASAP program is extremely successful in the areas it has been implemented. However, TMA lacked the full-time resources to support ASAP’s rollout to the rest of the country. Recently, TMA conducted a strategic review, and as a result of that process, TMA announced last week that they have chosen Mission Critical Partners (MCP) to support the day-to-day management of the ASAP service as well as build and support the next generation of ASAP technology. TMA and MCP will be working together to modernize the ASAP platform, making it easier for cities and municipalities to join the program while adding additional capabilities to the system. For example, the next-generation solution will utilize cloud technologies and allow for the real-time sharing of rich data, including camera video streams, live location, health information, photos, and even interior blueprints, dramatically improving situational awareness and effectiveness for first responders.

Daniel Oppenheim, co-chair of the ASAP Program, spoke to us about TMA’s goals for the next-generation platform’s growth. “Our goal for ASAP is eighty by eight—that is, we have 80% of the U.S. population covered by participating 911 centers by December 2028.” 

“Next Generation ASAP was designed from the ground up to support these emerging products,” continues Oppenheim. “It will support a diverse, rich set of data that can include end-user medical information, sending links to allow live tracking of a PERS device by the responders, photos of the person in need, and more, all designed to assist the first responders in providing the highest possible quality of care.” 

Oppenheim added, “ASAP is more important than ever today. With the increasing challenges around staffing and shrinking budgets that many PSAPs struggle with, ASAP is a great way to lower the burden on emergency dispatchers while improving outcomes and speed of dispatch. It also shows that the alarm and PERS industries are good partners to public safety and are doing everything possible to make judicious, efficient use of their life-saving services.”

Next generation ASAP promises to further improve the PERS user experience. Is your monitoring provider using ASAP today to electronically dispatch your PERS alarms? If not, why? How would you leverage the next-gen capabilities that ASAP is developing? Is ASAP-driven dispatch something you can use as a marketing differentiator? Let us know your thoughts. 
PERS Insider