ECHO is a not-for-profit limited company formed to facilitate collaboration between blue light services and the private sector and increase effectiveness of blue light response to emergency alarms. It provides a centralised, fully automated electronic alarm transmission service on demand between ECHO-connected alarm installations and ECHO-connected blue light services, and is due to become available nationally to all blue light services.
Funded by the private sector, the ECHO platform developed largely in 2019/20, is offering its service to blue light services ready to accept transmissions. These are expected to multiply in 2021 with many police forces expressing interest in following National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) requirements for Intruder and Hold Up alarms. Pilot schemes have proved ECHO can deliver time savings in circumstances where ‘every second counts’ as blue light services respond to emergency alarms. A number of alarm companies and police forces are now able to accept electronic alarm transmissions, and are looking to get ECHO-connected in the near future. Alarm installations installed by police recognised approved companies and monitored by approved alarm receiving centres (ARCs)/ monitoring centres will ECHO-connected as and when their police areas become so.
ECHO will save time in blue light response to every ECHO-connected alarmed premises. When ‘every second counts’ in some emergency circumstances the premises owner and occupier is assured of a faster response by ECHO-connected blue light services.
Initially it will apply to intruder and hold up alarms on police response in ECHO-connected police force areas. Looking to the future, there is potential opportunity to apply ECHO technology to enhance fire alarm transmission and reduce false alarms in areas with critical infrastructures such as care homes and hospitals and increase security for people and property, and cost effective deployment by the emergency services.
Your approved alarm installer is able to explain when the ECHO-connected service is available to you.
ECHO will offer a range of benefits for all aspects of alarm monitoring and alarm signalling to assist ARCs and their blue light service collaborators, to better manage risk while operating in more efficient and sustainable ways.
Fast Alarm Transmission
Electronic alarm transmission via the ECHO hub replaces the traditional handling of alarm calls by voice calls from the ARC to the blue light responder. The switch from slow and manual call handling to machine-to-machine signalling will save up to between 1 and 4 minutes in response times.
Accurate Incident Information
Despite being well trained and dedicated call handlers know that mistakes can happen. ECHO reduces the potential for human error, such as mishearing an address or transliterating an incident type, ensuring accurate information is transmitted automatically.
Automatic event incident acknowledgment from “Blue light “ service to ARC
ARC’s signalling alarm activations to the police need an incident number for their event log to confirm safe receipt by the police. With ECHO this can be communicated electronically often within seconds, saving time and freeing up operatives for more valuable tasks than taking details over the phone.
Improved Keyholder response from ARC to Blue light responder
Blue light responders to an incident value receiving premises keyholder details and their ETA at the site in question. ECHO will also incorporate keyholder details into the alarms transmission process.
Possibility to let ARC have close down code automatically
To improve services for property owners and occupiers, ARCs value feedback about responder experience at the site e.g. was the alarm genuine or false? Having this information helps the ARC work with the system maintenance provider and/or premises owner to reduce unwanted alarms. ECHO will facilitate the sharing of feedback with the ARC and help increase effectiveness of alarms, and avoidance of false alarms which waste blue light resources.
Will enable URN status machine-to-machine checks to be updated regularly
The Police occasionally withdraw or suspended URNs which enable police response. ECHO will in future ensure the ARC is aware, reducing unnecessary calls.
Additional situation information traffic may be passed
In future often valuable additional information about an event from an alarm system eg. “roller shutter door rear premises open" or “fire 3rd floor temperature 80 degrees“, may be part of the alarm transmission service, improving outcomes for property owners, occupiers and blue light responders.
Faster automated URN applications
The URN application and payment system is slow and manually intensive for all parties. ECHO anticipates future collaboration with the various players to automate this service for the benefit of all concerned.
Further development may see the ability to pass live audio/video to the responder
As technology progresses ECHO envisages live streaming video images from premise with activated alarms to the responder through secure networks, again improving outcomes for all concerned.