The aim of ECHO is to deliver a centralised, fully automated electronic call handling service to reduce the pressure on the emergency services and Alarm Receiving Centres (ARCs) by reducing their call handling times and errors that can occur from a manual response handling.
Following discussions between the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and the private security industry that took place in 2015, the decision to implement electronic transfer was agreed. As a result, the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) set the date of 2020 for all Alarm Receiving Centres (ARCs) to be operating on an electronic platform.
Pilot schemes have proved that ECHO will improve efficiencies. A number of alarm companies and police forces are now accepting electronic transfers, including: Metropolitan, Essex and Avon & Somerset and Northamptonshire Police.
ECHO will generate significant savings to the emergency services as it eliminates human error. A common issue that was brought to forefront of the discussions between National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and the private security industry following the Hatton Garden incident.
A common human error highlighted was the confusion for ARC operators between confirmed and unconfirmed alarms. At present most alarm calls are passed via a voice call from the ARC to the blue light responder. This is slow and resource intensive, passing these calls from machine to machine speeds the process up thereby reducing response times.
Looking to the future, there is potential opportunity to apply this technology to enhance fire alarm transmission and reduce false alarms in areas with critical infrastructures such as care homes and hospitals to meet the demands of 21st century.
At present most alarm calls are passed via a voice call from the ARC to the blue light responder. This is slow and resource intensive, passing these calls from machine to machine will speed the process up thereby reducing response times.
Accurate Incident Information
The system will also reduce 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 currently ask for the incident number for their event log, with electronic transfer this can become an automatic function again reducing time and cost.
Improved Key holder response from ARC to Blue light responder
Responders to the event normally wish to know the key holder details and their ETA at the site, today this is a very manual process but can be incorporated into the electronic call handling process.
Possibility to let ARC have close down code automatically
At present the ARC passes a call but often does not know the result of the event i.e. Was this a false alarm or genuine event? Having this information would help the ARC work with the system maintainer to reduce unwanted alarms.
Will enable URN status machine to machine checks to be updated regularly
Police URNs may be withdrawn or suspended but the ARC is not always aware of this, if a regular data base update is carried out machine to machine this will reduce unnecessary calls.
Additional situation information traffic may be passed
Any additional information about an event is often available from today’s alarm system i.e. “roller shutter door rear premises open “or “fire 3rd floor temperature 80 degrees “Passing this in an practical and timely manner is at the moment difficult , but once linked machine to machine this will be much easier to achieve .
Enable possible cloud based URN applications to be made
The URN application and payment system being operated currently does not make of most of potential benefits that a cloud based application process may offer. Again if implemented the URN can be auto linked to both the ARC and the “Blue light control systems “
Further development may see the ability to pass live audio/video to the responder
This may be a further development of the additional situation information, with more and more video images becoming available live streaming from the event to the responder may be offered and routed via the ECHO system.