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IAFC Position: Alarm Industry Use of the FirstNet Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-96) was signed into law by the President on February 22, 2012 and created the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) as an independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) at the U.S Department of Commerce. The Act directs FirstNet to establish a single, interoperable nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN).

A fully integrated public safety data network will prioritize public safety communications and facilitate use by networks that support the public safety mission. The alarm industry is an important part of the emergency services delivery model and alerting, monitoring, imaging and related activities aid first responders. Providing access to the FirstNet network for such important public safety partners benefits public safety  and the community, and provides ubiquitous solutions for the alarm industry that benefits public safety in general.

The use of the NPSBN by the alarm industry would be for premises alarm units at government facilities, businesses and homes, to communicate alarm information through the NPSBN to participating central station alarm facilities. Typical signals would be burglar alarm, fire alarm, medical alarm signals and other related signals.

The verified alarm information would then be transmitted from the central station alarm facility to the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) using the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP) or if ASAP is not available, through the NPSBN. In some cases, streaming video would be transmitted from the alarm premises to the central station alarm facility and could then, upon request, be relayed to the PSAP. The PSAP could then transmit the streaming video from the alarm premises to first responders using the NPSBN.

The alarm industry would be substantially viewed as a "secondary user" of the NPSBN but with additional privileges as outlined here:

  • In non-emergency periods, alarm industry users would in essence have the same unfettered usage as all other users.
  • Alarm companies would benefit from their access to the reliable and secure FirstNet network and FirstNet would benefit from a negotiated monthly/annual usage fee from the alarm companies.

The International Association of Fire Chiefs strongly supports actions that seek to allow use by the alarm industry of the FirstNet Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network.

SUBMITTED BY: Chief Luther Fincher, IAFC Executive Committee
ADOPTED BY: IAFC Board of Directors on March 24, 2014

  • Topics:
    • Crisis Communication
    • Department Administration
    • Communications
  • Resource Type:
    • 1-pager/ summary/ infographic
  • Organizational Author:
    • IAFC

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