Improving Phone Management to Boost PSAP Compliance

In one year, the average 9-1-1 emergency service dispatcher will answer 2,400 phone calls, many of which will be of life-or-death importance. As call answer time is critical during an emergency, national standards dictate that at least 90% of all 9-1-1 calls should be answered within 15 seconds. Dispatch centers responsible for answering emergency calls, i.e., public safety answering points (PSAPs), are failing to meet this standard, thus increasing wait times for panicked callers. 

Staffing shortages plague the efficiency of PSAPs, and non-emergency calls made by telemarketers only make matters worse. Fortunately, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is penalizing companies that autodial PSAPs. A growing number of businesses are investing in phone management technologies to ensure smooth PSAP operations and avoid hefty FCC fines.

An audit found that in Colorado Springs, just 68% of 9-1-1 calls were answered within 15 seconds. Kansas City and its surrounding suburbs, too, are impacted by slower than average PSAP response time. Despite public outcry against cities failing to meet national standards for PSAP response time, 9-1-1 wait times continue to increase. 

Understaffing caused by a tight labor market is the primary reason why wait times are growing at PSAPs. Overtime for existing employees, increased burnout, low retention rate, stressful work conditions, and modest salaries (the average New York City 9-1-1 dispatcher earns $50,400 a year) make hiring and retaining emergency service dispatchers difficult.

Telemarketer calls get in the way of emergency service dispatchers trying to promptly answer legitimate calls. While it’s illegal for anybody to call a PSAP when there is no emergency, fines are especially steep for telemarketers. Today, a telemarketer who calls a PSAPs will have to pay a fine between $10,000 and $100,000 per incident. Companies are now finding new ways to avoid accidentally dialing one of the thousands of PSAP numbers by improving their phone management system.

Phone numbers are widely used to track customers in-store and online. However, many companies lack a robust phone management system. Because millions of phone numbers are continuously updated every year, a number that once belonged to a customer could now be a direct PSAP line. Prove’s Fonebook™ helps companies manage customer phone numbers while authenticating customer identity and preventing fraud. The platform automatically removes PSAP numbers from company registries, helping them avoid hefty FCC fines.

This article is a synopsis of a blog published by Prove.

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