As do most Chicago metro area fire departments, Lemont Fire Protection District offered fire alarm monitoring service to commercial, institutional and industrial establishments within its protection boundaries.
This monitoring service utilized dedicated telephone lines installed and maintained by Ameritech, the local telephone company. While leased line technology has been available for decades, there were always inherent problems with interruptions in service from storms, broken cables, water in cables, serviceman errors and a variety of other causes. Service outages have ranged from hour to months with the average outage being nearly seven days.
Fire fighting professionals know that the first few minutes of a fire are critical and that rapid response saves lives and property. Because Lemont FPD and other departments monitor fire alarm signals in their dispatch centers, relaying emergency alarm information to responding units happens in seconds as opposed to minutes when private alarm company central station services are used.
Because of the high cost of installing and maintaining alarm-monitoring equipment, most fire departments have historically relied on private alarm contractors to provide equipment and service to meet the monitoring demands. Additionally, dedicated telephone lines, although prone to false alarms and service outages, have always been relied upon as the sole resource for transmitting alarm signals from a protected premise to the 911 centers.
Keltron Corporation's wireless technology has changed everything. No longer dependent on telephone lines, fire departments are now able to buy and develop their own digital radio-signaling network. Freeing up the money that subscribers had traditionally paid to the phone company for a dedicated phone line, Lemont FPD can provide state-of-the-art wireless technology via Keltron's wireless transceivers.
Before Keltron's wireless technology, the cost to replace 911 Center equipment utilizing phone lines was prohibitive. However, by redirecting the former fees that subscribers paid for phone lines to a leasing company to pay down a sixty-month lease, radios are installed at a subscriber's premises for no initial fee. Furthermore, using creative leasing, all of the equipment necessary for the radio and alarm monitoring equipment at the 911 Center is also completely amortized over a sixty-month period. The end result is a strategy that is rapidly redefining how municipalities in the Chicago metro area monitor alarm systems.