An Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), also known as an Incident Management Centre (IMC) is a purpose-built facility to monitor a range of systems including alarms and cameras. ARCs are manned by trained controllers 24/7, 365 days a year who will receive the alarms and contact the relevant emergency service if necessary.
Every certified lone worker solution will have to utilise an accredited ARC as part of their service to handle any alarms raised by users. Choosing a provider that has their own dedicated Alarm Receiving Centre could benefit your business and the employees you’re looking to protect.
The main advantage of having an ARC dedicated to lone working devices is that it will only manage lone worker alarms. Typically, most ARCs will receive alerts from a variety of systems including burglar alarms, fire alarms and CCTV footage. These ARCs might also be employed to monitor and respond to lone worker devices as a secondary service.
By only having one type of alarm to monitor, controllers can focus on the user’s emergency without being distracted by other alarms from different systems. It also enables them to specialise in dealing with situations involving people – not intruder alarms, vehicle tracking or CCTV. Lone workers can face potentially violent and hazardous environments so it’s important that the controller is specifically trained to handle a wide range of stressful and dangerous situations.
All ARC controllers are trained to an exceptionally high standard to be able to complete their job. They need to be able to keep calm in stressful situations and think methodically under pressure. Usually, an ARC will handle alerts from a range of alarms, so the controllers need to learn how to deal with a variety of circumstances.
This is still true for controllers working in an Alarm Receiving Centre that only monitors lone worker devices; however, they can be focused on responding to incidents that are guaranteed to have a person on the other end of the alarm. The training program can be intensely centred around dealing with lone workers and it will be conducted by highly experienced controllers that are used to interacting with people that work alone.
By specialising in lone worker alarms, controllers will have a greater depth of knowledge of how to fully manage every incident that arises. In potentially dangerous situations – for example an aggressive member of the public threatening to attack the employee – speed of response is vital. The quickest way to get the emergency services on site is to use the ARC’s unique reference number (URN), which will allow them to bypass the 999 system.
Before referring the incident to the emergency services, the controller needs to gather all the relevant information about the person in danger, where it’s happening and what’s actually taking place. This information then needs to be relayed to the operator so that they can deploy the correct emergency service with staff that are nearest the incident.
When dealing with incidents involving lone workers, it’s vitally important to have up-to-date user information including duress codes, escalation contacts and any pertinent medical details. An outsourced Alarm Receiving Centre might not have complete access to all the customer data held by the service provider which could potentially slow down response time in an emergency.
In addition, an end-to-end service provider with their own in-house engineers, software developers and customer services allows the lone worker solution to be flexible to meet the needs of any customer if a bespoke service is needed. With all these roles under one roof, communication time between service elements is improved leading to a faster, more reliable response.
A dedicated ARC is likely to have an online portal with access to the full user profile including live user information. In the event of failure, the servers and databases can be duplicated with zero downtime; a disaster recovery site will also be nearby.
Our Alarm Receiving Centre is at the core of our personal safety solution for lone workers. Incorporated into our head offices in Surrey, it was the first ARC in the UK to be certified against the BS 8484 lone worker monitoring standard. Similarly, it was the first monitoring centre to receive the prestigious ‘Secured by Design’ accreditation.
The ARC’s systems are looked after by onsite engineers who perform hourly end-to-end checks and are monitored 24/7 via server software to ensure constant operation. We have a team of highly-trained and dedicated controllers responding to alarms at all hours of the day with at least half of them occupying work stations at any time.