The Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine will switch to a new 911 call answer service this year as the contract with its current service expires.
Beginning this fall, 911 calls from the regional district will be answered through E-Comm, the emergency communication centre located in southwestern BC, announced the regional district March 3.
The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George provides 911 services to most areas of the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine and all municipalities and electoral areas of the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, Cariboo Regional District, Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako.
At present, the regional district contracts with the RCMP for call answer services.
All 911 calls come into a public safety answering point, located within the RCMP North District Operational Communications Centre (OCC). A call taker determines the nature of the emergency and quickly transfers the caller to the police, fire or ambulance.
There are considerable cost savings by moving to E-Comm. With the number of communities already serviced through E-Comm, there are economies of scale, which reduce annual costs by close to 50 per cent.
“The integrity of the 9-1-1 system is paramount. E-Comm is a leader in 9-1-1 call answer services, and they have a proven track record to deliver reliable services without compromising on response times,” says Bruce Bidgood, chair of the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine.
E-Comm received 861,694 emergency calls in 2013, answering 98 per cent of them in five seconds or less.
This exceeds the annual contracted target of 95 per cent of calls answered in five seconds.
The E-Comm building is a secure, purpose-built facility designed to resist a major earthquake (7+) and be self-sufficient for 72 hours. E-Comm has a number of back-up provisions to ensure the continuity of 911 call answer services in a variety of scenarios.
With the change to E-Comm for 9-1-1 call answer services, calls will continue to be dispatched in the same manner.
This means calls for police will be dispatched to the RCMP OCC in Prince George.
Calls for fire departments will be dispatched through the Fire Operations Communications Centre (FOCC) in Prince George and calls for ambulance will be dispatched through the BC Ambulance Service dispatch centre in Kamloops.