How 9-1-1 works

E-Comm is where your 9-1-1 call comes if you live in Metro Vancouver, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District and 20 regional districts within the northern, central and southern interiors of B.C. and on Vancouver Island. E-Comm also provides emergency dispatch services for 33 police and fire departments throughout British Columbia.

The 9-1-1 service is contracted to E-Comm by regional districts, which funds this service through property taxes.

When a caller dials 9-1-1, the E-Comm call-taker asks, "do you need police, fire or ambulance?" The call-taker will also confirm for which municipality. E-Comm's job is to then connect the caller as quickly as possible to the agency the caller has requested. The E-Comm call-taker will remain on the line with the caller until the agency answers. The entire process typically takes approximately 30 seconds.

If a caller is unsure of what service they need, the E-Comm 9-1-1 call-taker is trained to ask a few brief questions to help determine which agency is required and will connect the caller accordingly. Once connected to the agency, their dispatcher can, at any time, also contact other agencies to assist with response. For example, if the BC Emergency Health Services receives a call where police presence is required, they will contact the appropriate department/detachment for assistance.

The E-Comm advantage:

  • Experienced 9-1-1 call-taking and dispatch staff
  • Answers 97% of 9-1-1 calls on the first ring (less than 5 seconds) on an annual basis
  • Develops, implements and upgrades 9-1-1 technology that provides for reliable and consistent call-answering
  • Electronic transmission of vital incident information to emergency responders
  • The cost of the system's infrastructure is shared among member agencies
  • The call centre is located in a post-disaster facility
  • The system has many levels of redundancy

Click on the infographic below to learn more about 9-1-1.

Please use 9-1-1 responsibly. Check out our tips section to learn more.

E-Comm can accept 9-1-1 calls from the hearing impaired through TTY (telephone typewriter) units. In March 2014, E-Comm launched Text with 9-1-1, a special text-messaging service for pre-registered Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Hard-of-Hearing and Speech Impaired (DHHSI) persons to access 9-1-1 services. Visit our Text with 9-1-1 page for more information.

9-1-1 Calls Statistics

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