Call takers and dispatchers are a vital link in emergency response. They coordinate all communications between 9-1-1 callers and police officers, firefighters, and paramedics to ensure a safe, swift and appropriate response.
A call taker speaks with the person who has dialed 9-1-1 and a dispatcher speaks with the emergency personnel in the field. In some cases, the dispatcher will speak to the caller as well. The call taker and dispatcher work together, using computer and radio systems to share information instantly and seamlessly.
E-Comm provides emergency dispatch services for a number of police agencies and fire departments throughout southwest British Columbia.
How it works
When a caller dials 9-1-1, the E-Comm call taker will ask “do you need police, fire or ambulance?” The call taker will also confirm for which municipality and will then transfer the call to the agency the caller has requested. E-Comm call takers will stay on the line with callers until the service requested answers.
In some cases, 9-1-1 calls are transferred to police agencies and fire departments that are located within E-Comm. In other cases, including all calls for BC Emergency Health Services (ambulance), the calls are transferred to agencies outside of E-Comm that provide their own dispatch service. E-Comm currently provides dispatch for 73 police agencies and fire departments.
E-Comm call takers and dispatchers use computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems to ensure that call details are automatically transmitted from the call taker to the dispatcher. CAD systems allow the 9-1-1 call taker to be on the line with the caller while a dispatcher is mobilizing units to help. This allows for swift and easy access to a wide range of information critical to emergency response.
The E-Comm advantage
- Experienced call-taking and dispatch staff
- CAD system displays residential and business phone numbers and addresses; information is verified by CAD mapping and address system*
- Detailed street maps and other municipal-specific information, such as locations of schools, community centres, floor plans, local landmarks, are at a dispatcher’s fingertips
- Police dispatchers can share call and RMS (records management) data across regional boundaries
- State-of-the-art back-up and redundant systems
- Information can be transmitted immediately to emergency responders through vehicle laptop computers or other devices
- The CAD system positions E-Comm to explore future technologies to support emergency response
- Mutual-aid possibilities are greatly enhanced for officer and public safety
E-Comm does not dispatch for the ambulance service. That is done by BC Emergency Health Services.
*cellular phones provide only general location information to 9-1-1 call centres and internet phones (VoIP systems) providers do not provide any location information.