How 9-1-1 Works

E-Comm is where your 9-1-1 call comes if you live in Metro Vancouver and 25 other regional districts and communities spanning from Vancouver Island to the Alberta border and U.S. border to north of Prince George. E-Comm also provides emergency dispatch services for 36 police agencies and fire departments throughout southwest British Columbia.

Regional Districts contract the 9-1-1 service to E-Comm. They fund the service through property taxes and other methods such as call-answer levies. E-Comm is responsible for answering 92 per cent of 9-1-1 calls made throughout the province of B.C. and provides this 9-1-1 call-answer service within the areas of:

Alberni-Clayoquot Fraser-Fort George Peace River Regional District
Bulkley-Nechako Fraser Valley Powell River
Cariboo Regional District Kitimat-Stikine Squamish
Central Kootenay (excludes Nelson) Kootenay-Boundary Squamish-Lillooet
Central Okanagan Metro Vancouver Strathcona
Columbia-Shuswap Mount Waddington Sunshine Coast Regional District
Comox Valley Nanaimo Thompson-Nicola
Cowichan North Okanagan Whistler
East Kootenay Okanagan-Similkameen
  • This diagram shows where E-Comm is the Public Safety Answer Point (PSAP) for B.C. communities.
  • This map shows where E-Comm is the Public Safety Answer Point (PSAP) for B.C. communities.

Do you need police, fire or ambulance?

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 25 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, the 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.

On average, E-Comm is responsible for approximately 3,900 9-1-1 calls per day. E-Comm’s 2017 9-1-1 call volume was approximately 1.45 million. E-Comm does not dispatch ambulances in B.C. That service is provided by BC Emergency Health Services.