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E-Comm’s 2019 Annual Report highlights 20 years of achievements in public safety services

Annual General Meeting set for September

Vancouver, B.C., June 25, 2020 – From opening the South Island 9-1-1/Police Dispatch Centre, to finalizing its new strategic plan, to marking 20 years of service, 2019 was a year of important milestones for E-Comm as the company worked with its public safety partners to deliver exceptional emergency communications to British Columbians and first responders.

In E-Comm’s 2019 Annual Report published today, the company notes the extensive work completed last year on its new strategic plan has helped guide E-Comm with the challenges of operating emergency communications services during the current global health crisis.

“As we began 2020, E-Comm staff, like all first-responder, health care and other essential service workers, had to adapt and deal with the professional and personal demands of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Oliver Grüter-Andrew, E-Comm President and CEO.  “We continue to adapt to changing conditions as we deliver on our commitments to serve the citizens of our province.”

E-Comm has postponed its Annual General Meeting until September 17 and is exploring ways to hold the meeting virtually under current public health protocols in B.C. E-Comm will announce the 2020-21 Board of Directors in September. The Board provides governance to E-Comm and is responsible for overseeing the company’s strategic direction, finances and operating results. Management is accountable to the Board for E-Comm’s day-to-day operations and administration.

About E-Comm

E-Comm is the first point of contact for 9-1-1 callers in 25 regional districts in British Columbia and provides dispatch services for more than 70 police agencies and fire departments. E‐Comm also owns and operates the largest multi‐jurisdictional, tri‐service, wide‐area radio network in the province used by police, fire and ambulance personnel throughout Metro Vancouver and parts of the Fraser Valley. In 2019, E-Comm received more than 1.84 million 9-1-1 calls in B.C. and answered 97 per cent of those calls in five seconds or less.

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Media Contact

Kelly Furey
E-Comm Corporate Communications
604-345-1520

Abbotsford firefighters now using clear and safe radio communications

Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service firefighters are now communicating on the E-Comm Wide-Area Radio Network, after joining the system on May 27, 2020.

Fire Chief Don Beer made the department’s first broadcast on the digital system and, for the first time, was able to use his radio to communicate directly with Abbotsford Police Chief Mike Serr. Interoperability between police, fire and ambulance personnel within a community land across municipal boundaries is a key feature of the E-Comm radio system, which has its roots from the 1994 Stanley Cup Riot.

On June 14, 1994, after the Vancouver Canucks lost game seven of the Stanley Cup final, a riot erupted on the streets of downtown Vancouver. The Vancouver Police Department’s radio system was unable to handle the increase in radio traffic as police officers, firefighters and paramedics responded to the chaos. In addition, the agencies couldn’t communicate with each other to coordinate their response, as they were on different radio systems. The incident led to the birth of E-Comm and a new regional radio system.

Fast forward to 2020: Abbotsford Fire Rescue joins three dozen agencies in the Lower Mainland on the E-Comm radio network.

BC Emergency Health Services within Metro Vancouver and Abbotsford, all police agencies in Metro Vancouver and Abbotsford and 16 fire departments in Metro Vancouver use the E-Comm Wide-Area Radio Network. The network has about 10,000 activate or available radios. In 2019, firefighters, police officers and paramedics made 48.9 million transmissions on the network.

Read more about Abbotsford Fire Rescue joining the network.

Find out more about the network and E-Comm’s technology services.

Loud, clear, connected: Abbotsford Fire Rescue moves to E-Comm Coverage

Vancouver B.C., May 27, 2020–Increased radio coverage, audio clarity and enhanced security are just some of the features now available to Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service after the department successfully transitioned to E-Comm’s Wide-Area Radio Network this morning. 

Abbotsford firefighters began communicating over the P25 digital network today at 0830hrs. This is the 16th fire department in the Lower Mainland to become part of the E-Comm radio system. More than three dozen police, fire, ambulance and other public agencies are on the network – including Abbotsford Police Department who joined in 2011.

“I’m pleased with Abbotsford’s new partnership with E-Comm,” said Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun, “Public safety is always at the front of mind for our community and this improved communication is a positive step for our community.”

 “It’s critical for Abbotsford Fire Rescue Services to be able to communicate directly with our police and ambulance partners,” said Abbotsford Fire Chief Don Beer. “Now that we’re on the E-Comm system, we’re all able to talk with each other seamlessly when responding to multi-agency events like car crashes and large-scale hazmat incidents.” Chief Beer also cited significant safety improvements through increased area coverage and audio quality as additional benefits of the radio transition, along with noise-cancelling technology to reduce background sounds and allow responders to be heard more clearly in noisy environments. 

The fully encrypted P25 network allows first responder communication to be kept extra secure. The privacy of the public, who are being assisted by emergency services, is better protected during the necessary transmittal of personal and private information over the voice network.

“Firefighters often work in challenging environments such as collapsing buildings, fire-engulfed structures and underground concrete spaces where radio coverage has traditionally been an issue,” added Oliver Grüter-Andrew, E-Comm President and CEO. “Being able to provide enhanced radio coverage and audio quality is a critical part in keeping our first responder partners safe.”

The addition of Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service to the E-Comm radio network continues the public safety partnership between E-Comm and the City of Abbotsford. E-Comm began providing fire dispatch services for Abbotsford on February 22, 2019. E-Comm has also been the first point of contact for 9-1-1 callers in Abbotsford since September 19, 2017, the same day the organization began providing dispatch services for the Abbotsford Police Department.

BC Emergency Health Services within Metro Vancouver and Abbotsford, all police agencies in Metro Vancouver and Abbotsford and 16 fire departments in Metro Vancouver use the E-Comm Wide-Area Radio Network. The network has about 10,000 activate or available radios. In 2019, firefighters, police officers and paramedics made 48.9 million transmissions on the network.

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Media Resources:

About E-Comm

E-Comm is the first point of contact for 9-1-1 callers in 25 regional districts in British Columbia and provides dispatch services for more than 70 police agencies and fire departments. E‐Comm also owns and operates the largest multi‐jurisdictional, tri‐service, wide‐area radio network in the province used by police, fire and ambulance personnel throughout Metro Vancouver and parts of the Fraser Valley.

About Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service

The Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service is responsible for the prevention and suppression of fires, the mitigation of the effects of dangerous goods incidents, assisting in the rescue of people from potentially dangerous situations, and assisting with medical emergencies in Abbotsford.

The Department operates eight Fire Halls. Career firefighters are assisted by auxiliary firefighters who are paged when required. Career firefighters operate out of Fire Hall 1, Fire Hall 2, Fire Hall 6 and Fire Hall 8, with one engine each. Career staffing enables the Fire Rescue Service to provide 24-hour year-round emergency response capabilities for fires, rescues, and other emergencies.

Media Contacts

Kelly Furey
E-Comm Corporate Communications
604-345-1520

Alex Mitchell
Public Affairs Officer
City of Abbotsford
604-751-3092

Emergency Service Dispatchers’ and 9-1-1 Awareness Week

Emergency call takers and dispatchers are the backbone of B.C.’s emergency response system. They answer the most difficult 9-1-1 calls with calming and reassuring voices to making sure that you get the help you need.

To recognize the dedicated work of emergency call takers, dispatchers, technology specialists and support personnel, the Province of British Columbia has declared April 5 – 11 as Emergency Service Dispatchers’ and 9-1-1 Awareness Week.

Follow E-Comm on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn) throughout the week to see some words of appreciation from our police and fire partners and to share your shout-outs or stories!

COVID-19 Resources

Please remember that 9-1-1 emergency and non-emergency call takers cannot provide general information or updates on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation.

Help us keep these vital lines free for emergencies and incidents requiring response from first responders by using the following resources for COVID-19 related enquiries:

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