Blog | 911 Emergency Dispatcher | 911 Emergency Dispatch

Back to School Campaign 2019

Knowing how to properly call for help in an emergency could be the difference between life and death. That’s why E-Comm is urging parents to take some time during this back-to-school season to teach children about dialing 9-1-1.

To help spread this awareness, we have created a series of videos with our call takers and their children highlighting the top five tips for teaching kids 9-1-1 best practices. These videos will be shared across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram every Tuesday throughout the month of September.

A selection of free education materials can be found on our website that can help make teaching kids about 9-1-1 easier. They are available in nine different languages.

E-Comm has also issued a news release detailing these tips, which you can read here.

How to dial 9-1-1 could be the most important lesson this school year

With children back to school, B.C.’s largest 9-1-1 centre wants to make sure they are properly prepared to call 9-1-1 in an emergency

Vancouver, B.C. – Children as young as four years old are being given personal mobile devices, potentially leaving many parents with a false sense of security in the capabilities of these phones in young hands. Because kids navigate apps and screens independently and with so much ease, it’s easy to overlook teaching 9-1-1 basics, which are essential to make cellphones an effective tool in an emergency situation.

E-Comm is urging parents to take some time during back-to-school preparations to also teach children about dialing 9-1-1 from their phones – it’s a lesson that could save lives.

“As a 9-1-1 call taker and a mom, it really scares me to think that parents might be relying on their kids’ cellphones to keep them safe instead of talking to them about how to dial for help in an emergency,” says E-Comm call taker and mother of two, Heather Andrews. “A couple of years ago, I spoke with my son’s grade one class and, honestly, a lot of them understood the basics better than most adults. It’s all about keeping things simple and relatable.”

Andrews adds that most parents assume that providing a cellphone to their child will pinpoint their location information but “unlike landlines, a cellphone won’t provide anyone’s exact location to 9-1-1 call takers and it can slow down the process of getting a caller help if they can’t tell where they are.”

To help parents and caretakers teach kids about 9-1-1, E-Comm has the following tips:

  1. Explain to kids when to call 9-1-1 in simple words that are easy to understand.
    • If they or someone else are “really sick or hurt”
    • If they “smell / see smoke or fire”
    • If they feel in danger or “see someone doing something very bad like stealing or hurting someone”
  2. Teach kids their address (including apartment numbers and building entry codes) and keep that information close to all phones. Practise looking for street signs and having them be able to identify their location when they aren’t at home.
  3. Show kids how to dial 9-1-1 from all landlines and cellphones they might have access to as dialing can be different depending on the device.
  4. Explain that the 9-1-1 call taker will ask questions about where they are located / what’s happening and they should listen carefully and answer as best as they can.
  5. Try role-playing a mock emergency situation. This helps kids understand what to do and when to call when faced with a real life situation. It’s important to note that even cellphones with no service can still dial 9-1-1, so it’s best to role play without the use of a physical phone.

“Calling 9-1-1 can be stressful as an adult let alone as a child – and it’s even scarier if you don’t know what to expect. It is so important to regularly talk to your child about the process of dialing 9-1-1 so that if an emergency does happen we can get them the help they need quickly,” says Corporate Communications Manager Jasmine Bradley. “A strong understanding of emergency preparedness and the 9-1-1 system can be vitally important for life and death situations. That’s why we focus heavily on offering tools for parents and educators to help make that learning process easier.”

Over the month of September, E-Comm 9-1-1 call takers are sharing tips for speaking to kids about 9-1-1 in short videos across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Parents, caregivers, teachers and children of all ages can also visit to download free 9-1-1 education materials, available in nine languages.


Photo/Interview Opportunity 
E-Comm invites the media to its Lower Mainland Emergency Communications Centre at 3301 East Pender Street on Monday, September 9 for interview opportunities with E-Comm call taker Heather Andrews and Jasmine Bradley, manager of Corporate Communications.

Please confirm your attendance in advance by emailing  

Note: Photo identification is required to enter the E-Comm building. Photos and video in the Emergency Communications Centre is permitted under specific conditions.

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 2018, E-Comm handled nearly 1.6 million 9-1-1 calls in B.C.

Media contact:
Kaila Butler
Communications Coordinator

Summer 2019 edition of e-communiqué, E-comm’s quarterly newsletter, now available

We have published the summer 2019 edition of e-communiqué, E-Comm’s quarterly newsletter.

Visit the publications section of our website to read the newsletter.

In this edition, you’ll find stories about:

  • E-Comm’s new strategic plan, focused on resiliency and innovation
  • The 2019 Annual General Meeting and 2019-2020 board members announcement
  • Changes to the B.C. Government’s Mental Disorder Presumption Regulation that grant easier access for E-Comm call takers and dispatchers to worker’s compensation for mental health reasons
  • E-Comm’s 20th anniversary: celebrating 20 years of helping to save lives and protect property

A year of new beginnings for E-Comm

Messages of accomplishment, appreciation for the dedication of E-Comm’s staff and partners and planning for the future were highlighted in E-Comm Board Chair Doug Campbell’s speech to the organization’s Annual General Meeting held June 20 in the lobby of the organizations emergency communications centre in Vancouver.

From readying the new 9-1-1/police dispatch centre in Saanich to completing all the agency transitions to the new next generation radio system, 2018 was a year of new beginnings for the company.

On the completion of the new South Island 9-1-1/Police Dispatch Centre, Campbell says “a project this multifaceted takes years of planning and work, and I’d like to thank our staff and our Vancouver Island partners for their extraordinary effort in conceiving, building and opening the centre.”  He also praised our Technology and Wireless teams and police, fire and ambulance partners for their efforts in wrapping up the Next Generation Radio Project in 2018 and shutting down the legacy network.

Find out more about E-Comm’s 2018 highlights in the company’s annual report.

E-Comm announces 2019-2020 Board of Directors

Vancouver, B.C. — E-Comm, Emergency Communications for British Columbia Incorporated, is pleased to announce its 2019-2020 Board of Directors. The announcement follows its Annual General Meeting, held at the organization’s Lower Mainland emergency communications centre today.

“From readying a new consolidated 9-1-1/police dispatch centre on southern Vancouver Island to approving our new strategic plan, (a)SPIRE 2025, 2018 was a year of new beginnings for E-Comm,” said Oliver Grüter-Andrew, E-Comm President and CEO. “As we celebrate our 20th year of operations, we look forward to continuing to enhance our efforts to deliver top-quality public safety communications services to first responders and the citizens of British Columbia.”

E-Comm’s Board of Directors includes elected officials, representatives of emergency services and the provincial government, in addition to municipal staff and local community and business leaders.

2019-2020 E-Comm Board of Directors

Name Position Nominated By
Doug Campbell Board Chair & Independent Director
Brent Asmundson Director Cities of Coquitlam, Burnaby, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Village of Belcarra
Dan Copeland Director City of Delta / Delta Police Board
Bill Dingwall Director Metro Vancouver and TransLink
Barry Forbes Independent Director
Lori Halls Director Province of British Columbia
Lois Karr Director RCMP
Anne Kinvig Independent Director
Warren Lemcke Director Vancouver Police Board
Neil Lilley Director BC Emergency Health Services
Gayle Martin Director Cities of Langley, Surrey and White Rock, Township of Langley
Jack McGee Director Independent Police Boards (Abbotsford, New Westminster, Port Moody, Transit Police, West Vancouver)
Bill McNulty Director City of Richmond
Paul Mochrie Director City of Vancouver
Mike Morden Director Cities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows
Denise Nawata Independent Director
Mark Sieben Director Province of British Columbia
Richard Walton Director City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, District of West Vancouver, Village of Lions Bay
Terry Waterhouse Director Cities of Surrey, Langley and White Rock, Township of Langley

The Board provides governance to E-Comm and is responsible for overseeing the Corporation’s strategic direction, finances and operating results. Management is accountable to the Board of Directors for the day-to-day operations and administration of the Corporation.


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 2018, E-Comm handled nearly 1.6 million 9-1-1 calls in B.C.

Media contact:

Jasmine Bradley
E-Comm Corporate Communications Manager

Next Page »