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Ladysmith to Sooke and from the Gulf Islands to Victoria, residents of central
and southern Vancouver Island have now been receiving 9-1-1 and police dispatch
services from the South Island 9-1-1/Police Dispatch Centre, located in
Saanich, for one full year. Built and owned by the Capital Regional District (CRD)
and operated by E-Comm, the South Island 9-1-1/Police Dispatch Centre
officially opened on March 6, 2019.
centre merges 9-1-1 call-answer, police call-taking and dispatch services for
the Central Saanich, Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria police departments and 11
RCMP detachments in the central and southern Vancouver Island region. Previously,
9-1-1 calls and police dispatch services in the region were managed by three
call centres in Victoria, Langford and Saanich..
Since the centre opened, it has handled 134,452 9-1-1 calls from central and southern Vancouver Island.
The following videos chronicle each agency’s transition into the building, culminating in the grand opening event on March 6, 2019:
We also received a total of 23 Text with 9-1-1 (T9-1-1) calls in 2019.
T9-1-1 is a specialized texting service available for people who are
Deaf/Deaf-Blind, Hard-of Hearing or Speech Impaired (DHHSI) that allows
registered users to communicate with 9-1-1 call-takers through text. Find out
more about T9-1-1.
Vancouver, B.C. – From a small parking spot to a bad haircut to late-night vacuuming, E-Comm continued to receive calls in 2019 that don’t belong on 9-1-1.
E-Comm has surveyed its call-taking staff each year for calls that tie up
emergency lines and, each year, there’s no shortage of examples of calls they
have handled that do not warrant a call to 9-1-1. Equally alarming for the organization
this year was an emerging trend, where some callers know they aren’t in an emergency,
but call 9-1-1 anyway seeking general information.
it feels like people may have forgotten that the reason to call 9-1-1 is to get
help in a life or death situation,” explains Chelsea Brent, the call taker who
handled the number one call on this year’s list. “I take a lot of 9-1-1 calls
where ‘I know this isn’t an emergency’
are the first words out of the caller’s mouth. But when I’m answering calls
that aren’t an emergency, it means I’m not available for someone else who
really does need critical help.”
Some of the
general questions received by 9-1-1 call takers this year included asking for information about local water
restrictions and a caller wondering
why traffic was so bad. Checking with municipalities or DriveBC is the
right source for these questions, not 9-1-1 or police non-emergency lines.
Here is E-Comm’s list of top 10 reasons not to
call 9-1-1 in 2019
To complain hotel parking spot was
To complain hair salon didn’t
style their hair properly
To complain their neighbour was
vacuuming late at night
Because they were upset the
coin laundry machine didn’t have enough water
To enquire why traffic was so
To request police bring a
shovel to dig their car out of the snow in front of their house
Because police are being ‘too
loud’ responding to an emergency and requesting that they should come back in
To get information about water
To report a broken ATM machine
Because a gas station wouldn’t
let them use the washroom
“Our staff must treat each call as an emergency until they
are confident there isn’t one,” says Jasmine Bradley, E-Comm Corporate
Communications manager. “Although these calls may seem absurd at the surface,
our call-takers must take the time to investigate each one to make sure there
isn’t a real emergency before directing them elsewhere. That takes time away
from helping those in crisis.”
responsible for 99 per cent of the province’s 9-1-1 call volume and handled more
than 1.6million 9-1-1 calls in 2019. For more
information about E-Comm, visit ecomm911.ca.
invites the media to its Lower Mainland Emergency Communications Centre at 3301
East Pender Street on Monday, December
30 between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. for interview opportunities with Chelsea
Brent, E-Comm call taker who answered the number one call on our top ten list,
and Jasmine Bradley, Corporate Communications Manager.
Despite public perception, current phone technology in Canada does not pinpoint your exact location or provide 9-1-1 call takers with specific information (such as apartment number or the floor of the building) if you call 9-1-1 from a cellphone. This is why “what is your location” is the first question our call taker asks you when you call.
In an effort to education the public about the importance of always knowing their location when dialing 9-1-1, E-Comm has launched a public education campaign which will run on the radio and across social media.