Call-takers and dispatchers urge parents to talk about 9-1-1

E-Comm 9-1-1 call-taker with kids
E-Comm 9-1-1 call-taker Jennifer with son Jaiden, and daughters Olivia and Madison.

During an emergency 9-1-1 is a critical lifeline that connects those in need with first responders, and children who know how and when to call 9-1-1 can save lives. This year, as part of Emergency Service Dispatchers’ and 9-1-1 Awareness Week (April 12 – 18), E-Comm call-takers and dispatchers reached out to parents and caregivers, urging them to take time to teach their children about 9-1-1.

“Knowing how to dial 9-1-1 is important for children of all ages, and we have lots of information, tips, and free learning materials available in a variety of languages on our website,” explained E-Comm’s Director of Corporate Communications Jody Robertson.

“Your consistent approach to improving the quality of service for the citizens of Richmond and members of our detachment is exceptional and
cannot be overemphasized.”

Superintendent Rendall Nesset,
Richmond RCMP

In appreciation of the hard work and dedication of emergency communications professionals across the province, the government of B.C. declared April 12-18 as Emergency Service Dispatchers’ and 9-1-1 Awareness Week in British Columbia. This week is an opportunity to recognize and acknowledge the daily contributions of 9-1-1 call-takers, dispatchers, technology specialists and support personnel.

E-Comm staff appreciated the many letters from partner agencies that were received during the week, highlighting the value they bring to supporting emergency responders.


“We are proud partners of the E-Comm service and wish to support with great enthusiasm the Emergency Service Dispatchers’ and 9-1-1 Awareness Week in British Columbia.”

Chief Remo Faedo,
Port Moody Fire-Rescue


“I want to express our thanks and appreciation for the excellent services you provide in making not only our communities safer, but in keeping our members safe as well.”

Chief Dave Jones,
New Westminster Police Department


E-Comm staff were proud to support the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society during #911AwarenessWeek by raising 1,264 items in food and cash donations.


E-Comm 9-1-1 call-takers’ top tips for parents/caregivers

• Show your child how to dial 9-1-1 on both landlines and cells (dialing can differ between phones)

• Explain when to call 9-1-1 in words they can easily understand:

• If your child or someone else is “really sick or hurt”

• If your child “smells or sees smoke or fire”

• If your child feels in danger or “sees someone doing something very bad like stealing or hurting someone”

• Explain to your child that a 9-1-1 operator will ask questions about where they are and what is happening. They will send the police, fire department or ambulance to help them.

• Ensure children know where phones are located. Keep cordless phones fully charged and in the same place at all times and within easy reach.

• Role-playing what to do in emergency situations help kids understand what to do and when to call. You can find examples of the kinds of questions 9-1-1 staff will ask at ecomm911.ca.

• Teach children their address including apartment numbers and building entry codes and keep that information close to all phones. Remember that landlines provide exact location information (addresses) to 9-1-1 but cellphones provide general location information only (no addresses). 

• Help prevent accidental 9-1-1 calls: never pre-program 9-1-1 and don’t let kids play with phones, including old cellphones. Even decommissioned cellphones can still dial 9-1-1 if there is a charged battery. It is important for parents to know that in the event of accidental/prank calls 9-1-1 operators will call back and send police when location is determined.

• If you would like to practise dailing 9-1-1 with your children, always unplug landline phones or remove batteries from cellphones while doing so (and remember to replace batteries or plug phones back in when you’re done).