New paging service supports Sunshine Coast Search and Rescue

The SCRD Search and Rescue paging function on the Maestro dispatch console.
The SCRD Search and Rescue paging function on the Maestro dispatch console.

This spring the Sunshine Coast Regional District’s (SCRD) Search and Rescue team, in partnership with E-Comm, successfully implemented a new paging service after the SCRD learned its existing service would end at the end of March. Finding an alternative to this service was critical as the paging function is an important tool in notifying members about search and rescue incidents, especially in areas where cellphone coverage is limited.

“E-Comm was extremely helpful throughout the entire process and we’re really grateful for the assistance they continue to provide.” 

Bruce Searle,
SCRD’s Deputy Emergency Planning Coordinator and Roberts Creek Fire Department Inspector

Planning for the implementation of the new service began last fall, after it was determined that the service already being used to notify SCRD fire departments whenever an incident is reported could also be used for Search and Rescue purposes. Under the new service, E-Comm fire dispatch acts as the intermediary between SCRD’s search manager and the reporting agency (such as the RCMP). Once a search and rescue incident is reported, the fire dispatch team will page the search manager through the radio network (via the dispatch console), who must confirm receipt of the page by calling back. They will then proceed to contact the reporting agency for more information before relaying the incident to their team members.

“The integration of paging services between our fire departments and search and rescue functions bring a more reliable service, significant savings, and improved coordination for incidents requiring joint response,” explains SCRD Emergency Program Coordinator Bill Elsner. “E-Comm was extremely helpful throughout the entire process and we’re really grateful for the assistance they continue to provide,” adds SCRD’s Deputy Emergency Planning Coordinator and Roberts Creek Fire Department Inspector Bruce Searle. “We were all amazed at how fast the project was implemented.”

The new system was complete and officially mobilized March 9.