NEWS RELEASE: New radio system provides firefighters with enhanced coverage, audio clarity and security

Vancouver, B.C.—Today Port Moody Fire-Rescue became the first fire department to transition to the E-Comm “next generation” radio system. As part of this move firefighters will now operate on a digital network for the first time, marking a significant milestone for the Lower Mainland’s firefighting community. Among the key features of the new network and equipment: Greater reliability, water immersion resistance, radio monitoring (enabling dispatchers to remotely activate radio microphones for improved responder safety), noise-cancelling technology to reduce background sounds and allow responders to be heard more clearly in noisy environments, increased coverage, audio clarity and security, GPS tracking, an expanded range of accessories and the ability to add new features through software upgrades in the future.

Just after 7:00 a.m. Port Moody Fire-Rescue Chief Ron Coulson took to the air waves of the new network for an inaugural broadcast, welcoming his department to the radio system. Following the official cutover, he talked about the specific benefits the network will provide to fire services.

“As firefighters we work in challenging environments that include collapsing buildings, fire-engulfed structures, tight underground spaces and water immersion,” said Chief Coulson. “The new network has been proven to provide enhanced coverage and audio clarity in these types of noisy and hazardous environments, improving responder safety.” Chief Coulson went on to say that the radios selected by his department for use on the new system are “better suited to firefighting conditions and easier to use when wearing bulky, protective turnout gear and gloves.”

“The City of Port Moody is extremely proud to be the first community to have its fire department transition to the new radio network,” added Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay. “Both the City and our Fire-Rescue service value innovation, and strive to be responsive and adaptive to change. This new, digital technology is an important step forward that will allow our firefighters to communicate with each other even better as they respond to emergencies and assist the public.”

Currently, all fire departments in B.C. are using analogue channels for radio communication as historically this has provided greater audio clarity when working in high-noise environments. However, due to significant advancements over the past few years with regard to the performance of digital audio in fire-fighting environments, the new system is able to provide better audio clarity and coverage than the previous system that has been in use for the past 18 years.

“The new system is more advanced, more rugged and more resilient—enhancing the safety of firefighters and providing them with the best tools to do their job,” said E-Comm President and CEO David Guscott. “I’m pleased we’re able to provide a digital solution for our fire partners that offer increased functionality and security while still meeting their unique operational needs.”

The new network is fully encrypted, meaning first responder communication will be secure and the privacy of the public who are being assisted by emergency services will be better protected during the necessary transmittal of personal and private information over the voice communications network.

Port Moody Fire-Rescue have been using the existing E-Comm radio system since 2001 generating more than 35,000 radio transmissions each year. The department is one of 32 emergency-service agencies transitioning to the network in a phased approach that is scheduled through to the end of the year. Port Moody Police Department transitioned earlier this month on April 5.

The new radio system will be used by police departments and BC Emergency Health Services (BC Ambulance Service) in Metro Vancouver and Abbotsford, in addition to 12 fire departments in Metro Vancouver and the BC Conservation Service. Approximately 8,000 new radios will be deployed generating more than 130 million transmissions each year. Because this is a planned transition, the annual cost of the new radio network will be about the same as the annual cost of the current network, even with its enhanced features. The new radio system is expected to have an operational lifespan of 15 or more years


Audio of inaugural radio broadcast by Port Moody Fire-Rescue Chief Ron Coulson and E-Comm’s fire dispatch team, video clips of Chief Coulson’s broadcast and interview along with photos/b-roll footage of Port Moody firefighters available below.

About E-Comm
E-Comm operates the largest multi-jurisdictional, tri-service emergency radio system in the province and is the largest 9-1-1 call centre in Canada, handling approximately 1.36 million emergency calls per year for Metro Vancouver and 24 other regional districts and communities spanning from Vancouver Island to Alberta and from the U.S. border, to north of Prince George. E-Comm also provides call-taking and dispatch services to 35 police agencies and fire departments in southwest B.C. For more information visit

For more information, please contact:

Jasmine Bradley
E-Comm 9-1-1
[email protected]

Rosemary Lodge
City of Port Moody
[email protected]