At the end of March, Telus Canada will be discontinuing their pager service.
With this announcement, there have been many communities in Canada that will have to look elsewhere for systems that allow their emergency responders, particularly volunteer firefighters, to assemble when an emergency arises.
Fortunately for the North Island, including fire department’s in Port Alice, Port McNeill, and Port Hardy, this is not the case.
The pager system that first responders use in the region is provided through North Island 9-1-1 (NI 9-1-1), which operates and maintains its own infrastructure that allows for pages to be sent and received.
Randy Zaleschuk, technology manager for NI 9-1-1, says that the technology in place is more than capable of providing this service to emergency responders on the North Island.
“Our radio infrastructure is critical to the operation of North Island 9-1-1 specifically for fire dispatch. The demise of the (Telus Pager) service has absolutely no affect (on us) whatsoever, that is why we maintain our own radio network, so that we are not reliant on third-party service providers to provide paging on our behalf,” Zaleschuk said.
Along with the paging services provided by NI 9-1-1, there are many alternatives in place to allow quick response on the North Island, including satellite telephones, radio overrides, and landlines.
“We have a radio infrastructure that covers the North Island for providing radio dispatching and radio paging service for the 56,000 square kilometres-service area that we cover. (We accomplish this) through various different towers and radio sites we have located all over the island,” said Zaleschuk.