North Island 911 makes presentation to RDMW

The Regional District of Mount Waddington was briefed on North Island 9-1-1 at a recent meeting

The Regional District of Mount Waddington board learned a lot about the North Island 9-1-1 Corporation at a recent meeting.

Area “B” (Winter Harbour/Holberg) representative Phil Wainwright sits on the board of directors for the corporation.

Chris Vrabel, deputy fire chief-administration, informed council that the organization covers six districts, 50 fire departments, and 56,000 square kilometres.

The initial answering point for public safety 911 calls is E-Comm in Vancouver.

“They do call answer for the majority of the province now,” Vrabel said.

E-Comm then determines the type of call and transfers it to RCMP, fire or ambulance. The dispatch centre for the RCMP is located in Courtenay, fire dispatch is located at the #1 fire hall in Campbell River and ambulance dispatch is located in Victoria.

“The new technology permits this because it’s expandable. We’re basically using a quarter of its capacity.

“It’s a good system. It’s very robust, it’s very mature and we’re proud of it,” he said.

In 2014, Vrobel said, about 5,000 calls were abandoned due to things like hang-ups, unintentional dialling, etc.

This is a huge issue, he said, because “police have to investigate these things. It’s problematic.”

There are a lot of unserviced areas in the North Island, Vrobel said, which fall under the umbrella of the Coastal Fire Centre, one of six regional wildland fire centres operated by the B.C. Forest Service’s Wildfire Management Branch.

“It’s very helpful for all our rural fire departments to have your expertise at hand,” said Wainwright.