The Initial 911 Call - Public Safety Answering Point
The Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) answers all 911 calls. PSAP is handled by E-Comm in Vancouver. The North Island 911 Corporation has an agreement with E-Comm to perform this function. E-Comm provides PSAP 911 call answering not only for North Island 911 Corporation, but also for Metro Vancouver region, Sunshine Coast Regional District, Whistler, Squamish, the south portion of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, and also provides dispatch for 32 police and fire departments. The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) standards for call answering are that 90 per cent of all 911 calls arriving at the PSAP are to be answered within 10 seconds during times of the highest call volumes, and 95 per cent of all 911 calls are to be answered within 20 seconds during other times. E-Comm has a standard of operation even higher. It’s known as 95/5 - at least 95 per cent of calls are answered within five seconds of the call being received at the call answer centre. (From 1995 to 2014, Courtenay RCMP Operations Communications Centre (OCC) provided PSAP.
Campbell River Fire & Rescue Dispatch Centre
On April 2, 1996, the Campbell River Fire & Rescue Dispatch Centre went into active operation for the North Island 911 Corporation. The dispatch centre at that time partnered with 46 fire departments through the Regional Districts of Nanaimo, Alberni-Clayoquot, Comox-Strathcona, and Mt Waddington. The system was expanded in October 1999 when qathet Regional District (formerly known as Powell River Regional District) joined the corporation, bringing the total to 50 fire departments. In February 2008, the provincial government restructured the Comox Strathcona Regional District into two new RDs: the Comox Valley and the Strathcona Regional Districts. The dispatch area covered by our communications centre and member fire departments extends approximately 60,000 square kilometres over the northern portion of Vancouver Island and the mainland around Powell River (see overall coverage area).
The intent of the dispatch centre is to provide a reliable, centralized regional 911-radio fire dispatch facility for the express purpose of dispatching the appropriate fire department and providing support to that fire department.
There are currently two communications operators on duty 24 hours a day. This state-of-the-art facility receives 911 calls and dispatches the appropriate response in a matter of minutes.
The communications system utilizes many different systems and mediums for establishing and maintaining contact with the fire departments, including regular telephone lines, mountaintop towers with VHF radio repeaters as well as satellite phone systems. The system is designed to be fault tolerant, with backup for paging and emergency power into remote areas particularly for the event of the most severe weather situations.
Incoming 911 calls are routed through InformCAD, a computer aided dispatch and mapping system. The InformCAD mapping software will automatically centre a map over the civic address locating the 911 caller when using a standard home phone within any of the five regional districts. The use of a cell phone however, requires the caller to provide an address, landmark, or other location descriptor to the dispatcher, who will enter the information manually, enabling the mapping software to then pinpoint the location and indicate the proper fire department to be dispatched.
All radio and telephone communications are recorded on an Eventide call recorder and the dispatch centre utilizes a state-of-the-art Avtec Scout fully IP-based radio system for integrated call-taking, dispatching, and paging throughout its service area.
BC Ambulance Service (BCAS)
Emergency Medical Dispatchers
The province's three regional ground ambulance communications centres are located in Kamloops, Vancouver and Victoria. The Provincial Air Ambulance Coordination Centre is based in North Saanich. North Island 911 calls are routed to Victoria.
Emergency Medical Dispatchers are the "Vital Link" between the public and the BCAS. They will provide emergency medical telephone instructions to the caller until BCAS paramedics arrive on the scene, thus allowing the caller to play a key role in assisting a person with a medical emergency. Many dispatchers have also worked as field paramedics.