Regional district opens debate on dispatch

  • Mar. 16, 2015 8:00 p.m.

By Stacey MarpleHaida Gwaii ObserverHaida Gwaii’s regional district directors are exploring their dispatch options with the hopes of streamlining dispatch procedures and smoothing out the geographical confusion dispatchers sometimes face when taking a call from the islands.The debate started with an issue specific to Tlell, when regional district planner Morganne Williams outlined three options to improve their fire response by outsourcing dispatch to one of three outfits: Ontario-based Northern911, Prince George-based E-comm, or Prince Rupert Fire Rescue. Williams recommended the board enter into a one-year agreement with Northern911, based on affordability and the opportunity for a short-term deal.”Northern911 is the organization Port Clements uses and say they have a good working relationship with. It is the most affordable option that was presented. It has a one-time start-up fee of $350 and then $150 per month after that and you can sign a one, two or three-year contract with no price variation,” she said. Williams noted Prince Rupert Fire Rescue would need more time before being able to provide the service, and E-comm required an immediate $5,000 investment plus either a commitment of $15,000 per fire department of fluctuating annual fees. The Village of Queen Charlotte fire department uses an off island answering system that costs under $100 per month for the service. “We have found a system that is working for us” said QC fire chief Larry Duke. The only time that this system doesn’t work is when the island loses long distance calling, which doesn’t happen a lot. It was then that chairperson Barry Pages asked if Northern911 could be an option to bring all communities under the same umbrella.”It would make sense if everybody was using the same service on the island,” he said.While the idea found support from some island directors, Port Clements Mayor Ian Gould said he has some concerns about that based on past experiences.”If we go island-wide then there is a difficulty [for dispatchers] knowing which community [the 911 call originates from]. If it’s specific to one community then it eliminates that problem. For example, in Port Clements if we provide information for just Port Clements it may be a lot cleaner that having seven communities in different areas,” he said.Gould also alluded to an incident last month when an ambulance was dispatched to Jungle Beach from Port Clements, instead of nearby Queen Charlotte, because the dispatcher in Kamloops thought it was closer.”I wonder if this is going to be a better system than what we have with BC Ambulance,” Gould said. “If we have it island-wide I can see these screw-ups regularly if it’s not specific. BC Ambulance services has their own internal system with major call centres in Vancouver, Vancouver Island and Kamloops, which is the one Haida Gwaii gets dispatched to. Kamloops call centre provides services to all communities outside the interior and Northern B.C, making it the biggest geographical dispatch operations centre in North America. Kamloops Dispatch receives over 600 calls per day and is is responsible for directing ambulances in 98 communities. Before tabling the report for next month, Pages acknowledged the geographical realities of Haida Gwaii would need to be discussed with any provider that may cover all of the islands communities.”If there are five different fire departments that Northern911 needs to get to, it is going to need to be clear that if they get the call, this is the one they need to go to,” he said.In the end directors of the Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District decided to table any actions until more information could be found.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Skidegate daycare staff recognized for creative care during COVID-19

Staff have been using social media to share isolation activities, read stories and sing songs

Village of Queen Charlotte approves business facade improvement grants

Applications from Gather, dental clinic, A Level Up approved, leaving about $14,000 up for grabs

Recycling services in Queen Charlotte, Port Clements expanding next week

Residential plastics will be accepted again, but most residential transfer stations remain closed

‘At least they’re safe:’ Arrival of new Syrian refugee family to Haida Gwaii delayed due to COVID-19

Operation Refugees says family stuck in Lebanon with no flights, ‘but at least they’re safe’

‘Good news:’ Council of the Haida Nation releases guidelines for expanding social circles

Next steps also say outdoor spaces such as parks, playgrounds, trails may be reopening for day use

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Vancouver Island First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Most Read