Peace River Regional District looking at 9-1-1 changes

DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District is looking at making changes when it comes to 9-1-1 service and dispatching with a recommendation of entering into a new 5-year agreement with E-Comm.

At a committee of the whole meeting today, Trish Morgan, General Manager of Community and Electoral Area Services with the Peace River Regional District, outlined what those changes would look like.

Currently, the RCMP provides the Public Safety Answer Point (PSAP). In December of 2013, the PRRD entered into a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) to provide this service until March 31st, 2017. If changes were made, E-Comm would be the PSAP instead of the RCMP. A request for Expression of Interest was issued on November 1, 2015.

The Regional District did receive two RFEI’s. One from the City of Fort St. John, and one from E-Comm in Vancouver. The RCMP chose not to submit at RFEI, although they were given the chance to participate. Then in January of 2016, the Board had given staff permission to let the City of Fort St. John and E-Comm to submit proposals for 9-1-1 service. The District only received one proposal in the end, which was from E-Comm.

RCMP costs have increased substantially over the last few years. From 2002 to 2015, costs have gone up 358% from $100,000 to $440,000. From 2010 to 2016, costs have gone up 55% from $294,000 to $458,000.

As of now, 9-1-1 calls go to the PSAP in Prince George. Ambulance calls go to Kamloops. Fire calls are dispatched to Dawson Creek or Fort St. John.

Dawson Creek Fire Department provides dispatch services for 7 fire departments and handles around 700 calls per year. Costs for dispatching have gone up 22% from 2010 to 2016. Total costs have gone up from $186,000 to $238,000. Dawson Creek serves Arras, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek,  Moberly Lake, Peace Coupe, Tomslake as well as Tumbler Ridge.

Fort St. John Fire Department provides dispatch services for 4 fire departments and handles around 1,000 calls a year. Costs for dispatching have gone up as well 20% from 2010 to 2016. Total costs have gone up from $186,000 to $220,000. Fort St. John serves Charlie Lake, Fort St. John, Huston’s Hope and Taylor.

If changes were approved, E-Comm would be the PSAP. E-Comm already provides 9-1-1 services for 3.5 million residents of BC and handles over 1.2 million 9-1-1 calls every year.

If the Board does decide to go with E-Comm, it is estimated that they will save around $1.56 million over 5-years, which is a 64% cost reduction.

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