9-1-1 calls officially taken over by E-Comm in Vancouver, specialized service for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community now available

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District says that as of 7:21 a.m. on Wednesday morning, E-Comm officially became the first point of contact for 9-1-1 callers in the Peace River Regional District.

The front end calls will now be taken in Vancouver from Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Chetwynd, Hudson’s Hope, Pouce Coupe, Taylor and Tumbler Ridge along with many of the region’s First Nations communities according to a release from the PRRD.

“The regional district is continually looking for ways to enhance the high level of emergency services our communities receive,” explained Brad Sperling, Chair of the Peace River Regional District. “We believe our new partnership with E-Comm will allow us to provide residents with the same high-quality 9-1-1 service they are accustomed to receiving, but in a more cost effective manner with added operational benefits. This includes having access to a larger workforce to deal with sudden influxes of high 9-1-1 call volume.”

There are close to 20,000 emergency calls a year from the Peace River Regional District alone.

“Highly-trained call-takers will quickly confirm which agency the caller requires and for which location before transferring calls to the requested emergency service agency—police, fire or ambulance.”

E-Comm President, David Guscott says that they are proud to answer the call for the Peace River Region.

“9-1-1 is a lifeline, which is why thorough preparation was our top priority for today’s transition. We’re proud to be able to answer the front end portion of 9-1-1 calls for citizens in the Peace River. The speed and accuracy of this critical role allows people to connect with local police, fire and ambulance agencies to get the help they need.”

As part of the transition to E-Comm, a specialized service for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community is
now available that allows registered users to communicate via text message with 9-1-1 call-takers.

“The service is called Text with 9-1-1 and was developed by Canada’s telecommunications services providers. In an emergency, registered users must first dial 9-1-1 like any other caller to establish a voice connection – this is the only way a text session can start. When E-Comm receives the call an alert will trigger at the 9-1-1 centre to indicate there is a deaf or hard-of-hearing caller on the line. The 9-1-1 call-taker will then launch the special messaging system, allowing them to communicate with the caller through a special text session. To register and learn more about Text with 9-1-1 visit www.textwith911.ca.”