North Bay's 911 service is in good hands #NationalTelecommunicatorsWeek

North Bay’s 911 service is in good hands #NationalTelecommunicatorsWeek

In celebration of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (April 10-16, 2016), the North Bay Police Service (NBPS) would like to salute the work of its 911 call-takers by showcasing the important work that they do. Following numerous reports in the media about North Bay’s 911 service, the NBPS would also like to take this opportunity to clarify how it works.

What is 911?
911 is an easy-to-remember universal three-digit number for people to use in an emergency. It is an answering point only to get you to the emergency service you need. Once the 911 call is directed to the appropriate emergency service (police, fire or ambulance), the call becomes the responsibility of the primary dispatch centre.

911 Service in North Bay
All 911 calls originating from within the City of North Bay are directed to the North Bay 911 Communications Centre, located at the North Bay Police Service on Princess Street West. This is the only designated 911 primary answering point for the City of North Bay. All who work here are employees of the North Bay Police Service (NBPS).

Emergency Service Dispatch Centres in North Bay
When you call 911 from within the City of North Bay service area, the NBPS 911 call-taker will direct your call to the appropriate emergency service dispatch centre for police, fire or ambulance.

  1. Police: NBPS 911 call-takers are cross-trained to answer 911 calls and process police calls for service. When you ask for police in the City of North Bay service area, the 911 call-taker will seamlessly assume the duties of police dispatcher and follow the procedures for a police response.
  2. Fire: NBPS 911 call-takers are cross-trained to answer 911 calls and process fire calls for service. When you ask for fire in the City of North Bay service area, the 911 call-taker will seamlessly assume the duties of fire dispatcher and follow the procedures for a fire response.
  3. Ambulance: 911 calls for ambulance in the City of North Bay service area are immediately transferred to the North Bay Central Ambulance Communication Centre (CACC) located on Ferris Drive in North Bay. Ambulance dispatchers of this secondary answering point are employees of the North Bay Regional Health Centre and are funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Health.

Tiered response
A “tiered response” is when police, fire and ambulance are dispatched to an emergency.

The 911 Protocol Agreement, which was signed in 2003 by the North Bay Police Service, the North Bay Fire and Emergency Service, the EMS District of Nipissing, the North Bay Central Ambulance Communication Centre and the OPP North East Region, includes a tiered response clause that requires 911 call-takers to notify police, fire and ambulance of the following emergencies:

  1. Motor vehicle collision with injuries;
  2. Aircraft in distress;
  3. Bomb threats;
  4. Ice water rescue;
  5. Explosions;
  6. Multiple casualties; and
  7. Drownings.

Any additional assistance required at any emergency not mentioned above is at the discretion of each individual emergency service (police, fire, ambulance), based on their own policies, procedures and inter-agency agreements, not the 911 Protocol Agreement.

911 pocket dials, hang ups, or no response
All 911 calls are taken seriously. If a person mistakenly calls 911 and then hangs up, the NBPS 911 call-taker must establish contact with the caller to ensure his/her safety. If there is no response, as per the 911 Protocol Agreement, police will be notified.

Next Generation 911
In 2015, North Bay’s 911 Communications Centre (located at North Bay Police Service headquarters) was upgraded to the new Bell 911 IP network, known as Next Generation 911. This system offers:

  • Text with 911 for deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired community members who have registered their mobile phones with their mobile phone service provider;
  • Automatic in-call location update, which provides updated latitude and longitude coordinates on in-progress mobile calls every 35 seconds; and
  • A future where texts, digital photos and real time video could be sent to the 911 call-taker.

911 calls from mobile phones
Cell towers located within the City of North Bay are all programmed to direct 911 calls to the North Bay 911 Communications Centre. With the use of mobile devices on the rise, telecommunications companies responsible for providing 911 services are continually looking at ways of improving efficiencies and accuracies.

VoIP
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone services offer a different 911 emergency service than traditional telephone 911 services. With a VoIP phone service, the 911 call is forwarded to a third-party service provider that will automatically or manually route your call to the emergency response centre.
Visit http://crtc.gc.ca/eng/phone/911/voip.htm for more information about VoIP 911 services.