911 week recognizes unsung heroes

Monthly column from the Victoria Police Department

April 9 to 15 is set aside internationally to recognize one of the most important (but often overlooked) keys to community safety — our 911 telecommunicators. These men and women serve a key public safety role: answering 911 calls, staffing non-emergency police lines and dispatching police officers. In short, they tell our officers who needs help and where, and they’re the reassuring voice on the other end of the line that gathers information and tells you that help is on the way.

911 is the first truly effective 20th century crowd-sourced technology. Nearly 98 per cent of North America dials 911 to reach emergency services and it’s been a national standard in Canada since the early 1970s. Technology has evolved since those early days; today, VicPD’s 911 operators and dispatchers use cutting edge technology not only to route calls and to take information, but to dispatch officers in real time to anywhere in Victoria or Esquimalt where our help is needed. Our 911 staff are often the first point of contact for those facing a life-or-death emergency. They rise to the challenge, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. In 2015, they helped create 59,154 calls for service and fielded 42,774,911 calls with 92.6 per cent of those being answered in 10 seconds or less.

It’s not surprising that it takes a certain skill set to be an effective 911 telecommunicator. Our team of 45 civilian staff members are trained to gather information and relay that information quickly and effectively. Upon hiring, each team member was required to be able to type a minimum of 60 words per minute (although most exceed that), transcribing information in real time. Our 911 staff aren’t just skilled operators, they’re passionate about our communities, too. They, like many others in the department, volunteer with organizations like the SPCA and Habitat for Humanity.

Many of our 911 telecommunicators have been recognized for going above and beyond. In 2015, two 911 Communications Centre staff were recognized for their roles in two different files. One staff member was awarded a VicPD Civic Service Award for going “above and beyond” in helping locate a missing person in another jurisdiction. Another staff member was honoured with an Inspector’s Commendation for her role in helping resolve a call involving a suicidal man. Our 911 telecommunicators are lifesavers.

Despite all the good work they do, our 911 staff do face a daily peril: the abandoned 911 call. On some shifts, more than 30 per cent of calls will be abandoned 911s. The best thing to do if you mistakenly dial 911 is to stay on the line, and spend a moment talking to our staff. You’ll save time, resources and you’ll help our staff with their award-winning work.

editor@vicnews.com

Just Posted

City grants 10-year tax ‘holiday’ for luxury condo building

$5.4-million tax break will offset Custom House heritage redevelopment

Celebrating the heroic dogs of Saanich past

Cedar Hill exhibit features great dogs of history

Victoria council denies 44-unit building after tie vote

Proposed rental development on Burdett Avenue divides City and residents

Crash at Tillicum Centre breaks traffic signal

Emergency crews on scene, avoid the area

Gas tax cash helps Victoria reach funding threshold for Crystal Pool

$69-million project won’t go to referendum if cost covered by three levels of government

Therapy dogs make appearance at B.C. Games

The St. John’s Ambulance therapy dog program launches a pilot project at the 2018 Kamloops B.C. Winter Games

BCHL Today: Cowichan Caps play spoiler and Nanaimo wins 10th straight game

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Federal budget to unveil incentive for 5-week second parent leave: official

Goal behind the measure is to give parents more incentive to share child-rearing responsibilities

Notley says Alberta watching B.C. court bid closely, will get no free ride on it

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley ended the three-week ban on B.C. wine, calming the trade war

Trudeau ends troubled India trip in his comfort zone of hockey and youth

The players, 18-25, came to New Delhi from Ladakhi in northern India, as part of outreach program

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Kim Boutin named Canada’s flag bearer for closing ceremony

Two more medals for Canada, including the bronze in men’s hockey

Team Canada’s Dave Duncan apologizes after drunken joyride in Pyeongchang

Duncan, his wife Maja and Canadian technical coach William Raine detained by South Korean police

Czechmate: Canada wins men’s Olympic hockey bronze

Vernon’s Andrew Ebbett scores twice as Canada beats Czech Republic 6-4

Canucks fold 6-3 in first ever trip to Vegas

Daniel Sedin had two points as Canucks fall to the Golden Knights Friday night

Most Read