Lauretta Lockwood (E-Comm call taker) explains the dispatch system to Victoria Police Chief Del Manak at the new South Island 911 E-Comm Centre in Saanich. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Greater Victoria’s new $13 million E-Comm 9-1-1 call centre up and running

Saanich located building handles 911 calls to 15 police agencies

The new $13 million South Island 911/Police Dispatch Centre held a grand opening in Saanich on Wednesday.

The earthquake proof CRD building has a generator and is designed to act as a post-disaster centre.

All 911 calls are directed there for Central Saanich, Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria police departments and for 11 RCMP detachments in the central and southern Vancouver Island region. Each transitioned to the centre on a staggered schedule since Jan. 1 with Victoria Police phasing in on Jan. 22, Saanich and Oak Bay on Jan. 29, and other agencies, such as the South Island RCMP and Central Saanich on Feb. 5.

The CRD purpose-built the 1,200-square-metre building while private contractor EComm – a cost recovery corporation – operates call taking and dispatch services. There are currently 70 people in the building, most of them call takers or dispatchers, and most of them moved over from dispatch at previous police departments.

“It was a steady transition, a lot of detailed planning went into the project leading up to [each launch],” said Jasmine Bradley, E-Comm spokesperson.

Any calls for fire or ambulance are rerouted, though the building has room for expansion and could host fire dispatch.

From its opening in January to the end of February, the centre received more than 9,600 911 calls. E-Comm is required to answer 95 per cent of its 911 calls in five seconds or less though the actual average 911 call-answer time is one second.

The centre also handles non-emergency calls with a target to answer 80 per cent of calls in three minutes or less (South Island E-Comm answered 13,803 non-emergency calls from Jan. 22 to March 1) and averaged one minute, 21 seconds.

So far 84 per cent of all non-emergency calls have been answered in three minutes or less and 90 per cent of all non-emergency calls answered in five minutes or less.

If needed, the South Island Centre can send all calls to Vancouver where it has another 540 employees at its E-Comm site.

READ ALSO: Saanich site would answer call for centralized 911 dispatch

“Consolidating dispatch services and joining forces to operate out of a shared, state-of-the-art facility will improve coordination between agencies so they can better respond to large emergencies that cross municipal boundaries, improve service to the public and increase officer safety,” said Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general, who visited on Wednesday.

Dealing with calls that cross municipal borders and managing those incidents through three call centres was inefficient, said Victoria Police Chief Del Manak.

“Having a regional emergency communications and dispatch centre that provides us with shared resources for overall public safety is such a positive step.”

To see three call centres blended together creates outstanding efficiencies, said Chief Superintendent Sean Sullivan, Island District RCMP Commander.

“It’s going to definitely improve the service to Vancouver Island residents.”

The 11 Central/Southern Vancouver Island RCMP detachments are the Integrated Roadside Safety Unit, Ladysmith, Lake Cowichan, North Cowichan/Duncan, Outer Gulf Islands (includes Pender, Galiano and Mayne), Salt Spring Island, Shawnigan Lake, Sidney/North Saanich, Sooke, South Island Traffic Services, West Shore (includes City of Langford, City of Colwood, Town of View Royal, District of Metchosin, District of Highlands, Songhees First Nation and Esquimalt First Nation).

reporter@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Victoria teen killed on field trip near Sooke

Second youth also injured in falling tree incident at Camp Barnard

Oak Bay double murder trial: Blood splatter analyst says no shoe prints found in unit

RCMP analyst testifies to smears, fingermarks, ‘swipe and wipe’ patterns around apartment

Scorpion gives birth at Victoria Bug Zoo after hitching ride in woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

Victoria police hand out Civic Service Awards

June 24 awards include recognition for help on days-long fire, cannabis robbery, volunteer service

Man accused of Brentwood Bay murder appears in court

Alan Chapman tells judge he wants next court appearance to be “as far away as possible”

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

Most Read