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)

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Located at 9750 West Saanich Rd., this North Saanich mansion is on the market for $10.25 million. (Realtor.ca photo)
Located at 9750 West Saanich Rd., this North Saanich mansion is on the market for $8.65 million. (Realtor.ca photo)
The five most expensive homes for sale in Greater Victoria

A roundup of luxury estates currently on the market

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely first in B.C. for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Jimmy Fallon joked that a woman’s 4.5-star review of a Langford jail is “the most Canadian thing you could do” in The Tonight Show Jan. 21. (Screenshot/YouTube)
VIDEO: Jimmy Fallon jokes Canadian jails are basically hotels following woman’s 4.5-star review

Woman gave handwritten card to police following stay in Langford cells

Sidney's Beacon Wharf
Pontoon company piqued at prospect of public-private partnership around Sidney wharf

Seagate approached to submit proposeal for public-private partnership

Following a cease work order from the District of Highlands in October, the BC Supreme Court ruled Jan. 20. that bylaws won’t apply to O.K. Industries’ work until its quarrying activity is complete. (Courtesy of District of Highlands)
BC Supreme Court rules Highlands quarry work can continue

District bylaws won’t apply until quarrying activities are complete

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Terry Keogh, an RDN Transit driver, used his paramedic skills the morning of Jan. 22 after coming across an unconscious woman along his route in downtown Nanaimo. (RDN Transit photo)
Nanaimo transit driver stops his bus and helps get overdosing woman breathing again

Former EMT from Ireland performed CPR on a woman in downtown Nanaimo on Friday

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at the Okisollo fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. The First Nations Leadership Council says an attempt by industry to overturn the phasing out of salmon farms in the Discovery Islands in contrary to their inherent Title and Rights. (THE CANADIAN PRESS /Jonathan Hayward photo)
First Nations Leadership Council denounces attempt to overturn salmon farm ban

B.C.’s producers filed for a judicial review of the Discovery Islands decision Jan. 18

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

More than 100 B.C. fishermen, fleet leaders, First Nations leaders and other salmon stakeholders are holding a virtual conference Jan. 21-22 to discuss a broad-range of issues threatening the commercial salmon fishery. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. commercial salmon fishermen discuss cures for an industry on the brink

Two-day virtual conference will produce key reccomendations for DFO

Black Press file photo
Investigation at remote burned-out Vancouver Island cabin reveals human remains

Identity of victim not released, believed to be the owner of an SUV vehicle found parked nearby

Angela Waldick is the new team photographer for the Nanaimo NightOwls. (Nanaimo NightOwls photo)
Half-blind photographer will help new Island baseball team look picture-perfect

Nanaimo NightOwls say legally blind team photographer is making history

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Most Read