The 911 program manager, Ashley Geraghty, insists that Yellowknife’s call centre will not require any cost inducing modifications to the city.
“Their system will not require any upgrades,” he said on Jan. 30.
This comes after Yellowknife Mayor Rebecca Alty sat before the legislative assembly standing committee on Jan. 24 and requested that GNWT cover any incurred costs, should an update to their current emergency call centre be required.
The new emergency call centre, which will be run by the GNWT, will connect incoming 911 calls with already established RCMP, fire and medical dispatch within communities. The location of the call centre in Yellowknife is yet to be determined.
The new emergency service will not be replacing any emergency services but streamlining them, according to Geraghty. Existing emergency service numbers will also be maintained, to provide the most options to the public.
“We want to ensure, that no matter what number someone calls, they will always be able to get the service they need,” said Geraghty.
Once the call centre becomes operational, there will be three dispatchers staffed during business hours and one after hours dispatcher.
In the event of a surge event, a large influx of calls, other staffers will be on call.
The new dispatch will have seven total employees, including the 911 program manager, to run the service for the entire territory.
The budget for the 9-1-1 service was estimated at $606,000 in the 2018-2019 fiscal year’s budget report. According to Geraghty, the 2019-2020 budget estimates are held in confidence until approved by the Legislative Assembly.
Community mapping, for some remote communities that lack formal street names or addressing is not a mandatory aspect of the implementation plan.
“MACA has an ongoing strategy to assist with community mapping for services like Canada Post and phone services, but mapping is not a mandatory,” Geraghty said.
When someone calls 911, staff will ask what community they are calling from and what kind of service they need and connect them.
“It’s not someone in Yellowknife trying to figure out where in these communities emergency services needs to go,” Geraghty said.
MACA has made a webinar open to public to assist the public and municipalities with civic addressing.
Communication with municipalities
Geraghty confirmed that on several dates throughout implementation that information has been distributed to the standing committee and municipalities.
Since presenting to council last year the division has only communicated with Yellowknife city government on a “staff to staff” level.
According to Geraghty, information packages will be distributed to the standing committee this week and MACA will be coming before the legislative assembly’s standing committee during the next budget session. The community awareness campaign will also begin once the new service goes live on June 30.