E-911 & Fire Dispatch

When you call 911 in the FVRD,  a call taker at E-Comm in Vancouver determines the nature of the emergency and then transfers your call to the requested agency - either police, fire, or ambulance. E-Comm is the largest 911 call centre in British Columbia and is responsible for 84 percent of the province's 911 call volume. When residents in the FVRD request assistance from a fire department, E-Comm then transfers the caller to the FVRD's own fire dispatch centre, located in Chilliwack.
 
On December 7, 2017 the FVRD announced it will be moving its fire dispatch services to E-Comm in late 2018 or early 2019.
 
  1. Why is the FVRD moving fire dispatch to E-Comm?

    The decision to transition the FVRD's fire dispatch program to E-Comm was not taken lightly. Dispatch services require a sustained investment in technology and infrastructure to ensure public safety. Advances in technology, particularly in a wireless mobile society have led to improvements in emergency communications services as well. Next Generation 911, or NextGen 911 will enable the public to transmit text, images, video, and data to the 911 centre. As BC moves toward NextGen 911, the investment in technology, infrastructure, and human resource support are going to significantly increase. The FVRD would need millions of dollars of ongoing investment to keep pace with this technology. The FVRD is committed to providing cost effective and efficient services to the community, and unfortunately this is one service the FVRD simply could no longer continue to provide.

  2. When is the change going to occur?

    We anticipate this transition will occur in approximately one year, either late in 2018 or early in 2019.

  3. How many staff members will this affect?

    The FVRD's current staff complement includes four full time and six part time fire dispatchers. E-Comm will be offering four full time positions to FVRD full time staff. CUPE Local 458 will be working with staff to determine next steps.

  4. How can E-Comm serve the FVRD? Their dispatchers won't know our communities.

    The FVRD's fire dispatch program currently provides service to 22 fire departments, some of which are not located in the region. Our centre has agreements with neighbouring jurisdictions and our professional dispatchers are very capable at providing this service to areas in which they are less familiar. Sophisticated GIS technology already enables fire dispatchers to work with fire departments even if they don't live or work in the area. Since there will be four full time positions available at E-Comm, we expect FVRD residents and fire departments will continue to be served by existing staff.

  5. Why did you announce this at Christmas time?

    The Board of Directors made this difficult decision at a closed meeting on November 28, 2017. Unfortunately, it became apparent that some of this information was inadvertantly shared in the community. FVRD management and CUPE Local 458 agreed that it was prudent to share this information with staff as soon as possible. Management also felt that while it is never easy to share this kind of news, staff would likely prefer to have as much notice as possible. As it stands, FVRD fire dispatchers have been given approximately one year notice of the change.