August 28, 2014
Basic 911 Service Enhances Safety for Residents
Minister Provides Update for Basic 911 Implementation and Announces Public Safety Answering Points
The Provincial Government has determined the locations and boundaries of the Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) for the expansion of Basic 911 service. Today’s announcement was made by the Honourable Dan Crummell, Minister of Municipal and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister Responsible for Fire and Emergency Services-NL, and is a critical step forward for the Emergency 911 Act.
“Today’s announcement is another step forward in reaching our target of having Basic 911 service available to residents by December 2014. Arrangements with 911 call-taking centres, also known as Public Safety Answering Points, have been finalized. The City of St. John’s will continue to operate its current Public Safety Answering Point, and will expand service to the remainder of the Avalon Peninsula. The City of Corner Brook will operate the second Public Safety Answering Point, for the remainder of the province.”
- The Honourable Dan Crummell, Minister Responsible for Fire and Emergency Services-NL
The City of St. John’s has a 911 call-taking centre with infrastructure already in place, which allows for a seamless transition to expand service to the entire Avalon Peninsula.
By December 2014, a new 911 call-taking centre will be established by the City of Corner Brook to take emergency calls for the remainder of the province. The city has the robust telecommunication infrastructure in place to operate 911 service and is geographically separated from the City of St. John’s; providing an ideal location for back up should an unforeseen event occur. Best practices indicate that a minimum of two 911 call-taking centres provides for redundancy, and in the event that an emergency should interrupt service, emergency calls can be transferred to the second location.
Since the Emergency 911 Act was passed during the Spring House of Assembly session, considerable advancement has been made. Work has progressed on drafting regulations that will determine the monthly fee for subscribers of landline and wireless telephones to pay for the service. A further update will be provided once they have been finalized. As previously stated, the 911 fee will be under $1.00 per phone line, per month, and will come into effect January 1, 2015.
Work towards establishing the NL 911 Bureau Inc. and its Board of Directors to oversee the service is also ongoing. Once established, the board will be responsible for the governance and administration of the province-wide 911 service. Upon implementation of the service, the NL 911 Bureau Inc. will start planning the next critical step, which is to prepare for Next Generation 911.
Once province-wide Basic 911 service is expanded it will be available to all residents via landline and/or wireless telephones, where a cellular signal can be accessed.
Details regarding various aspects of the Emergency 911 Act, 911 call-taking centres, and further information about 911 service, can be found in the backgrounder below.
- The Provincial Government has determined the locations and boundaries of the Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), also known as 911 call-taking centres, for the expansion of Basic 911 service.
- The City of St. John’s will continue to operate its current 911 call-taking centre and will expand service to the remainder of the Avalon Peninsula. The City of Corner Brook will operate the second 911 call-taking centre, and will answer calls from the remainder of the province.
- Once province-wide Basic 911 service is expanded it will be available to all residents via landline and/or wireless telephones, where a cellular signal can be accessed.
- Draft regulations to determine the monthly fee that will be charged to subscribers of landline and wireless telephones are under review. The fee will be under $1.00 per telephone line, per month.
- Approximately 40 per cent of the province’s population is currently covered by Basic 911 service on landline telephones, and once service is expanded, 100 per cent of the province’s population with landline and/or wireless telephone service where a cellular signal is available, will have access to Basic 911 service.
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Manager of Communications
Fire and Emergency Services-Newfoundland and Labrador
Details Regarding 911 Service and Public Safety Answering Points
Overview - The Emergency 911 Act
The Emergency 911 Act was passed in the House of Assembly during the Spring 2014 session and provides the legislative framework for the expansion of province-wide Basic 911 service, and the implementation of Next Generation 911 - Bill 14 – Emergency 911 Act
Public Safety Answering Points
A Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) is a 911 call-taking centre. The function of an emergency 911 call-taking centre is to answer all 911 calls within their defined boundary, and to transfer the caller to the appropriate emergency service provider, based on the type of call.
The Provincial Government has reached a critical step towards establishing province-wide emergency 911 by determining the location and boundaries for the call taking centres.
Currently, 911 calls in Newfoundland and Labrador are answered as follows:
- The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) in Corner Brook answers calls for Corner Brook - Bay of Islands.
- The RNC in Labrador City answers calls for Labrador City and Wabush.
- The RCMP in St. John’s answers calls from all cellular phones in the province, where a cellular signal is available,
- The City of St. John’s, through the St. John’s Regional Fire Department, answers calls for the Northeast Avalon.
Once province-wide Basic 911 is established, the RCMP and RNC will not operate as call taking centres. There are no job losses anticipated with this change as current call takers will assume other duties.
The City of St. John’s will continue to operate its current call-taking centre and will expand service to the remainder of the Avalon Peninsula. No changes are expected in staffing numbers.
The City of Corner Brook will operate the second call-taking centre, and will answer calls from the remainder of the province. It is anticipated that this will provide eight to twelve new positions for the city. The City will facilitate recruitment for these positions in the coming months.
Negotiations have been productive with both cities. FES-NL officials are in the process of formalizing the 911 call-taking agreements for signature by both cities.
911 call-taking at the Public Safety Answering Points is not intended to be a dispatch service, it is an answering point whereby residents are able to contact a person, who will immediately transfer the call to the appropriate emergency service provider(s).
Funding for the 911 Service
To fund the 911 emergency telephone service, subscribers of wireless and landline telephone services will pay a fee under $1.00 per phone line, per month. The fee will be applied once Basic 911 service is expanded and will be managed by the NL 911 Bureau Inc. for the operation and modernization of the 911 service. The application of a telephone fee is consistent with practice in other provinces and territories.
Residents living in areas that already have Basic 911 will receive added value in the long run as their contributions will help fund the development of Next Generation 911.
911 in Newfoundland and Labrador
To date, 40 per cent of the province’s population is covered by Basic 911 service on landline telephones. These areas are the Northeast Avalon, Corner Brook - Bay of Islands, Labrador City and Wabush. The remainder of the population with landline telephone service is required to dial a local number in the event of an emergency.
Basic 911 service is also accessible throughout the province via wireless telephone service, wherever a cellular signal can be accessed.
In 2011 the Provincial Government hired Pomax Public Safety Inc. to conduct a study on the feasibility of 911, and Pomax recommended a cautious, progressive, and planned implementation of Basic 911. The Pomax Public Safety Inc. report is available online at //www.gov.nl.ca/fes/publications/911study.pdf.
Basic, Enhanced and Next Generation 911
Basic 911 is a way to quickly contact emergency service providers using a universal and easily accessible three digit number.
Enhanced 911 provides additional information to the 911 call-taker, such as the caller’s name and associated civic address.
Next Generation 911 incorporates Enhanced 911 and allows emergency services to keep pace with changing methods of communication and data transfer such as text messaging and video sharing.
The focus to date has been on the expansion of Basic 911 service throughout the province.
2014 08 28 10:45 a.m.