Beginning this fall, 9-1-1 calls in the Fraser-Fort George, Cariboo, Bulkley-Nechako and Kitimat-Stikine Regional Districts will be answered in southwest BC.

Currently, the Regional District of Fraser Fort George contracts with the RCMP to provide 9-1-1 call answer services to most of the most of the area, but the service will be taken over by E-Comm, an emergency communication centre in Vancouver.

A joint release from the districts, the RCMP and E-Comm says there will be considerable cost savings with the move to E-Comm, from approximately $730,000 per year to about $365,000.

E-Comm received 861,694 emergency calls in 2013, answering 98 per cent of them in five seconds or less, says the statement, exceeding their contracted target of 95 per cent. The E-Comm building is a secure, purpose-built facility designed to resist a major earthquake and be self-sufficient for 72 hours. E-Comm has a number of back-up provisions to ensure the continuity of 9-1-1 call answer services in a variety of scenarios.

Calls will continue to be dispatched in the same manner. When you call 9-1-1, the call taker will continue to ask you “What is your emergency, police, fire or ambulance?” and your call will be directed to the appropriate dispatch centre. Calls for police will be dispatched to the RCMP Operational Communications Centre in Prince George; calls for fire will be dispatched through the Fire Operations Communications Centre in Prince George; and calls for ambulance will be dispatched through the BC Ambulance Service dispatch centre in Kamloops.