The Regional District of East Kootenay has received $45,000 in funding to help prepare for the implementation of the Next Generation 911 system.
Canada is in the process of updating the 911 emergency system to a new system, NG9-1-1.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has directed all phone and cell service companies to update their networks from analog to digital so they are ready to provide the new NG9-1-1 service.
The new service is in response to the evolution of telecommunication networks over the years. The expanded service will allow those calling for emergency services the ability to send texts, videos and photos. This is in turn provides valuable information to first responders.
The RDEK can use the funds for public education, mapping, GIS, and staff training, although board chair Rob Gay says they are waiting on further information.
“At this time, we are awaiting more details on what the new system will look like, how it will operate, and what the expectations will be for local governments around its implementation. Once we have those details, we will best be able to determine how we will utilize this funding for maximum impact,” said Gay. “At this point, it’s too early to determine what the impacts of the new system will be on local governments, and we are looking forward to receiving more detailed information from the Province.”
The funding can be used until August 2, 2026. NG9-1-1 is expected to be in place across Canada by March 2025. In the meantime, 911 calls can be placed as usual.
“We are grateful to the Ministry of Citizen’s Services for these funds and look forward to working with our 911 delivery partners at E-Comm and Kelowna Fire Dispatch to determine how to best prioritize its use,” Gay said.