Destination of 9-1-1 calls changing for savings of over $600,000

Thompson Nicola Regional District taxpayers are expected to save more than $600,000 over five years

Kamloops This Week

Regional-district taxpayers, including those in Kamloops, are expected to save more than $600,000 over five years with a switch to 9-1-1 service from a private Vancouver firm.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District is among a consortium moving to E-Comm, a private initial answering point for 9-1-1 calls already utilized by Lower Mainland  regional districts.

The Nov. 18 switch date is at the expense of a public call centre based in Kelowna, where about 12 jobs were expected to be eliminated.

Ron Storie, manager of community services with the TNRD, said there will be no change to jobs or staffing in Kamloops.

Calls to E-Comm in Vancouver will continue to be routed to the B.C. Ambulance Service or Kamloops Fire and Rescue dispatch centres  in Kamloops.

Storie said the change was brought on in part by rising costs at the Kelowna centre, which fields nearly 250,000 calls a year.

In the future, Storie said, E-Comm will able to accept video taken at an accident scene, so-called next-gen 9-1-1.

Police calls in Kamloops will continue to be handled by RCMP dispatchers in Kelowna, with initial calls routed through E-Comm.