During the Committee of the Whole meeting in Smiths Falls on Monday night, Chief Administrative Officer Malcolm Morris discussed the future of 9-1-1 services with council.
NG-9-1-1, which stands for Next Generation 911, is the name given for the expanding digital emergency services being implemented across Canada.
“In the past,” Morris explained, “9-1-1 was based on people using landlines that could be located via address.” With the proliferation of cell phones, it is increasingly difficult, especially if caller is in distress and unable to speak or identify their location, for dispatch to identify callers’ locations.
The federal government has earmarked $208 million to help municipalities transition to NG9-1-1 technology.
“We applied for funding and were successful,” Morris said, referring to both the fire department and police services.
The town received word of their successful application at the beginning of March. As part of the aggressive implementation timeline, the funds are required to be spent by the end of March.
“This is good news. There is a lot of work to be done by the end of the month,” Morris stated.
NG-9-1-1 will be implemented across the country by March 2025.
On their website, the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) is careful to explain that landline phone calls will continue to be received by emergency services, and there is nothing different required of callers in the new system. NG-9-1-1 will allow videos and location pins to be sent and received by emergency services to enable more complete and timely help.