9-1-1 dispatchers warn about non-emergency calls
(Photo from E-Comm 9-1-1.)

There will be a new hold process for 9-1-1 call takers in British Columbia starting today, which will help reduce hold times and free up lines to take additional calls. 

E-Comm and British Columbia Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) have been working closely in an attempt to address call-transfer delays in the province.

When an individual dials 9-1-1, they are first connected with an E-Comm call taker. 

Once the caller has described their emergency, they are transferred by E-COMM to the appropriate department (police agency, fire department or ambulance). 

The current process requires the call taker to wait on the line with the caller until they have been connected to the emergency service. 

According to E-Comm, this transfer time can take an average of 45 seconds. However, with increased demands on services, these hold times have been increasing, causing call takers to remain on hold even longer. 

Now, E-Comm is implementing a new process to reduce those wait times. The new process will allow call takers to disconnect from callers and continue to take additional calls. 

“The extended wait times are continuing to result in significant delays for British Columbians calling 9-1-1, which is also difficult for our call takers who are being tied up and are therefore helpless to assist others,” explained Oliver Grüter-Andrew, President and CEO of E-Comm. 

“This new process puts the safety of all British Columbians first – and we believe this change will take some pressure off the emergency communications system that will allow our staff to potentially help save more lives.”

E-Comm and BCEHS have also implemented new measures to separate potentially life-threatening calls from less-urgent emergencies.

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