BC 911 operators can now hang up on callers waiting for ambulances – .

BC 911 operators can now hang up on callers waiting for ambulances – .

People who answer 911 calls in British Columbia can disconnect the line if their callers are waiting for an ambulance, according to new changes made by the province’s largest 911 dispatcher.

Allowing 911 operators to hang up will allow them to take more calls, including urgent police and fire requests, E-Comm said in a press release on Wednesday.

Call takers previously had to wait in line until their caller was connected to BCEHS, the police or the fire department – a process that has contributed to complaints of delays in recent months.

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“Extended wait times continue to cause significant delays for British Columbians calling 9-1-1, which is also difficult for our operators who are busy and therefore powerless to help others,” said Oliver Grüter, CEO of E-Comm. Andrew in the press release.

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“We believe this change will take some pressure off the emergency communications system, which will allow our staff to potentially help save more lives.” “

BC Emergency Health Services, which manages ambulances, is supporting the change, E-Comm said.

Union representing BC 911 dispatchers issues warning

Union representing BC 911 dispatchers issues warning – November 6, 2021

The union representing more than 500 of E-Comm’s 911 operators, IT and support professionals, however, quickly declared themselves “stunned” by the decision.

Operators are often the only ones who can pass information to BCEHS if a caller loses consciousness or becomes unable to answer while waiting for an ambulance, so it’s important they stay on the line, said CUPE Local 8911.

“This move goes against everything we were trained to do and all common sense approaches to 9-1-1 service delivery,” Union President Donald Grant said in a statement.

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“Until now, our operators have never logged out before voice contact is established, as our role is to ensure that critical information is not lost during the transfer. “

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The union further alleges that the E-Comm change is a “gap plug” that bypasses the real need for more funding and staff to meet operational demands.

E-Comm said the change would have no impact on the availability of ambulances or BCEHS operators, and the two organizations will closely monitor the effectiveness of the new process.

The BCEHS, he added, has created new positions in its dispatch centers to help meet demand.

911 callers needing an ambulance will be told they’re in the ambulance queue, E-Comm said, and operators will tell them they need to hang up to take more calls.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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