PRINCE GEORGE, BC: The City’s fire dispatchers are officially relocating to their permanent home at Fire Hall #1 on Massey Drive. The new Fire Operations Communications Centre and Dispatch will house up to 14 staff who play a critical role in ensuring rapid, timely responses by Prince George’s Fire and Rescue Service. In addition to serving the local community, the new centre has a larger function that spans across British Columbia.
“Staff from the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George have been working with the City of Prince George on this transition project since 2017,” said Michael Higgins, general manager of community services for the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George. “The full scope of work is threefold as it includes the technological and facilities enhancements required for Next Generation 911 and the construction of two new, purpose-built facilities to house the City of Prince George’s professional dispatchers and the Regional District’s public safety technical and systems specialist.”
“I am very excited to welcome the fire dispatchers to their new home,” said Cliff Warner, fire chief at the City of Prince George. “This state-of-the-art building not only services the dedicated members of Prince George Fire Rescue, but also the city’s residents, and our regional partners throughout the province for many years to come.”
Fire dispatchers previously worked at the Old Fire Hall #1 on 7th Avenue and Dominion Street prior to the move. The new communications centre puts them in the nexus of operations where their contributions help firefighters respond quickly to emergencies. The communications centre exists alongside a functional and well-designed Emergency Operations Centre, both of which are key support organs in a major crisis or disaster.
“This beautiful new facility represents more than five years of concentrated efforts, dedicated team work, and outstanding collaboration between the Regional District 911 Team, the Prince George Fire Operations Communications Centre and Dispatch team, and many others at the Regional District, the City of Prince George, and industry partners,” said Marty Dupas, Prince George Fire Rescue’s chief communications officer.
The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George operates the Emergency Response Service for a large portion of British Columbia. This includes three main functions:
- Answering initial calls (currently provided under contract with EComm).
- Fire dispatch services for numerous Regional District partners in Central and Southern B.C.
- Dedicated fire/rescue radio communications for Fire and Rescue agencies located in the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George.
- The facility’s dispatch positions currently serve around 80 agencies. Once the Regional District of Central Kootenay is brought onboard, the new Fire Operations and Communications Centre will dispatch for approximately 100 agencies.
The new facility features modern technology that are Next-Generation 911-compliant and meet industry standards including:
- A new call-handling system, radio console, and call and data recording system.
- Modern ergonomic Evans console workstations with built-in features like a 2.0 Unity arm that can adjust monitors up and down and forward and back, and heaters.
- “This started off as a dream for many fire chiefs before me,” said Warner. “I am honoured to have had the opportunity to work on this project – from the strategic planning before our 2017 referendum through to this very day. This move brings the fire hall replacement project full circle.”
Since 1991, fire dispatch has been a service of the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George when a partnership was formed between the Regional District, City of Prince George, and Prince George Fire Rescue. The partnership saw the City of Prince George and PG Fire Rescue provide space and staff for the service, with the funding, infrastructure, and technology provided through the Regional District.
This ongoing relationship is key to continued success of this critical service.
Written and released by City of Prince George.