Res #: 13-09M
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Corrections, Public Safety and Policing
WHEREAS callers to 911 are not required to leave their names, addresses or telephone numbers when reporting an accident;
WHEREAS Fire Departments and Emergency Services vehicles are dispatched by 911 and in some instances there is no accident as reported by the anonymous caller to 911 dispatch; and
WHEREAS valuable time and money is spent by the Fire Departments and Emergency Services vehicles looking for an accident which did not occur;
BE IT RESOLVED that callers to 911 be required to leave their names, addresses and telephone numbers to discourage frivolous calls to 911 which result in Fire and Rescue Services being dispatched to non-events.
Background provided by the RM of Indian Head No. 156:
The Indian Head Fire Department has been dispatched by 911 to accidents which were reported by anonymous callers who claim to have seen such events while traveling on Highway No. 1 such as passenger vehicles or semi tractors and trailers being involved in accidents. 911 will dispatch the emergency vehicles, and in some instances, 911 dispatches emergency vehicles from more than one town. Emergency vehicles have traveled up and down the highway looking for the reported accident and have met other emergency vehicles which were dispatched by 911 from neighbouring towns and no accident was found. The RM Council feels that if callers were required to give their names and addresses to the dispatcher, they would be more inclined to confirm there actually was an accident before calling 911 dispatch.
Response from Al Hilton, Deputy Minister of Corrections, Public Safety and Policing:
Resolution 13 requested that callers to the 9-1-1 system be required to leave their names, addresses and phone numbers with the call taker to discourage frivolous calls that result in fire and emergency services being dispatched to non-events. We appreciate the intent of the concerns that the resolution is intended to address.
It should be noted that Saskatchewan 9-1-1 centres follow call answering guidelines set out by the National Emergency Number Association and the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials. These guidelines have been established to respond to the urgent need to have emergency calls transferred to dispatch agencies as quickly as possible.
When residents call 9-1-1, they initially speak to a call-taker who is responsible for determining the nature of the emergency, the caller’s location, and their telephone number. The caller is then transferred to the appropriate dispatch agency.
Dispatch agencies each have their own set of dispatch protocols based on the requirements of the municipalities they serve. Municipalities have the ability to negotiate with their dispatch agencies to ensure that appropriate standards and protocols are implemented. The concern raised in resolution 13-09M would be one such protocol that could be negotiated.
While the Ministry of Corrections, Public Safety and Policing (CPSP) has legislative authority to oversee the general operation of the 9-1-1 call taking system, it does not have authority over individual dispatch agencies.
The Ministry of CPSP, through the Office of the Fire Commissioner, holds regular discussions with emergency dispatch agencies around the province. If assistance is needed in establishing these protocols please contact the Office of the Fire Commissioner at (306) 787-3774.