Hearing the news that the 9-1-1 service for our regional district is about to go live is fantastic.
It’s bewildering to me that it has taken so long to achieve and that in this day and age emergency numbers are a) ten digits and b) different in every town within the RDBN.
When I started writing my front page story about 9-1-1 two weeks ago it dawned on me that I don’t know any of the emergency numbers in town – in fact I don’t even know the number for the operator.
It may sound stupid but if you have never had to use it then at what point do you make the effort to find it out and make a permanent note?
The only emergency number I know is the Vanderhoof police detachment, and I only know that purely because I call it all the time to do the weekly police report.
In England the number is 9-9-9 – something I can remember since being very young, especially because one of my favorite TV show was called 9-9-9 and documented real emergencies that ended happily. I’m confident that from a very young age I would have known to call 9-9-9 in an emergency. (Interestingly the first city in North America to use a central emergency number (in 1959) was Winnipeg, Manitoba but they used 9-9-9. The number was switched to 9-1-1 soon after by the United States.)
I wonder what many of the kids in our regional district would say now if you asked them what number to dial in an emergency?
Similarly what about those driving through our regional district or visiting – surely it is an issue of public safety that they would most likely assume 9-1-1 was the emergency number?
On October 25, 9-1-1 will go live and a significant step in improving both emergency response and public safety in our regional district will have been achieved.