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The Victoria emergency (fire/ambulance) services thread


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#2341 sebberry

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Posted 02 December 2021 - 09:00 AM

I think most if not all municipal fire departments in the CRD switched their call centres over to Surrey this past week.

I’m no expert but I have to wonder if this has been thought all the way through.

Cost effective? Maybe. Smart? Not so sure.

A major emergency event encompassing a number of municipalities all at once could result in chaos when all the eggs are in one 911 basket.

 

I called a non-emergency number a while back to report a suspicious event at Cattle Point.  Call-taker didn't know where that was.  We need local people on the phone with a good awareness of local geography.  Sometimes one can't describe where they are beyond landmarks around them, like picnic tables.


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#2342 Mike K.

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Posted 02 December 2021 - 09:01 AM

I think most if not all municipal fire departments in the CRD switched their call centres over to Surrey this past week.

I’m no expert but I have to wonder if this has been thought all the way through.

Cost effective? Maybe. Smart? Not so sure.

A major emergency event encompassing a number of municipalities all at once could result in chaos when all the eggs are in one 911 basket.

Yes, and when you call these faraway dispatch centres, they require a numbered address to respond, or precise coordinates. No more “send an ambulance to the playground at the Cook side of Beacon Hill.” The folks in Surrey have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about.

I experienced that when there was a car accident I saw, and the dispatcher kept asking for an address I didn’t have, I only knew what road we were on. She eventually said we’re in [was it Surrey? Maybe, it was RCMP] and I don’t know what [insert local landmark] means, I need a street number.
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#2343 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 02 December 2021 - 09:07 AM

I called a non-emergency number a while back to report a suspicious event at Cattle Point. Call-taker didn't know where that was. We need local people on the phone with a good awareness of local geography. Sometimes one can't describe where they are beyond landmarks around them, like picnic tables.


I don’t know. A lot of locals have no idea either.
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#2344 laconic

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Posted 02 December 2021 - 09:37 AM

I had the same problem in the 80's in Calgary when my wallet was stolen from a locker in Lindsay Park Aquatic Centre (about as obvious to a local as Crystal or Commonwealth pool). No help until you find a street address.

In a era when most people have a cell phone with a gps, you'd think the technological solution of "send my location" wouldn't be all that difficult.
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#2345 sebberry

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Posted 02 December 2021 - 10:14 AM

I don’t know. A lot of locals have no idea either.

 

No, but 'can you describe what you see around you?' can be incredibly helpful in many cases, unless it's a 'spare tire and jack'.  Even then the call taker can walk the person through disconnecting a tail light to get someone's attention.


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#2346 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 02 December 2021 - 11:04 AM

No, but 'can you describe what you see around you?' can be incredibly helpful in many cases, unless it's a 'spare tire and jack'.  Even then the call taker can walk the person through disconnecting a tail light to get someone's attention.

 

I don't think the lack of exact address information is all that big a factor, it's probably a very small percentage of calls.  



#2347 lanforod

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Posted 02 December 2021 - 11:27 AM

I mean, it takes 5 seconds to find Cattle point in a google maps search. That's an example of incompetence, IMO. Look it up, and ask Seb - 'do you mean Cattle Point, in Oak Bay, off of Beach dr.'?


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#2348 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 02 December 2021 - 11:32 AM

I mean, it takes 5 seconds to find Cattle point in a google maps search. That's an example of incompetence, IMO. Look it up, and ask Seb - 'do you mean Cattle Point, in Oak Bay, off of Beach dr.'?

 

Yes, or just even a Google standard search.  



#2349 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 02 December 2021 - 11:35 AM

Yes, and when you call these faraway dispatch centres, they require a numbered address to respond, or precise coordinates. No more “send an ambulance to the playground at the Cook side of Beacon Hill.” The folks in Surrey have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about.

 

^ ^ or in Mike's case, it's the very first result using Mike's exact words:

 

screenshot-www.google.com-2021.12.02-14_31_31.png


Edited by Victoria Watcher, 02 December 2021 - 11:36 AM.


#2350 LJ

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Posted 02 December 2021 - 07:46 PM

Dumb, as anyone with a knowledge of contact centers will tell you, and I've set up and managed a few of them.

 

There is a reason these facilities have call analysis, reporting and forecast teams, and as I'm certain E-Comm's must be telling them internally call volumes, trends and projections are only rising not only in the aftermath of this years extraordinary weather - which I'm fairly confident will become "ordinary" in a relatively short time frame - but also as we have seen with the recent floods, and perhaps more to the point, BC's critical infrastructure has not been remotely maintained and upgraded to the standard required of it as climate change relentlessly bears down on it. Go look at some of the online drone footage to get a true sense of the scale of the destruction of some of the interior highways.

 

Consequently a crucial response center, especially if its the primary such facility for over 5 million citizens, must be staffed and funded accordingly to meet current and future call volumes which are only going to increase over time.

 

Scrambling to come up with ad hoc. on-the-fly solutions including literally having a 911 operator hang up on a frantic caller while routing them to a Hold queue - potentially dozens or hundreds of such calls as a consequence of a localized or even widespread emergency - will not result in good or positive outcomes for anyone....

My ad-hoc solution would be to tell the call taker that you need the fire department, they show up quite quickly and can provide the care you need.


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#2351 lanforod

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Posted 06 December 2021 - 10:19 AM

I'm pretty sure they already send the fire department to medical emerg calls because they get there faster than paramedics most of the time.



#2352 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 06 December 2021 - 12:42 PM

Hard to know what purpose this article serves.

 

 

 

Victoria High School community mourning death of student

Family keeping student’s name, cause of death private at this time

 

https://www.vicnews....ath-of-student/

 

 

Yes, people die.  Sometimes young people.



#2353 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 01:17 PM

A youth is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after being hit in a marked crosswalk Monday (Dec. 6) night.

 

The Saanich Police Department was called at approximately 9:45 p.m. after a pedestrian was struck at a marked crosswalk on Cedar Hill Cross Road at Merriman Drive.

 

The pedestrian was rushed to the Victoria General Hospital in critical condition.

 

 

 

 

https://www.vicnews....ical-condition/


Edited by Victoria Watcher, 07 December 2021 - 01:17 PM.


#2354 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 03:36 PM

Adam Stirling:

On today’s program, the head of the union representing BC’s Ambulance paramedics told us that about 1/3rd of the dispatcher workforce is dealing with psychological trauma right now (off work as well as modified duties).

That’s why the 911 call system is backing up…


https://twitter.com/...6951649285?s=21

Edited by Victoria Watcher, 07 December 2021 - 03:37 PM.


#2355 phx

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Posted 07 December 2021 - 07:50 PM

What’s causing the trauma?

 

Covid?  There aren’t that many people dying of it these days.

 

Saving drug addicts with narcan, knowing it is just prolonging their demise?  Perhaps.



#2356 Kilo95

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Posted 08 December 2021 - 06:30 AM

What’s causing the trauma?

 

Covid?  There aren’t that many people dying of it these days.

 

Saving drug addicts with narcan, knowing it is just prolonging their demise?  Perhaps.

 

Listening to hysterical people crying/dying/yelling on the phone for 12 hours per day? It's an extremely emotionally taxing job


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#2357 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 08 December 2021 - 06:32 AM

Listening to hysterical people crying/dying/yelling on the phone for 12 hours per day? It's an extremely emotionally taxing job

 

But no more so now than it has ever been.

 

I think the issue is that workers are now told to take care of their mental health, and doctors will issue letters for mental health issues more so than ever in the past.  The call-takers have generous leave benefits and they take advantage of it.  In 2020 Local 873/8911 signed a contract with more generous short-term leave clauses and permissions.  3/4 of the workers in this profession are female and a large portion of them are not the main breadwinner in the household.  So they get 75% of full pay in the first 26 weeks of medical leave and between 50% and 75% of full pay when off on various extended medical leaves beyond 26 weeks.

 

Women are also far less likely to accept or want overtime, and that becomes a problem in an organization relying on more overtime right now, and employing 75% females.*

 

The union also became stand-alone (Local 8911) recently and has been calling for a near doubling of staff.  So there is likely some politics too.

 

A recent Price Waterhouse Coopers report commissioned by E-Comm 911 found that the organization is relying on overtime and staff missing breaks to meet service levels. It suggests that 125 full-time call takers be hired on top of those 153 staffers currently working. 

 

 

https://www.ecpbc.ca/secondscount/

 

* US study:

 

Women value time away from work and flexibility more than men, taking more unpaid time off using the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and working fewer overtime hours than men. When overtime hours are scheduled three months in advance, men and women work a similar number of hours; but when those hours are offered at the last minute, men work nearly twice as many. When selecting work schedules, women try to avoid weekend, holiday, and split shifts more than men. 

 

https://scholar.harv...e_gendergap.pdf


Edited by Victoria Watcher, 08 December 2021 - 06:59 AM.


#2358 Mike K.

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Posted 08 December 2021 - 08:24 AM

I have an acquaintance who works in the dispatch industry. He says they have pretty big problems retaining people who A) must be good enough to handle the complexity of the job and B) can handle the severe mental health challenges that come with it. He recently told me new hires last a couple of months and then split.


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#2359 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 08 December 2021 - 08:51 AM

It’s kind of an awful job if you think about it.

I might rather help people with iPhone service than 911 if I’m working a call centre job.

Edited by Victoria Watcher, 08 December 2021 - 08:52 AM.


#2360 Matt R.

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Posted 09 December 2021 - 03:32 PM

I don’t think the pay is all that great either. The one person I know who was a dispatcher for a few years quit during the pandemic to become a cook. A cook!

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