For Immediate Release:
November 13, 2013
Enhanced 911 Should Be Higher Priority: Mitchelmore
Independent Member Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) says Government is failing Newfoundlanders and Labradorians as it drags its heels only to provide an outdated Basic 911 service to the entire province, when the focus should be implementing Enhanced 911 service.
According to the 2005 Auditor General’s report, Cabinet approved, in principle, the establishment of a Province-wide 911 emergency response service in 1995.
“Nearly 20 years later, this vital emergency service has failed to materialize for many parts of the province” states Mitchelmore. “The current plan is to have Basic 911 implemented province-wide by December 2014 does not go far enough when all other Atlantic Provinces are in receipt of Enhanced 911 services, which provides information such as number and location of emergency.”
At the Municipalities Newfoundland & Labrador Annual General Meeting, Mitchelmore questioned the need for mapping civic addresses and the challenges it would present for many Local Service Districts or unincorporated communities. The response from Minister Kent noted they were not required for Basic 911 service.
Therefore, with Basic 911, a caller will still be required to provide directions as to the location of the emergency and the person at the answering point is required to have knowledge of the area in order to relay correctly the directions to the applicable emergency service provider.
“The lack of movement to appropriately map civic addresses in rural Newfoundland and Labrador and the addition of another layer of communication will increase the risk that an emergency response may be unnecessarily delayed or sent to an incorrect location” says Mitchelmore. “Until street addresses are mapped, people in emergency situations will still have to describe colours of homes, names of people or other generalities.”
Government must move forward to work with communities to map civic addresses and develop a clear plan to roll-out Enhanced 911 services in Newfoundland & Labrador.
-30Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North Tel: (709) 454-2633 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org