City of Winnipeg recognizes 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

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Winnipeg, MB – The City of Winnipeg is celebrating the important work of our Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) and Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, April 10-16, 2022. National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week recognizes all emergency telecommunications personnel for the imperative role they play in keeping residents and first responders safe.

“I’m pleased to help recognize National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week because they are always there to help us in our time of need and serve as a critical part of our emergency services team,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “Our telecommunicators ensure the proper help is sent and provide our first responders with the information they need to do their jobs in a safe and timely manner. On behalf of all Winnipeggers, I want to thank our 9-1-1 staff for their dedication and commitment to our city.”

“Winnipeg’s 9-1-1 Centre provides a valuable lifeline when people need us most,” said Winnipeg Police Service Chief Danny Smyth. “While a Telecommunicators Week is important to recognize the valuable work of our Communication Centre staff, it also must be said that they should be recognized for the valuable contribution they make each and every day.”

"Our telecommunicators never know what their next call may bring. They may be coaching someone to deliver a baby or CPR, or they may be giving a resident lifesaving instruction to evacuate a structure in the case of a fire or gas leak,” said Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Chief, Christian Schmidt. “We refer to them as the FIRST of our first responders. We are so grateful for the work they do, serving as the trusted lifeline between our residents and the help they need during their most trying times."

In times of intense personal crises, emergencies within the community and global pandemics, WPS and WFPS 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers are the public’s first point of contact for reaching all levels of emergency assistance, including police, fire and ambulance. The City employs approximately 165 WPS and WFPS 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers. In 2021, the City’s emergency telecommunications team answered over 900,000 calls from citizens.

In Winnipeg, all incoming 9-1-1 calls are received by a WPS 9-1-1 call taker who will request the location and the nature of the emergency. The call taker will then triage the call to either the WPS or WFPS communications centre depending on the information received from the caller.

How you can help when contacting 9-1-1

The WPS and WFPS telecommunicators remind the public of a few tips when making 9-1-1 emergency calls:

  • Know the location of the emergency. This is the most important piece of information needed when someone calls 9-1-1. Locations come in many forms including a proper street address, an intersection, a landmark, or a commonplace name (such as a store, school, or arena).
  • Remain calm and answer all questions asked by the 9-1-1 call taker, including your phone number. This allows the 9-1-1 call taker to call you back should the call become disconnected.
  • On very rare occasions, you may get a recorded message when dialing the 9-1-1. Do not hang up. Your call will be answered as soon as a 9-1-1 call taker is available.
  • Always remain on the line until the 9-1-1 operator tells you to disconnect. This will ensure the proper resources are sent and will allow them to provide you with pre-arrival instructions.
  • If you accidentally dial 9-1-1, do not hang up. If you hang up, a ring-back will occur and this ties up emergency services. Stay on the line to advise the 9-1-1 call taker that you have dialed by accident, and answer any questions they may have.
  • Do not allow children to have access to deactivated cell phones because although deactivated, these phones can still dial 9-1-1 and be used to generate false or prank calls.

It is very important citizens only call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

Examples of when to call 9-1-1 include:

  • For a life-threatening emergency (e.g. someone cannot breathe, has severe bleeding, chest pain, a change of consciousness, or someone was seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision).
  • You see a fire, even if the fire is on a stove or outside.
  • A smoke detector, carbon-monoxide detector, or fire alarm is sounding, or you smell smoke or gas.
  • You see a crime in progress, or were just a victim of a crime such as a robbery, assault, domestic-violence situation, or break-in to a residence or business.
  • You are concerned for someone’s safety or wellbeing.
  • When in doubt whether emergency assistance is needed, make the call to 9-1-1 and a Call Taker will assess the situation.

Should you require non-urgent police, fire or paramedic assistance, the following phone numbers may be helpful alternatives to calling 9-1-1:

  • For police-related non-emergency calls: 204-986-6222 (Winnipeg Police Service).
  • For fire or paramedic-related non-emergency calls: 204-986-6336 (Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service).

Who to call for COVID-19 Information

You should contact Health Links-Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free) if you have general questions about COVID-19 or mild symptoms. Only call 9-1-1 in an emergency situation.

For additional information visit Winnipeg Police Service – Reporting Emergencies.

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