Port Edward must be perhaps the most peaceful burg in the Northwest, the 911 emergency service to the community went out of order during the changeover to 10 digit dialing, and no one seemed to notice.
Port Ed officials can only find two instances where residents required the use of dialing 911 and ended up re calling the operator when the service didn't work.
The service was off line for one month before the situation was finally brought to the attention of civic officials who quickly rectified the problem and returned the district to the 911 grid. Fortunately there were no reported emergency situations that couldn't be handled by contacting a Telus operator for assistance.
Somewhere we see a new advertising campaign for the District, something along the lines of "a place so peaceful you may never need 911"
The outline of the troubles with the system were presented in Tuesday's Daily News.
Little fallout from loss of 911
Port Ed hardly notices emergency service loss
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Pages one and three
Port Edward was without 911 services for the past month and no one seemed to notice.
According to the district's Chief Administrative Officer, Ron Bedard, no one noticed that the service was offline until last week and, once noticed, it was only down for a brief amount of time. But the issue carried valuable lessons.
"Apparently, there was two emergency problems and they finally did get through to the ambulance but those people had to dial '0' first."
When people phoned zero the operator would transfer them to the ambulance service in Kamloops which would then relay the message to the Port Edward Fire Department.
According to Telus media relations contact Shawn Hall, the 911 service had been down since Sept. 10 because of the fact that the conversion to 10-digit dialing was never done for that number.
"It kept ringing as seven digits and wouldn't go through," said Hall. "We engaged as a telecommunications industry to prepare for 10-digit dialing, converting customers over to it but the Port Edward system is a bit unique in that it is the only one in Canada where a 911 number gets transferred to a local number and that is because of the technological challenges," said Hall.
Hall said the service is not actually run by Telus but he said it forwards calls to Citywest.
He said no one had foreseen 911 becoming a problem following the switch to 10-digit dialling.
Bedard said he started chasing down the situation Thursday and said that one person had phoned Telus to see what was going on.
At the time of his calling, Telus was not able to tell Bedard how long the services had been down.
Bedard added that his first inclination was that it could have been a cell phone glitch because the person trying to place the call was phoning from a Rogers cell phone, but they subsequently discovered that was not the case at all.
"I think what happened was when the phones were transferred to the 10-digit phone numbers something got screwed up in there," said Bedard.
According to Bedard, there were no life-threatening situations for anyone during the 911 down-time but there was at least one broken leg that needed attention in that time.
Bedard said he would like to come up with a plan with Port Edward Fire Chief Charles Irvine to have the fire department check the system once a week so that they can ensure there are no further emergency concerns for the people of Port Edward.
"They go for their practices and meeting every Monday night and I am going to talk to them about making that phone test a regular thing now," said Bedard.
"Luckily, everything worked out and through a few phone calls we were able to get things up and running (Thursday)," said Bedard.