NWT 911 Implementation Project


Why did MACA validate previous 9-1-1 planning assumptions?

The purpose of validating previous planning was to ensure the proposed 9-1-1 operating model is most appropriate for residents of the Northwest Territories (NWT). 
In 2015, GNWT consultants briefly examined the possibility of combining the NWT 9-1-1 program with the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority’s air ambulance and community clinical support program (Med-Response). Ultimately, the option was not pursued since Med-Response had only recently been launched. The consultants suggested a partnership with the City of Yellowknife as the best option given the environment at the time. Since then however, an in-house Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), co-located with Med-Response has become much more viable.  

Will the City of Yellowknife be contracted to provide 9-1-1 for the NWT?

NWT 9-1-1 will be an in-house Government of the Northwest Territories, Municipal and Community Affairs program co-located with the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Med-Response Program.  
NWT 9-1-1 will be implemented in all NWT communities. In Yellowknife, 9-1-1 will be transferring incoming calls for emergency services within the boundaries of the City of Yellowknife related to fire, ambulance, and rescue to the City’s Communication Centre for dispatch. 


Why the change in direction from the City providing 9-1-1?

An in-house, co-located model has significantly lower start-up costs within the timeline of go live in the summer 2019.  The in-house model also has further potential in service growth without adding cost to residents. 

How much will the new co-location model cost NWT residents?

As in other jurisdictions, NWT 9-1-1 will be paid for through monthly user fees to landline, cell phone, and IP phone subscribers. The user fees are still being determined, but the expected range is $1.35 to $1.77 per month.

What will my community have to do to prepare for 9-1-1?

In other jurisdictions, communities have considered a formal street numbering system to help guide first responders to a caller’s location. Plans have also been established to identify primary 9-1-1 contacts for local service providers (or the nearest service provider) and to ensure standard operating procedures are in place.

The GNWT is working now to help communities achieve these goals, regardless of whether 9-1-1 goes ahead.  

Would implementation require all communities to participate?

As with other provincial 9-1-1 systems, communities would be able to choose the emergency services they offer and how they offer them. However, the 9-1-1 call centre would be available from the onset to everyone.

What are the benefits of a 9-1-1 program?

NWT 9-1-1 will connect citizens to pre-existing services available in their communities such as police, fire, ambulance services, or other emergency services as appropriate.  NWT 9-1-1 will also connect citizens to pre-existing phone-based services such as Kids Help Phone, NWT Help Line, Wildfire Reporting and Spill Report Line.  

New to the NWT 9-1-1 program, 9-1-1 staff will be able to provide over-the-phone pre-arrival emergency life-saving health care instructions such as talking callers though performing CPR or other basic first aid, because 9-1-1 staff will be hired with similar skills and training as Med-Response staff. They will be more than simply call-takers. Staff with this level of training would not be available through contracted services from the City of Yellowknife. 

Will the co-location approach cause a delay in the NWT having 9-1-1?

No. At this time NWT 9-1-1 is scheduled to go live in the summer of 2019.

Will NWT 9-1-1 be available in all official languages?

NWT 9-1-1 will have access to third-party interpretation services for citizens that cannot communicate in English or French. Third-party interpretation shall include the NWT official languages where interpreters are available.  Should specific NWT official languages not be available due to lack of interpreters, NWT 9-1-1 will work with regions/communities on dialect recognition and appropriate call-transfer as per the communities’ emergency call tree.  

What should I expect when I call NWT 9-1-1?

General NWT 9-1-1 calls should last approximately 45 seconds, but some calls may be longer if emergency health care instruction is needed. All calls will follow the standard below:
NWT 9-1-1: “9-1-1, Where is your emergency?” (Then in French);
Caller: “123, Kam Lake Road, Yellowknife”
NWT 9-1-1: “”What is your emergency?”
Caller (Fire call): “The shed is on fire”
NWT 9-1-1: “”Hold please while I connect you to Yellowknife Fire”
At this point NWT 9-1-1 will connect/transfer the caller to the City’s Communication Centre.  The City’s Communication Centre will continue to ask questions of the caller. NWT 9-1-1 may disconnect from the call at that point.