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Calgary 9-1-1

"When most people think of
9-1-1, they think of the police, fire, EMS unit that responds. What they don’t realize is that, before those other emergency services get there, it’s you – the Emergency Communications Officer – who calms, reassures, gets information, gives instructions and dispatches those emergency services. You can and do make the difference between life and death."
Mayor Naheed Nenshi

Before the police, firefighters, or paramedics arrive, Calgary 9-1-1 emergency communications officers (ECOs) are there. As the 'first' of the first responders they serve as the critical link between citizens and the emergency help they require. They evaluate 9-1-1 and non-emergency calls and dispatch required resources for the Calgary Police Service, Calgary Fire Department and Alberta Health Services.

Serving a region of more than 100,000 square kilometres and answering more than one million emergency and non-emergency calls last year, Calgary 9-1-1 is one of the largest Public Safety Answering Points in Canada. For the past several years, we have experienced an increase in the number of 9-1-1 calls consistent with population growth within the area we serve.

Our Vision: To be the model of excellence in public safety communications in Canada.

Our Mission: To meet or exceed Canadian industry standards.

Our Mandate: Improving safety by co-ordinating emergency response and providing updates more quickly to emergency personnel on calls.

Core services - Provide constant and continuous:

  • emergency telephone call evaluation and dispatch;
  • non-emergency call evaluation and processing for our client agencies and citizens; and
  • communications support for front-line crews.

Facts about Calgary 9-1-1

  • Calgary 9-1-1 connects citizens with emergency services and has been a key resource for Calgarians since 2006.
  • We receive over one million emergency and non-emergency calls a year.
  • Our emergency Communications Officers answer and evaluate 9-1-1 emergency calls and non-emergency calls for the Calgary Police Service, Calgary Fire Department and Alberta Health Services for emergency medical services in Calgary and areas outside city limits.
  • We are the largest Public Safety Answer Point in Alberta, and one of the largest in Canada in terms of call volumes and number of people served. 
  • We answer 9-1-1 calls from inside and outside Calgary and sometimes transfer them to other agencies (such as the RCMP).
  • Our operations workforce is divided into four teams. Emergency Communications Officers (ECOs) work 12-hour shifts in a "2 days-2 nights on - 4 days off" pattern. This means ECOs work many weekends and holidays and there are almost as many ECOs in the centre at 2 a.m. as there are at 8 a.m.
  • New Emergency Communication Officers receive 360 hours of initial training. Additional training sessions are held for operations staff on a regular basis throughout the year.
  • We serve more than just Calgary – we cover a region of more than 100,000 square kilometres.
  • The average speed of answer for all 911 calls was six seconds in 2013.
  • Every year we survey citizens who have used our service. In 2013, 97 per cent of citizens contacted said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the service they received when calling the 9-1-1 emergency line.
  • In Calgary, accidental calls to 9-1-1 happen, on average, more than 300 times each day from cell phones kept in pockets, purses and backpacks. We remind everyone to free up our emergency lines by putting your cell phone on “standby” or stored in a holster.