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Emergency 9-1-1 lines disrupted in northern B.C. now restored

Weekend 9-1-1 service disruption comes amidst communication line damages in N.W.T. due to wildfires
A phone displaying the dialed emergency number 9-1-1. Service disruptions in northern British Columbia over the weekend briefly affected accessibility to this crucial lifeline. (Black Press Media file photo)

RCMP has announced that emergency 9-1-1 lines across northern British Columbia were disrupted over the weekend, prompting concerns and swift action.

On the morning of Aug. 12, just before 11:20 a.m., North District RCMP released a statement warning residents that the North District Operations Communications Centre (ND OCC) was “experiencing intermittent issues with all 9-1-1 lines coming to ND OCC.” A few hours later, at 2:30 p.m., the lines were reported to have been “restored and are working properly.”

Residents were urged to call their local RCMP detachment, as non-emergency lines remained operational. “All calls will be answered,” assured North District RCMP Cpl. Madonna Saunderson. “We are working on resolving the issue.”

READ MORE: Kids drawing with chalk among B.C.’s most ridiculous 911 calls of 2022

In a statement to The Terrace Standard, Saunderson indicated that few details were available as Shared Services Canada, a federal government agency separate of the RCMP, manages the lines. “The 9-1-1 system is currently stable,” she noted.

The disruption’s impact was significant, affecting B.C. RCMP detachments from 100 Mile House north to the Yukon border and all detachments from the west to the Alberta border.

The event comes as a significant communication breakdown across parts of the Northwest Territories last weekend coincided with evacuation efforts due to wildfires that have since forced thousands to leave the territory. Damage to fibre and electrical lines in the area was reported.

When asked about a possible connection between the two incidents, Saunderson stated that RCMP is still awaiting more information. “While we are still waiting on the final review, we are not aware of the wildfires [in the Northwest Territories] impacting what happened to cause issues with lines,” Saunderson said.

With files from The Canadian Press

Viktor Elias joined the Terrace Standard in April 2023.

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