Port Coquitlam Rolls Out New 9-1-1 Protocol for City Facilities

The City of Port Coquitlam announced a new 9-1-1 protocol today for city facilities following a week of discussions with BC Emergency Health Services.

Rolled out on Apr. 15, the new protocol provides a two-stage process for city staff to contact emergency services if a medical emergency occurs at a city facility. Staff’s first call to 9-1-1 will be for a “medical emergency,” which will connect them to a trained medical call-taker and dispatch an ambulance. A second call to 9-1-1 will then ask for “fire,” which will dispatch Port Coquitlam Fire & Emergency Services first responders in either a fire truck or medical response vehicle.  

The new two-stage 9-1-1 protocol is for City of Port Coquitlam facilities only so that staff get the additional support they need to respond to medical emergencies. The public should continue to contact 9-1-1 for medical, fire and police emergencies in the same manner as in the past.

“This win-win solution was the result of the productive discussions we had this past week with BC Emergency Health Services,” and Fire Chief Nick Delmonico. “Our primary concern has always been to ensure that our staff are supported and that our residents are provided with a prompt medical response and the highest quality of care. We’re committed to working collaboratively to achieve that.”  

City and fire services representatives worked closely with BC Emergency Health Services in the past week to clarify the 9-1-1 protocol at city facilities, following an internal memo to staff about a new procedure. Staff had been instructed to ask for “fire” when calling 9-1-1, because this would ensure local fire first responders were aware of and dispatched to the medical emergency while also ensuring the call was transferred to BC Ambulance’s dispatch.

The updated procedure will achieve the result of both ambulance and fire first responders being dispatched while addressing the concerns of both parties.

“In B.C., we have a well-established process for 9-1-1 medical emergency calls to get patients the care they need as quickly as possible,” said Barb Fitzsimmons, BCEHS’ Chief Operating Officer. “Requesting an ambulance connects callers to experienced medical call-takers who can coach them through life-saving techniques while help is on its way. That is why it is critically important that the message is clear on what to do if you call 9-1-1 with a medical emergency. We support the decision by Port Coquitlam to clarify this message to its staff.”

Building on this positive step, Delmonico said the city will continue to work with BCEHS to address the concerns raised by the City of Port Coquitlam, including which calls fire resources are being dispatched to and overall response times. 

“We’re now at the table and working together and I’m hopeful we’ll continue this positive new working relationship,” Delmonico said.  

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Nick Delmonico
Fire Chief, Fire and Emergency Services
City of Port Coquitlam
Tel.: 604-927-5472
Email: delmonicon@portcoquitlam.ca