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Committee receives update on public safety and 9-1-1 services

May 18, 2023  By City of Ottawa

May 18, 2023, Ottawa, Ont. – The City’s Emergency Preparedness and Protective Services Committee has received an overview of the Public Safety Service’s activities in 2021 and 2022, including its most recent performance metrics and emergency response operations. While coordinating the City’s response to a wide variety of situations, the service met all its key deliverables.

The Office of Emergency Management led the City’s response to several major situations in the last two years, including the May 2022 derecho windstorm. In the last few years, the City was in two declared municipal States of Emergency:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic, for 485 days between March 25, 2020 and July 22, 2021, during which the City supported Ottawa Public Health’s ongoing response, including vaccination campaigns.
  • The convoy occupation, for 18 days between February 6 and 24, 2022, during which the Ottawa Police Service led overall planning and response while the City supported that response and mitigated impacts to residents, businesses and essential services, where possible.

In addition to mobilizing its Emergency Operations Centre for a variety of situations, including extreme weather, demonstrations and significant planned events, the City also promoted emergency preparedness through the Are You Ready? Program. That program provides residents and businesses with information about how to prepare for an emergency. The City also developed a Community Emergency Toolkit to help community associations, faith-based groups and other organizations develop their own emergency plans.

The City’s Corporate Security program assisted with the ongoing COVID-19 response and maintained core services. In 2022, the City began providing additional personal security measures to members of Council in recognition that there have been increases in vandalism, harassment and abuse directed at elected officials at all levels of government in recent years. The Corporate Radio System program continues to ensure the City has a reliable, public-safety-grade radio service available for first responders and other users.

The Committee also received an overview of Ottawa’s 9-1-1 telephone service for 2021 and 2022, including key performance metrics and call volume statistics. The City is responsible for managing the 9-1-1 telephone service contract with Bell and the contract for initial call triage with the Ottawa Police Services Board, as represented by the Ottawa Police Service.

Calls to 9-1-1 have increased steadily since 2020, with the Ottawa Police Service now handling approximately 350,000 calls a year. Average daily calls increased from 779 per day in 2020 up to 871 per day in 2021 and 955 per day in 2022.

The City is working with the Ottawa Police Services Board and key stakeholders to ensure Ottawa’s 9-1-1 service continues to meet residents’ needs, including ongoing work to implement Next Generation 9-1-1 – a new digital system that will eventually allow residents to send real-time text messages, photos and videos to 9-1-1 operators.

Residents can help dispatchers do their jobs by calling 9-1-1 only in emergencies. Visit the Ottawa Police website for other non-emergency police phone numbers or to report a theft. Please call 3-1-1 for City services.

These reports will rise to Council on Wednesday, May 24.

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