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Ontario injects nearly $3M to upgrade 911 technology in Barrie and South Simcoe


The province is investing nearly $3 million to help Barrie Fire, Barrie Police Services and South Simcoe Police Services transition to 'Next Generation' 911 technology.

"It'll allow our 911 services to be cutting edge, state of the art," said Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte MPP Doug Downey during Friday's formal funding announcement. "We want to roll this out across our frontline services, all our emergency services, so they can work in tandem."

Barrie Innisfil MPP Andrea Khanjin also echoed the province's goal of making it easier for first responders to keep their communities safe. "Everyone has a smartphone, and now they know that they can get help with text messaging and video ...Which gives the dispatchers more information," she said.

Specifically, Barrie Fire received nearly $1.4 million, Barrie police received $1 million, and South Simcoe police received over half a million from the Ontario government to replace the aging 911 dispatching system.

"The historic system that is being replaced is was purely was based on the landlines of the past," said Barrie Police Chief Rich Johnston.

The 'Next Generation' 911 technology will enable voice messages, texts, and video to easily flow from the public to the three 911 communications centres.

"Barrie fire dispatches for 21 municipalities, just under a million people," said Barrie Fire Deputy Chief Carrie Clark. "This allows us to provide those residents we dispatch for to have the highest quality, most technologically advanced 911 system."

Emergency operators will also gain the ability to precisely identify the location of a call using GPS coordinates.

"The system will be able to handle a lot more volume with a lot better accuracy," said South Simcoe police Insp. Henry Geoffroy. "[Victims] can assist us in locating them and getting the help they need sooner than later."

Of the 242 primary dispatch sites across Canada, three of them have already switched over to the 'Next Generation' 911 technology. The remaining sites must be converted by March 2025. Top Stories

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