Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to provide an update to the House on the launch of the territorial-wide 9-1-1 system on November 4th of this year. This new NWT 9-1-1 service will enhance our ability to connect residents and visitors with emergency services such as police, fire, and ambulance.
NWT residents and visitors are now able to use the universally recognized number, 9-1-1, to access the existing emergency services in all 33 communities of the Northwest Territories. NWT 9-1-1 is fully bilingual in French and English, and callers can be connected with interpretation services for NWT Indigenous and other languages. For callers who have hearing or speech communication impairments, technologies are available to ensure the service is accessible.
Mr. Speaker, the NWT 9-1-1 program services includes over-the-phone pre-arrival emergency medical instructions such as basic first aid. I can confirm NWT 9-1-1 has already provided lifesaving medical care over the phone on a number of calls including:
- Instructions on what to do for a heart attack,
- How to do CPR,
- How to stop the bleeding from a serious wound, and
- Telling callers how to administer Narcan for drug overdoses.
Mr. Speaker, since the previous government committed to implement 9-1-1, a great deal of work and collaboration has gone into making NWT 9-1-1 a reality. In 2019 alone, there have been several important milestones including:
- The establishment of new legislation and regulations,
- The creation of an emergency communications centre,
- Meeting with all community governments on emergency response plans,
- The recruitment and training of 9-1-1 staff, and
- The launch of a public awareness campaign to inform residents and visitors that 9-1-1 is now available in the NWT.
I want to thank all those involved in putting the program in place, especially community governments for their commitment to improving public safety and security across the NWT. Now that we have launched 9-1-1, the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs will continue to monitor this initiative. The NWT 9-1-1 program includes ongoing quality control procedures, system improvement, and program evaluation to ensure the program continues to meet national standards and accreditation.
Mr. Speaker, it is important to note that NWT 9-1-1 is part of an integrated system that includes community dispatch services, first responder organizations in communities and volunteers across the territory. I wish to commend all officials and first responders for their work in keeping our residents and visitors safe.
Mr. Speaker, I am looking forward to speaking to the Standing Committee on Accountability and Oversight to provide a full briefing and update on the implementation of the NWT 9-1-1 program. I will be inviting all Members of the House to the NWT 9-1-1 call centre for a tour of the facility.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.