The Communications Branch of the Prince George Fire Rescue Service operates the Fire Operations Communications Centre (FOCC), a centralized call answer and dispatch centre for 74 fire/rescue agencies throughout central British Columbia. This service is provided as a contracted service for the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George (RDFFG), the local government authority responsible for delivery of a centralized Enhanced 9-1-1 call answer and fire dispatch services. The FOCC is located at Fire Hall #1 in Prince George and is an integrated function of the Prince George Fire Rescue Service.
9-1-1 calls are answered at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) North District Operational Communications Centre (OCC) in Prince George. The 9-1-1 call taker determines the nature of the emergency and transfers the caller as necessary. Calls for police are handled by the OCC, calls for ambulance are transferred to the British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS) Interior/Northern Dispatch/Communications Centre in Kamloops, and calls for fire/rescue are transferred to the FOCC.
The FOCC is staffed by eight (8) regular scheduled plus three (3) relief dispatchers. Dispatchers are all professional, career staff that either have years of fire dispatch experience, years of police dispatch experience, or have completed post-secondary education in public safety communications. Dispatchers are uniformed members of PGFRS and members of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials. The FOCC is managed by the Chief Communications Officer.
The FOCC service area includes the Fraser-Fort George, Cariboo, and Kitimat Stikine Regional Districts with expansion to the Bulkley-Nechako Regional District to occur in the fall of 2011. The current service area covers over 212,000 km2, a population of approximately 190,000 (2006 census), and 74 fire/rescue agencies. The Bulkley-Nechako Regional District service expansion will add an additional 71,800 km2, 38,200 population, and 11 departments. One of the largest geographical centres in North America, the FOCC processes approximately 10,000 calls for service annually (2010 statistics).
Click here for a map of the FOCC service area.
The FOCC provides comprehensive “end-to-end” fire dispatch service and agency support throughout emergency incidents. Using FDM’s Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system and Panel International’s Windows Intertalk Console (WIC), the FOCC has state of the art technology to assist them in timely and efficient emergency incident location and agency dispatching. 911 calls received in the FOCC contain the caller’s location information and telephone number which automatically populates a CAD map, pinpointing the caller’s location.
Once an agency has been dispatched, FOCC dispatcher remains connected with the agency throughout the incident via a dedicated radio link providing a full range of support services including agency resourcing, incident benchmarking, and documentation.