Fixes to Emergency Dispatching in Waterloo Region Long OverdueMay 30, 2012
QUEEN’S PARK — Today, Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris called on the McGuinty Liberals to immediately take action to fix the long-standing issues with Waterloo Region’s broken emergency dispatch system.
Response times have been an issue in Waterloo Region for quite some time, most recently when there was a fatal helicopter crash near the Waterloo Region International Airport. Even though 911 dispatchers knew the location of the crash three minutes after it happened, it took them 12 minutes to relay that information to emergency crews.
“When police officers, fire fighters and paramedics are not alerted promptly, people’s lives are put at risk,” Harris said. “This should have been a wake-up for the McGuinty Liberals, yet they’ve done nothing to address the problems with emergency dispatch services in Waterloo Region.”
Since 2007, Waterloo Regional Council has received seven studies calling for emergency dispatching to be streamlined. In a more recent study, former regional police chief Larry Gravill called for dispatching services to be handled under one roof to improve information-sharing.
“The Liberal government has known about the problems with the Region’s emergency dispatch service for more than five years now,” Harris said. “We’ve developed numerous local solutions to fix this problem, but for whatever reason the McGuinty Liberals have sat on their hands and allowed the situation in Kitchener-Waterloo to deteriorate.”