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Emergency 9-1-1 Service

Alarm Room Division

The Richmond Hill Fire Department Communications Division provides 24-hour emergency service to the residents of Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Aurora, Georgina and East Gwillimbury. In 2004, our dispatchers received, paged and processed over 11,500 calls, establishing our centre as the busiest in the Region. Ten dispatchers and one Alarm Room Supervisor provide a minimum staffing level of two at all times to ensure calls can be processed in an efficient and expeditious manner.

The alarm room has recently been renovated and upgraded to compete with the progressive technological advances in our field. Upgrades include a new 800 MHz radio system, enabling us to work as a cohesive service with all of the Fire Departments in York Region as well as York Regional Police. This system assists in ensuring that a high level of communication is maintained between allied agencies, promoting an elevated degree of public service.

The Richmond Hill Fire Department has the only mobile communications post in the Region, which is housed in a 1999 Bounder R.V., allowing us to relocate our Dispatch in the event of an emergency in a matter of minutes.

E911 F.A.Q.

What is 9-1-1?
9-1-1 (nine-one-one) is the emergency telephone number which will connect you immediately to Police, Fire or Ambulance.

When should I call 9-1-1-?
Dial 9-1-1 only in emergencies where people might be seriously hurt, like fires, crimes, injuries, or sickness. If you don't know whether or not to call 9-1-1, calling is the right thing to do!

How do I call for help if I have a hearing or speech difficulty?
Call taker's workstations include TTY equipment. The Richmond Hill Fire Department number for emergency and non-emergency use is (905) 883-3664. You may also call 9-1-1.

What number should I call for non-emergencies?
Dial (905) 883-5450 for all non-emergency calls. Although all calls are routed to the same telecommunications center, 9-1-1 calls are handled on a higher priority. Dialing (905) 883-5450 for non-emergencies keeps the 9-1-1 lines free to handle emergencies.

What happens when the electricity goes out?
The Richmond Hill Fire Department's Alarm Room has several back-up sources of power. If the electricity goes out, all equipment is immediately switched to a battery-powered UPS. The UPS is capable of handling the load for several hours, but will typically carry the load just long enough for it to be transferred to a generator, powered primarily by natural gas. The switch to an alternate power source is seamless, with call takers and dispatchers often the last to know that the power is out!

What is Enhanced 9-1-1 (also referred to as E911)?
Enhanced 9-1-1 automatically report both the number and location of the caller. This information is referred to as ANI/ALI (Automatic Number Identification/Automatic Location Identification). ANI/ALI information is received in the York Regional Police Centre within 1.5 seconds from the time the call to 9-1-1 was initiated.

How do I benefit from E911?
The benefits are obvious when you consider the number of callers that are unable to provide a location. These callers include young children; people who are suffering a stroke, heart attack, or other medical emergency; people who are involved in a physical disturbance where the phone may be jerked from the wall; etc. You can easily see how E911 saves lives.

If the dispatchers know where the 9-1-1 calls are coming from, why do they still ask for a location?

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