Okanagan Indian Band to access 911 for fire emergencies

Band has reached agreement with City of Vernon officials for the service

Chief Byron Louis is pleased the Okanagan Indian Band will receive fire dispatch service from the City of Vernon.

Chief Byron Louis is pleased the Okanagan Indian Band will receive fire dispatch service from the City of Vernon.

A new arrangement should improve safety for residents of the Okanagan Indian Reserve.

The City of Vernon will begin providing fire dispatch services to the Okanagan Indian Band. Once technical upgrades are completed in the fall, this will mean  anyone on reserve land will be able to report fires through 911.

“We at the Okanagan Indian Band are very pleased with this new agreement with the City of Vernon and Vernon Fire Rescue Services and the enhanced safety and protection that will come from it for our band members and community residents,” said Byron Louis, band chief.

The fire department’s  dispatch centre uses computer assisted dispatching software, radio communications and voice recording software.

When the 911 calls are transferred, dispatchers process and initiate the response and provide ongoing dispatch support for the duration of the emergency.

“Our fire dispatch centre was designed to provide modern service within the city and to clients in the area. This agreement reflects the city’s interest to support common regional communications during emergencies,” said Mary-Jo O’Keefe, a Vernon councillor.

A signing ceremony will be held between the band and the city Sept. 3.