St. John’s Regional Fire Department 911 dispatcher Blair Tucker acknowledges a call from trucks responding to an alarm bell call in this file photo. Establishing consistent civic addresses in communities around the province will be an important prerequisite to the provincewide 911 system, due to begin in 2014. — Telegram file photo
The government’s intention to introduce a provincewide 911 service has at least one municipality working to make sure every residence can be found by emergency service personnel, even if that residence isn’t built yet.
The town of Holyrood is growing, and it’s the houses not yet constructed which must be accounted for, said Mayor Gary Goobie.
“Holyrood is a growth centre, and our town is populating fairly quickly,” he said.
What is now a wooded area between two houses could be developed, and that creates some challenges when creating a civic numbering system that flows sequentially.
“That’s the challenge that the town of Holyrood is facing now,” he said.
While the town already has a civic numbering system, it has outgrown it. The roads are named, but not all homes have proper numbers.
It’s something that will be sorted out by the time the province rolls out the new 911 system in 2014, said Goobie, noting Holyrood is not the only town with this problem.
“It’s going to be challenging for many growing municipalities. The numbering system, that’s the biggest of all for now,” he said.
Some residential street numbers may change, said Goobie, as they work to make sure each street has only one of each number.
“We’ve got some areas of the town where we need to adjust the civic numbers. ...
“We’re going to be looking at that as well,” he said.
“Hopefully, when the time comes we’ll have all that leg work done.”
The cost of this work will be absorbed into the operational budget of the town, said Goobie.
In Gambo, 911 service is not yet available. Like Holyrood, not all houses have civic addresses displayed.
It’s something town office staff will work to change, said town manager Lorne Greene in an email response to The Telegram.
“In future correspondence to our residents through community newsletters, we will encourage all residents to affix their civic address on their homes in readiness for the 911 service,” he said.
When every house on every street in the province has a number, the task of finding a residence will be much easier for RCMP officers, said media relations officer Sgt. Marc Coulombe.
“If everyone has an address on their house, for new members into a community, it will make it easier for them,” he said.
That will make for potentially faster response times, said Coulombe.
The provincial government will help municipalities get ready for the new 911 service, said Municipal Affairs Minister Kevin O’Brien, who recognizes towns will have some work to do before the new system is implemented.
“Yes, there are going to be some things that will have to happen in the communities,” he said.
In the coming months, the government will contact municipalities to make sure each town knows what is required.
“As we go through the process we’ll be engaging with Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, municipalities in general and then all the other stakeholders (who) have to be in the equation such as fire halls and ambulance services,” said O’Brien.