The City of Grande Prairie is looking to get involved in a grant program that would help them improve their 9-1-1 services.
Deputy Fire Chief Janine Blackburn explains the provincial government has added a monthly fee to Alberta cellphone bills as of April 1st.
“It’s the same as what is applied to land lines – 44 cents – and a portion of that will come back directly to the 9-1-1 centres as funding.”
9-1-1 calls from cell phones increased by 15 per cent in Grande Prairie between 2011 and 2013 and now account for 70 per cent of calls.
It’s estimated the Grande Prairie region would receive $585,000 in quarterly payments.
Blackburn says the city is actually well off when it comes to its services, but is looking forward to making some upgrades.
“There is some emerging technology and requirements, such as text with 9-1-1… and so over the next two years we need to prepare for that, and that’s going to require some IT and computer upgrades.”
Grande Prairie and Edmonton brought forward the issue of rising 9-1-1 calls from cell phones and the fact no fees are collected to the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association in 2007.