The Owen Sound Emergency Communications Centre (OSECC), as part of the Owen Sound Police Service (OSPS), has been providing professional radio communications to emergency services for over 30 years across Ontario. The OSECC currently serves a population of over 370,000 across 28 municipalities, 2 First Nations Communities, and 48 different locations. Depending on each agency’s requirements, OSECC provides 911 services, call taking and/or dispatching, or centrally hosted call handling.
In 2022, the OSECC handled over 62,000 911 calls for Police, Fire, and Ambulance. Specifically for the Owen Sound Police Service, the OSECC dispatched 18,197 calls in 2022, representing a 7.2% increase from 2021.
OSECC is both a primary and secondary Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). As a primary PSAP, 911 calls are routed directly for all six of the police agencies served:
- Owen Sound Police Service
- Saugeen Shores Police Service
- Port Hope Police Service
- West Grey Police Service
- Hanover Police Service
- Cobourg Police Service
As the secondary PSAP for fire departments in Huron and Perth Counties, the 911 calls handled by OSECC are transferred from another primary PSAP for OSECC to complete the dispatching process. OSECC also dispatches for Grey County Roads Department after hours, and provides administration and maintenance for the Grey County Radio Project.
The following Fire Departments are dispatched by the Owen Sound Police Service OSECC:
Bruce County Fire Departments
- North Bruce Peninsula Fire Department (Lion’s Head and Tobermory Fire Stations)
- South Bruce Peninsula Fire Department (Sauble Beach and Wiarton Fire Stations)
- Arran Elderslie Fire Department (Tara, Chesley and Paisley Fire Stations)
- South Bruce Fire Department (Mildmay-Carrick Fire and Teeswater-Culross Fire Stations)
- Hanover Fire Department
- Chippewas of Nawash Fire Department
- Saugeen First Nations Fire Department
- Saugeen Shores Fire Department (Port Elgin Fire and Southampton Fire Stations)
Grey County Fire Departments
- Owen Sound Fire Department
- Intertownship Fire Department
- Meaford Fire Department
- Chatsworth Fire Department
- Grey Highlands Fire Department (Markdale Fire and Flesherton Fire Stations)
- West Grey Fire Department (Durham Fire, Ayton Fire and Neustadt Fire Stations)
- Southgate (Dundalk) Fire Department
Huron County Fire Departments
- North Huron Fire Department (Wingham Fire and Blyth Fire Stations)
- Howick Fire Department
- Centre Fire (Clinton) Fire Department
- Bluewater Fire Department (Bayfield Fire, Brucefield, Hensall and Zurich Fire Stations)
- Huron East Fire (Brussels Fire, Grey Fire and Seaforth Fire Stations)
- Goderich Fire Department
Perth County Fire Department
- St. Mary’s Fire Department
- North Perth Fire Department (Listowel Fire, Atwood Fire and Monkton Fire Stations)
- Perth East Fire Department (Milverton Fire, Shakespheare Fire, and Sebringville Fire Stations)
- West Perth Fire (Mitchell Fire Station)
The Owen Sound Police Service and the OSECC play an active role in the Emergency Plan for Grey and Bruce Counties, as well as the City’s Emergency Plan. Our Communicators are expected to handle a variety of situations in a professional manner. As the first point of contact with our organization, they play a pivotal role in emergency response. The combination of call-taking, radio dispatching and advance computer skills makes this a challenging position. The Communicators are provided with both internal training and advanced Ontario Police College courses to assist them with their task. Each year several Communicators attend the annual Police Communicators Conference, the NENA/APCO Conference and the Ontario Fire Communicators Forum.
The OSECCC will be one of the first agencies in Canada to migrate fully to a Next Generation network for 911 service (NG911) in 2023. NG911 will allow transmission of data, in addition to voice, to accompany calls for service in the form of text messages, photos and video files from citizens and other sources. This requires significant changes to hardware and software as well as: standard operating procedures, staff training, and more. The OSECC is one of the first locations in Canada to join the voice trial program.
The OSECC has a 911 system that allows for dispatchers to communicate to the deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or speech impaired (DHHSI) community within all the jurisdictions that we currently dispatch for using text messaging during an emergency. The T911 service is available to anyone who has a compatible cell phone and has registered their cell phones with their wireless service providers. When someone from the DHHSI community requires 911 services, they dial 911 on their cell phone. There is no need for them to speak, as the 911 call taker will receive an indicator that directs them to communicate with the caller via text messaging. The 911 call taker then initiates text messaging with the caller to address the emergency. For those within the DHHSI community that have not yet registered their cell phones, the OSECC is also equipped with TTY machines that will enable our Dispatchers/Call Takers to communicate with you as well.
The OSECC is staffed by 8 full-time and 14 part-time Communicators, along with switchboard operators, management and IT support. The OSECC has been a leader across Canada in developing a NG911 solution. Due to this early implementation, OSECC has grown its capacity and service as a NG911 host agency for many other emergency service providers. There are still unknowns that may require more resources, and change management is ongoing to meet the ever-evolving technology and innovation available to better serve our communities.