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Owen Sound Emergency Communications Centre (OSECC)

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, two 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.

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 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 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.

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