Firefighters arriving on scene more quickly

Thanks to a one-year-old dispatch service agreement between Markham and Barrie, firefighters are arriving on scene more quickly and can provide more successful lifesaving and recovery efforts, the City of Markham is reporting.

“The unique partnership between Barrie and Markham Fire & Emergency Services (BFES and MFES) has been an overwhelming success through the use of shared dispatch services resulting in reduced operating costs and a better customer experience in a resident’s time of need,” says Markham CAO Andy Taylor.

Preliminary data suggests an average decrease in “call to customer” time of 60 seconds across most incidents. That means firefighters are on scene earlier during the most critical period of an incident. “Call to customer” is a measure of the time between someone calling 911 and requesting help to firefighters arriving on location.

Under the dispatch service agreement, BFES provides 24/7 emergency call-taking and dispatch service to MFES. “Through this proactive partnership, we have been able to drastically modernize many aspects of fire protection service delivery used at the City,” says MFES Chief Adam Grant.

“This is important for many reasons, one being that we are able to respond faster and more efficiently to any call for assistance we receive, which in some cases can be life-altering. It also has us well positioned for the upcoming mandatory transition to Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) expected in 2024.”

The agreement is credited with modernizing emergency services tools, including upgraded technology on all MFES firetrucks. Each truck is equipped with a tablet, so firefighters receive critical and potentially life-saving information as soon as it’s available, allowing for better preparedness by the time they arrive on the scene. Simultaneous notification allows aligned emergency services to be connected and notified at the same time.

“This successful partnership serves as an example of how municipalities can work together to streamline processes, align corporate objectives and deliver innovative solutions that save lives,” Taylor says.

“While it has only been in use for one year, this service agreement has already proven tremendously impactful,” says Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “Through it, we have been able to not only keep costs down but, more importantly, improve the customer experience for residents in their time of need.”


Photo: A firefighter accesses information in real-time using upgraded technology in a Markham Fire & Emergency Services truck. (City of Markham photo) 

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