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Expanded 911 service proposed for Alaska Highway

Northern Rockies seeks provincial support to fund five emergency call boxes
(Northern Rockies Regional Municipality)

Expanded 911 service may soon be available along remote stretches of the Alaska Highway in Northeast B.C.

The Northern Rockies Regional Municipality is seeking provincial grant support to fund five call box locations at Prophet River, Summit Lake, between Toad River and Muncho Lake, Liard River, and at Army Hill north of Fireside. 

"Unreliable wireless coverage is a safety concern to the public in the Northern Rockies since residents, travelers and workers cannot access emergency services in areas without cell service," the municipality stated in a release on Thursday.

According to the municipality, the regional council has pre-approved a budget of $119,000 for the initiative, conditional on grant funding through the Connecting British Columbia program.

The municipality would contribute $12,000 to the capital costs if successful, and the regional council has also approved the necessary operating costs of $20,000 to be spent over 2022, 2023, and 2024.

If the grant funding is secured, the project is anticipated to begin in early 2022, with installation to take place in spring, according to the municipality.

The proposed call boxes would be solar powered and have a backup battery. The call boxes would be available 24-7 throughout the year and connect directly to the municipality's 911 provider, Grande Prairie Fire Rescue.

The municipality said its proposed locations will improve access to emergency services in the event of a vehicle crash, and be a proof of concept to further increase 911 service in the future.

The Connecting B.C. program is provincially funded and administered by the Northern Development Initiative Trust.

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