911 service on Gabriola restored after power/communication line break

Wednesday, September 28 2016

UPDATE: As of 9pm on Saturday, October 1, all telecommunication lines to Gabriola appear to have been repaired and activated by Telus and Shaw. 911 service should function normally.

UPDATE: Some Gabriola land lines appear to be able to make phone calls to other locstions on Gabriola, even if those same lines cannot call off Gabriola. 

In light of this, volunteers from the Gabriola Emergency Communications group are at the Gabriola Fire Hall.

In the event of an emergency, call 911. If that does not connect through to a 911 dispatcher, call the Gabriola Fire Hall at 250-247-9677 and the communcations volunteers will be able to contact emergency responders

ORIGINAL STORY: With communication lines cut due to the barge incident on Tuesday night on Dodd Narrows, most land lines and cell phones on Gabriola appear to be unable to make a 911 phone call, according to Fire Chief Rick Jackson.

Cell phones capable of getting a signal from a tower off island are still able to make 911 calls - but it looks like the on-island phones are not able to get through to 911 dispatch.

So far, all the emergency agencies on Gabriola (RCMP, BC Ambulance, and Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department) are able to be contacted by their respective dispatch centres, and to each other, either through pagers or by radio.

The issue is there are residents, a lot of them, who are not capable of making a 911 phone call to request emergency help.

Jackson said he's not sure when service will be restored, and there's not much that can be done currently to fix the phone problem.

This isn't to say people shouldn't try calling 911 - that should still be attempted.

In the meantime, Jackson said the department will have firefighters staying at the north end Fire Hall through Wednesday night and until communication lines are restored.

The Gabriola RCMP and BC Ambulance Service staff are aware of the communication issues, and are taking steps to make sure they stay in touch with their dispatch, but there will not be any staff at either the RCMP or BC Ambulance Station. If there is an emergency, head to Fire Hall #1 on Church Street, and the firefighters on duty will be able to contact RCMP or BC Ambulance if required.