The province is adding five emergency call boxes along the Alaskan Highway corridor to improve access to 911 emergency services for British Columbians in northeastern B.C. who find themselves needing help and without cell-service.
Announced Wednesday (Aug. 24), the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality will install the emergency call boxes in designated pull-outs along Highway 97. Emergency call boxes will be located between Prophet River and Fort Nelson, and between Fort Nelson and the Yukon border.
The Grande Prairie fire department will answer 911 calls from the weatherproof and solar paneled emergency call boxes and act as a dispatcher to other services as required, the province said.
The first call box will be installed south of Fort Nelson near the municipality’s southern border. Another will be located across from Summit Lake Campground at Stone Mountain provincial park. Call boxes will also be installed north of the Toad River community and north of the Fireside community. The final emergency call box will be located across from Liard River Hot Spring provincial park.
The province expects the five-location project to be completed this year, according to its statement. The province contributed up to $107,000 to the project, with the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality funding up to $15,000 to the project.
The emergency call boxes will contribute to the province’s upcoming multi-year plan to combat gender-based violence in the province, parliamentary secretary for gender equity Grace Lore said in the announcement.
“We’ve heard from rural and remote front-line services how essential connectivity is and we know when a person is a risk of being harmed, they need to be able to access help immediately.”
The emergency call box project is part of the province’s StrongerBC initiative under its recovery plan and is funded through the Connecting British Columbia program which is administered by the Northern Development Initiative Trust. The program also funds internet and cell service infrastructure projects in remote areas.