NextGen911 – Strathcona County (Part 4)
Strathcona County has much to be proud of as it is set to become the first municipality in Alberta to introduce federally mandated next-generation 911 (NG9-1-1) services.
The project is the culmination of four years of effort by many internal and external stakeholder groups to change the way the County delivers emergency services. Many of its departments (i.e., Emergency Services, Information Technology Services, Facility Services, Procurement Services, and Legal) were involved, along with other municipalities and government agencies.
Strathcona County has learned many important lessons since it embarked on this project in 2019, including:
- Being first means charting the (often difficult) path – the work undertaken by Strathcona County will enable other municipalities to undertake this work more easily and seamlessly in the future (i.e., connecting and integrating with the new provincial emergency network, operated by TELUS).
- New technologies = lots of issues – the project’s ‘go-live’ date was changed multiple times because various technology issues were identified (new issues integrating solutions were continually identified, causing delays).
- People are at the heart of the project – change management was just as important as the chosen technologies, and the project team went to great lengths to ensure Emergency Services workers were as prepared as possible to adopt the new technology (e.g., providing hands-on access to the solutions months in advance of ‘go-live’).
- Take advantage of process improvement opportunities – the adoption of these new technologies and capabilities allowed for existing processes to be enhanced and streamlined.
- Resourcing is critical – Creating a diverse team of professionals, comprised of both technologists and emergency management resources, through secondments enabled Strathcona County to effectively deliver this complex project.
As municipalities across Alberta continue working to meet the national March 2025 deadline to adopt NG9-1-1 services, Strathcona County looks forward to flipping the switch sometime later this year.
For more information, please contact danb [at] abmunis.ca (Dan Blackburn), Senior Director of Growth & Innovation.