“Everyone in the first-responder community will tell you communication is crucial during an emergency,” said Public Safety Minister Kris Austin. “They will also tell you it becomes more complicated when multiple groups are involved. The New Brunswick Trunked Mobile Radio Network allows law enforcement, firefighters, medical services, emergency management services and others to communicate and work with staff from other authorized responding agencies in real-time.”

The first responders who are a part of the network include eight municipal police forces, six municipal fire services, more than 160 volunteer fire services, the RCMP, Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, Ambulance NB, and the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization.

The initiative reduces the costs for fire departments to be part of the network and provides a standard model for emergency fire dispatch in each region through a public safety answering point. Fire services and their municipal authorities which adopt the regional fire dispatch model will be given the equipment and support necessary to migrate to the network.

“These are life-saving tools,” said fire marshal Mike Lewis. “Anything that helps us communicate more effectively enables us to better protect our communities. This is a significant investment in our fire service. At several thousand dollars apiece, providing these radios free of charge allows our fire departments to reallocate their resources towards other areas, such as equipment or training.”

Lewis said the benefits of becoming part of the regional fire dispatch include reducing or eliminating monthly network access fees; more efficient mutual aid responses, particularly during large-scale, multi-agency incidents; and improved firefighter safety by maintaining contact with dispatch.