Sooke to benefit from improved emergency telecommunications system

Work is underway implementing new HRO technology upgrade that will improve coverage for CREST

  • Jul. 7, 2016 10:00 a.m.

A new HRO is coming to local emergency services.

Work is underway implementing new HRO (pronounced hero) technology upgrade that will improve coverage for the CRD’s Capital Region Emergency Service Telecommunications.

The current system is coming of age and the new HRO system will provide enhanced reliability and coverage, said Gordie Logan, CREST board chair.

“Much like cellphones, the equipment ages very quickly,” he said. “HRO upgrades the new P25 platform and will also provide better in-building coverage. It will also allow the system to expand into areas that had spotty coverage due to topography issues.”

The P25 platform will see public safety agencies throughout the region switch to a digital platform in three stages. Beginning in early 2017, the core area of Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay and Esquimalt will begin using the system. They will be followed in the fall of 2017 by West Shore communities and Metchosin. Sooke, the Gulf Islands and the Pacific Rim go online by mid 2018.

CREST general manager Gord Horth said comments from police, fire and ambulance services on the upgrades has been “very positive so far.”

“It’s a big step forward in terms of using proven technology to enhance public safety.”

The $25-million price tag includes the cost of replacing CREST’s existing radios, which was necessary given most are five to 10 years old.

Sooke Fire Chief Steve Sorensen expects this region to benefit from new system.

“Generally, we’re happy with the system. We’ll have to see what these upgrades do,” Sorensen said.

Unlike the Victoria core area, Sooke has had few problems with the CREST system, with Sorensen calling it “quite an improvement” over the old system.

Transmission “dead zones” persist though in the 17 Mile House Pub and Connie Road areas and in some canyons in Sooke Potholes Regional Park. Larger problems exist for Sooke when attending mutual aid fire calls in Otter Point, Metchosin and near the East Sooke border.

Sorensen expects those will be rectified with the new system.

CREST is adding 18 new transmission sites to its network, which should lower the incidents of dropped calls, Horth said.

Another benefit of HRO is that it will run in partnership with Emergency Communications for British Columbia, (E-Comm), the largest multi-jurisdictional emergency service radio system in the province.

Because E-Comm is in the process of replacing its radios as well, the CRD was able to save $2 million by bulk buying the new radios from Motorola Services Canada together, Logan said. A further advantage is that if either the CREST or the E-Comm system goes down, the other system can handle the service, he added.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

National Drug Drop-Off month aims to reduce substance abuse by house-bound youth

Expert says there is misconception prescribed medication is safe to take

Victoria mayor wants newspaper boxes removed from downtown streets

Mayor Lisa Helps says the boxes are not needed, often filled with garbage

Esquimalt artists take to great outdoors amid coronavirus

Group invites budding, or just willing artists, to join at Saxe Point

Langford firefighters raise $1,065 for Burn Camp

B.C. firefighters and burn survivors raise $200,068 this year for Burn Camp

Victoria church to ring bells for 75th anniversary of atomic bombings

Bells expected at 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 6 and 11:50 a.m. on Aug. 9

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Plane crashes into Nelson supermarket parking lot

Pilot and passenger have minor injuries

SOOKE HISTORY: A peek into the journal of John George Whiffin

Elida Peers | Contributed One of our most popular walks is on… Continue reading

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Most Read