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Improved 911 services coming to Alaska Highway

FORT NELSON – People travelling the Alaska Highway can look forward to improved public safety with expanded access to 911 emergency services through five new roadside emergency call boxes.

“Access to 911 services is critical to ensure public safety on highways, especially in rural and remote regions of the province,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Citizens’ Services, in a news release. “We’re pleased to be able fund this project in partnership with the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality to install new roadside emergency call boxes along the Alaska Highway corridor. As our government continues to work on improving connectivity along our highways, solutions like this ensure people will have access to vital services for personal safety.”

Residents and travellers in northeastern B.C. will benefit from expanded emergency services access through the installation of the call boxes at designated pullouts on sections of the Alaska Highway, also known as Highway 97, where cellular coverage is unavailable. The call boxes will be installed along the highway between Prophet River and Fort Nelson, and Fort Nelson and the Yukon border. Call boxes, an emergency telephone service, provide access to 911 service in remote areas without existing infrastructure to support wireless networks or cell-based services.

“The Northern Rockies Regional Municipality Emergency Call Box Project is an excellent initiative that Deh Tai supports,” said Jim Hodgson, chief executive officer, Deh Tai Limited. “There are approximately 500 kilometres of Alaska Highway where there is no opportunity to contact emergency services while on the road. This impacts customers of our hospitality businesses, Liard Hot Springs Lodge and Fort Nelson Hotel, and individuals in our group companies working in remote locations on highways 97 and 77. We hope no one has to use the system, but we appreciate the establishment of these facilities for when the need arises.”

The province has committed up to $107,000 through the Connecting British Columbia program, administered by the Northern Development Initiative Trust. The investment will contribute toward the total project cost of up to $122,000. The Northern Rockies Regional Municipality contributed up to $15,000.

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