Vancouver fireworks

20% increase in 9-1-1 calls during Vancouver fireworks finale

Photo of fireworks over English Bay
Photo of fireworks over English Bay
E-Comm ‘live’ tweeted each night of the fireworks to help spread important public safety messages. Photo: Blair Kent

This year marked the 26th annual Celebration of Light fireworks festival, one of the biggest events of the summer for the Lower Mainland. The Vancouver Police Department estimated that more than 1.3 million people attended the festival, which took place over three nights.

While call volumes to 9-1-1 on the first two evenings were similar to past years, record crowds gathered around English Bay for the finale causing heavier call volume. To add to an already busy night, a wildfire broke out in Vernon—a city that E-Comm answers and transfers 9-1-1 calls for. This resulted in a 20% spike in 9-1-1 call volume.

tweets during Celebration of Light event

“I have 15 years’ experience working during Celebration of Light,” reflected Beth Latorre, an E-Comm police dispatcher. “In all my years working this event, I’ve never seen as many people as we saw on finale night. But we were all prepared and staff handled the increase in calls really well.”

The summer continued to be busy for E-Comm’s communication centre as staff also supported partners Delta Fire & Emergency Services (DFES) and newly transitioned Delta Police Department during the Burns Bog fire. In the first 24 hours of the fire, the blaze spread to 80 hectares in size and required more than 100 firefighters from DFES and BC Wildfire Services as well as air tankers and four helicopters. E-Comm’s Operations team not only supported fire services but also supported the police as a number of major road closures and an evacuation took place as a result of the fire.