911 HELP & Access

To understand the many types of 911 service, including T911 (text 911-you must register for this) and the limitations of your telephone's 911 service, visit CRTC
If you are genuinely interested ensuring you can access 911 quickly and that emergency services will come to your actual location, newer cell phones WITH GPS technology are REQUIRED. This is the only telephone technology that will connect you to the correct 911 call center for McGregor Bay and will automatically provide your exact location to the 911 call taker.

It is your personal responsibility to know the limitations of accessing 911 using your telephone technology and to know how to call for emergency services.

(VOiP, nomadic VOiP, old cell phones, new cell phones, Bell radio telephones, Bell land-line phones,  Pay as You Go, Rogers SiM card in an American cell phone etc. are some of the possibilities.) If you are subscribed to a service that uses the internet to send and receive phone calls, you have a VOiP phone.

911 calls are frequently automatically routed to the 911 call center in the city where your phone bill is mailed, your home town. Your 911 call then has to be rerouted back to the 911 center for McGregor Bay. If your home town is in the USA, only one operator receives this rerouted call in Canada and then routes the call to the appropriate call center for McGregor Bay. In either case, this process takes up valuable time. The 911 call center in your home town does not use the MNR Grid Map or TP Island/property numbers. In this situation, you MUST provide GPS coordinates to your home town 911 call taker stating that you are near Birch Island, Ontario. If your home town is not in Canada, you must state you are in CANADA.

Newer cell phones with GPS technology avoid this problem and accurately transmit your precise GPS location and contact information to our local 911 call center. Using the toll free emergency numbers will also avoid the call being routed to your home town and will route the call to the correct 911 call center but will not provide contact or location information. Therefore, you must provide your location information, call back number and name.

Because of the above, decide which phone you should use or acquire to call 911, and which emergency phone numbers will work best for you. Clearly indicate this on your completed EMERGENCY Contact Numbers:A Quick Reference Guide

911 works on a GPS capable phone, your safest choice.

Program toll free numbers into your old cell phones along with your GPS location. The toll free OPP, FIRE and AMBULANCE numbers are not easy to memorize.

Have a clear understanding of your responsibilities and limitations of your cell service as found in the Terms of Service Agreement given to you by your telephone service provider (TSP).

Be familiar with your TSP's requirements and procedures for updating your phone's software (this can affect 911 accessibility) and physical/service address (this is not the mailing address but the address of the phone's location), and promptly update your physical/service address in the event it changes. Note, however, that GPS coordinates are rarely, if ever, accepted by telephone service providers at this time; another reason to use a GPS capable phone.

Ensure your family and guests understand how to call for emergency assistance using the information you have completed on your Emergency Contact Numbers: A Quick Reference Guide & Scripts.

If your power is out or your internet connection is down, be aware your phone may not work. Consider having a newer cell phone with GPS capability or installing a backup power supply.

When dialing 911, always be prepared to give the following information to the Call Taker

  1. 1.      Nature of the call.
  2. 2.      Is the scene safe?
  3. 3.      How many persons are involved in the incident?
  4. 4.      The Call Taker will ask for your location and, if you are meeting an Ambulance, will ask for your access point; J&G or Stillwater Marinas, for example.

When providing your location, give ALL THREE locators, GPS, MNR Grid Map, and TP island/Property Number. This helps ensure emergency responders can accurately locate you if you give incorrect information. In a panic or stressful situation, people often transpose/omit numbers.

When the call has been placed:

  1. 1.      Remain calm
  2. 2.      Have one person be responsible for all continued communications to the responding emergency service and the 911 Call Taker.
  3. 3.      Leave your mobile phone turned on after hanging up in case the emergency operator needs to call you back.
  4. 4.      If available and possible, provide a person to meet the arriving Emergency Services at the closest point of contact, and provide a boat to lead the way to the call and/or provide transportation if requested.
  5. 5.      Emergency Services have recommended that one person, at the location requesting emergency service, be stationed on the dock wearing an orange safety/hunting/reflective vest. This really helps them to find your location quickly.

Good to know... When you call 911, the person you are talking to is not a dispatcher; they are a "Call Taker". As you converse with the Call Taker, the information is being typed into his/her computer. Simultaneously, six (EMS) or twenty (OPP) dispatchers/partners are reading this information on their own computer screens and taking action. In the case of EMS, the Ambulance, if available, is dispatched in 75 seconds or less. Help is already on the way while you are still on the phone. Similarly with the Police and Fire services, while you are still in conversation with the Call Taker, the MNR fire crew and the OPP officers are launched and on their way to you the instant they get your location information (unless all personnel are attending other emergencies) and they are continuously updated by the dispatcher as they travel towards you. It is not a chargeable offense call to call for help or to report emergencies while driving.


  • When calling 911, always give the call taker your name, full mobile phone number, and location in case you are in an area that doesn't offer enhanced 911 service (shows all your location information by GPS coordinates and provides all your contact information). We have e911 in McGregor Bay. You need a GPS capable phone to benefit from it.

  • Don't ever program 911 into your cell phone's speed dial. ALL 911 calls MUST be responded to. An accidental pocket dial will unnecessarily tie up emergency resources. Don't hang up, tell them you made a mistake or they will not stop trying to locate you until they talk to you.


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