Canops – Provincial Communications Centre


When the Caller takers and dispatchers at the Prince Albert PSAP all wanted to do was finish off their 12hr day shift without a hitch – being it is the May long weekend – the rush hour traffic hit. The Dispatchers get an array of emergency and non-emergency calls within the last hour of their shift: Grass fires, campers complaining of park reservations, drunk drivers and adding a possible bridge jumper into the mix – it was to make for an interesting end of day for the crew.  


Supervisor – Jen (20+yrs, Jill-of-all-trades, and a kickboxer to boot) 

Veteran Dispatcher – Janet (senior dispatcher, takes no gruff from anyone, close to retirement) 

New Supervisor – Courtney (less experienced than the vet but tech savvy – gamer) 

Rookie – Riley (recently moved across the country – 1st year of Fire season) 

Fire Dispatcher – Sonya (chaos magnet – everyone’s glad when she is not call taking) 

Fire Dispatcher – Sharon (reserved, has contagious laugh and a one-liner jokester) 

Police Dispatcher – Lindsey (experienced, compassionate to callers, but not afraid to tell the officers where to go) 

Police Dispatcher – Tammy (a bad ass, takes no fuss from callers & still gets the job done in a timely manner) 

Rookie Police Dispatcher – Emily (competent, attentive and ready to learn) 

Senior Conservation Dispatcher – Ashley (calm, soft spoken but feisty) 

Municipal Enforcement Dispatcher – Sara (laid-back, crafty and loves all kinds of pets) 

Highway Patrol Dispatcher – Paula (energetic, adrenaline junkie and runs on caffeine) 


Getting close to their 12hr shift to end, everyone at the Prince Albert PSAP is getting ready for the next oncoming shift to take over. 911 calls were sporadic, making the day steady but not overly busy for a long weekend – May two-four to be exact. A hum of chatter of who’s doing what, making plans for their 24-hour break starts to erupt in every pod on the dispatch floor, anxious for the day to end. All heads turn when the silent but bright red strobe light starts to flicker above the consoles and then, the phones ring – not one but all 911 busy light indicators turn from green to red within moments. Parkwatch calls start coming in on the enforcement pod and PA city Police were getting busy with callers reporting drivers – likely all trying to head to the lakes for the long weekend and two 911 call takers talk loudly to gain attention; 

“There’s a ‘grass fire’?” can be heard from Rookie operator Riley, and “Who started the fire?” from the Veteran Janet. Sharon’s Fire Dispatcher’s ear perk up and she sits straight up looks up to the screen to see where the calls were coming from, getting ready to dispatch the fire department, all calls were coming the Prince Albert area. As more calls were coming into the queue, 1, 3, 5, all she thought of was; ‘Damn! Had to be during rush hour too!”  

Ashley started clenching her teeth as Parkwatch calls kept coming in before she can relay any information to the Park Supervisors or to the park maintenance; “My camp site has no power” “I am not going to make it on time before the office closes” “I need to book a site.” Meanwhile, both Sara and Paula are getting swamped with the Saskatchewan Highway Patrol (SHP) and Lakeland District Protective Services’ (LDPS) blitz – as people eager to get to the lakes are taking longer to get through as they get flagged down for safety checks.  

The police dispatchers get busy as well, officers are working alongside with the combined traffic safety stops with SHP and LDPS, when police rookie dispatcher Emily answers a 911 call from a disgruntled male stating: “I’m gonna jump off the bridge.” The hair behind her neck stands on end and looks over to the radio dispatcher Lindsey, who was unaware of the call but has dealt with negotiating with suicidal jumpers, looking for some direction. Tammy – half-way through her pre-workout mix ready to hit the weights right after work – gets revved up and goes through the calls as fast and as efficiently as she can, when she also gets a call about a possible arsonist going around lighting the city centers’ flowerpots.  

With the supervisor Jenn gone on her annual leave for the long weekend, it was up to the new supervisor Courtney and the team to work together and make sure each call gets attended to and make it through to the end of shift with as little disruption as possible. It may only be five-thirty and yet the end in sight seems bleak, as Sonya takes a 911 call for a head-on collision with fire and entrapment just north of the city…  


I chose this title because after 12hrs, all you want to do is get the hell out of dodge! But it seems just as you looking forward to quick shift switch, you get bombarded with calls. 

***background of May 2-4 – A Canadian Statutory holiday – “Some Canadians like to refer to the May Two-Four weekend as a way to pay homage to the queen’s birthday (Queen Victoria), as “two-four” is Canadian slang for a case of 24 beers…which signifies the beginning of the summer season for many Canadians” thus all the travel to get to the lakes.