Iqaluit city council has approved $115,000 in upgrades to the Department of Emergency and Protective Services dispatch system, which department officials say are desperately needed.

Right now, when an emergency call comes in,  the dispatcher takes down the information using a pen and paper and yells it out a window to the fire and ambulance station's common area.

New software will guide dispatchers through a series of standard questions when they get an emergency call. That information will be announced over a PA system and on TV screens throughout the fire station, all while the dispatcher is still on the phone.

"It'll streamline the process better for us, to take calls more efficiently and provide information more timely matter to the responding units and speeding up the response times to people in need," said dispatcher Steve Allen.

There's other outdated equipment. The system that monitors fire alarms in buildings in the city has not been serviced since it was installed eight years ago, and the current phone system stops working when there is a power failure until a back-up power source comes on.

"Anytime the phone system is down, I believe that could put the citizens in danger," said Fire Chief Luc Grandmaison.

"We're not sure how many calls were lost before [due to] that but for sure no complaints have ever come since I've been here."

The changes should be in place this November.