News : Calgary 911 Fields Hundreds of Non-emergency Calls Each Day
Calgary, AB, Canada, April 6, 2016 -- In a 24-hour cycle, Calgary’s 911 call centre receives around 300 "pocket dials" or hang-up phone calls.
Doug Odney, Deputy Commander for Calgary 911 said when they receive a suspected accidental call it takes time from actual emergency calls.
"We have to attend to everyone of those and determine whether or not it’s an emergency," he said. "Certain calls that we have suspicion might be an actual emergency we’ll dispatch the police—but it ties up our emergency communications officers from answering real 911 calls."
Odney said Calgary 911 doesn’t like to judge an individual on their reasons for calling—whether founded or not—and said they take every accidental call, or calls that shouldn’t be coming to 911 as a chance for public education.
"We find for the most part our callers are using good judgement when calling 911 and when we have callers in using the system where it is non-emergent we use that opportunity to provide public education and explain that to them," he said. "Most callers are really open to hearing that and they know in the future they can use our non-emergency line."
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He said emergency call operators take the time to explain and educate anyone who uses 911 improperly—but he said their system allows them to know when another 911 call is coming in so they can wrap up with a non-emergency.
"We have red lights in the room and that’s a message to our emergency communications officers to free themselves up on those maybe frivolous or non-emergency type calls and make themselves available as soon as possible for those emergency lines," he said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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