News : Silly Reasons People Called 911 in BC This Year
Vancouver, BC, Canada, Dec 29, 2016 -- A BC emergency call centre is ending the year by releasing its annual top 10 list of reasons not to call 911. You would think people would know when to use the service, but apparently they don’t. An electric shaver that for some reason won’t turn off or a teen who refuses to do chores — these are some of the reasons people called 911 this year.
Jasmine Bradley with E-Comm says there was also a frustrated commuter. "Somebody who was frustrated waiting in traffic and for some reason decided to call 911 and complain about it."
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She adds nuisance calls take away precious time from dispatchers. "They need to take time to listen to every caller and ask questions to determine if there is an actual emergency happening."
Call-takers Jim Beland and Chris Faris had the top two nuisance calls of the year: a broken gym locker and someone enquiring about job opportunities with the police. "I’d like to be able to say calls such as the ones on our top 10 list are rare, but unfortunately this isn’t the case," says Beland. "As call-takers our job is to treat each call like an emergency until we can determine otherwise, and this takes time. We want our time reserved for people who need help because they have a legitimate emergency."
Faris agrees. "Unfortunately, we do get a lot of people who call 911 thinking it can be used as an information hotline. We get a lot of calls that start off with ‘this is not an emergency but…’ and that’s a concern when we know there are other people out there who need our help."
E-Comm takes more than 1.3 million emergency calls every year from communities province-wide.
Top reasons to not call 911 (2016)
1. Requesting help opening a broken gym locker
2. Enquiring about job opportunities for a family member interested in police work
3. Because an electric shaver would not turn off
4. Requesting a ladder to get a soccer ball off the roof
5. How best to get a drone down from a tree
6. Tired of waiting in traffic
7. "There’s a big spider in the bathroom"
8. Complaining they couldn’t get into a nightclub
9. Because their teenager refused to do chores
10. "Can you tell me what time it is?"
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About E-Comm 9-1-1:
E-Comm 9-1-1 is a multi-municipality agency that provides emergency communications operations for the region of southwest British Columbia. The company coordinates 9-1-1 service for police, fire, and ambulance service, providing call-taking and dispatch services for multiple agencies in the Lower Mainland area. E-Comm's service area covers Metro Vancouver (from Lions Bay to Langley), the Sunshine Coast Regional District, south Squamish-Lillooet Regional District and the Whistler-Howe Sound area serving a population of more than two million residents. The company provides call-taking for all participating municipalities, transferring incoming calls to the appropriate agency. Furthermore, E-Comm provides dispatch services for eleven police departments and nineteen fire departments.
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