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MORE THAN 1.8 MILLION 9-1-1 CALLS ANSWERED IN 2020

In 2020, we received more than 1.8 million 9-1-1 calls in B.C. – that’s an average of 5,000 calls per day. Given the incredible volume of calls that we receive, we ask British Columbians to do their part in in keeping 9-1-1 lines free for emergencies only.

Emergency vs. Non-Emergency: know the difference

• 9-1-1 is for police, fire or medical emergencies where immediate action is required.
• Non-emergency numbers should be used for situations that do NOT require immediate response from police

To learn more about the difference between emergency and non-emergency calls, visit nonemergency.ca

Of the 1.8 million 9-1-1 calls E-Comm received, 98% of those calls were answered in 5 seconds or less.

From those calls:

• 65 per cent of calls were for police
• 30 per cent of calls were for ambulance
• 6 per cent of calls were for fire

Learn more about our 9-1-1 call statistics.

 

 

We also received a total of 38 Text with 9-1-1 (T9-1-1) calls in 2020. T9-1-1 is a specialized texting service available for people who are Deaf/Deaf-Blind, Hard-of Hearing or Speech

Impaired (DHHSI) that allows registered users to communicate with 9-1-1 call-takers through text.

Learn more about T9-1-1.

Frustrated with food delivery? 9-1-1 is not on the menu

Vancouver, B.C. – Whether you’re fed up with your food delivery, curious about COVID or have questions about quarantine, 9-1-1 is not the right number to call.

E-Comm, which handles 99 per cent of B.C.’s 9-1-1 call volume at its two emergency communications centres, has released its annual top 10 list of calls that don’t belong on 9-1-1, reminding people that every time someone calls 9-1-1 with a non-urgent concern, they are putting the lives of other British Columbians at risk.

In addition to the increase of pandemic-related enquiries that tied up 9-1-1 lines in 2020, E-Comm call takers also dealt with some familiar consumer complaints that seem to wind up on its top 10 nuisance calls list year after year including cars that can’t start, bank cards that are stuck in ATMs and callers wondering about the time.

E-Comm call taker Megan McMath answered the number one call on this year’s list. She says general complaints on the emergency line that aren’t police, fire or ambulance matters, divert critical resources from people in real emergencies. “Calling 9-1-1 to ask a question or report a consumer complaint may seem harmless enough,” says McMath. “But, what people may not realize is that we need to treat every call as an emergency, until we can determine otherwise. That means that every moment we spend responding to general questions, concerns or complaints takes away from our priority – helping people who need help right away.”

Here is E-Comm’s list of top 10 reasons not to call 9-1-1 in 2020:

  1. Complaining that their food delivery driver did not deliver their meal
  2. Enquiring if there is a full lockdown for COVID-19
  3. Wondering if having a trampoline is illegal during COVID-19
  4. Asking for assistance to apply for CERB
  5. Complaining that the mattress they had purchased second hand was more soiled than advertised
  6. Reporting that their bank card was stuck in the ATM
  7. Reporting their neighbour for smoking in a non-smoking building
  8. Enquiring about how to enter a career in law enforcement
  9. Confirming the time
  10. Asking for help because they were locked out of their car

“We understand that people are frustrated and worried about COVID-19-related issues, but general questions and complaints about the pandemic don’t belong on 9-1-1,” says Kaila Butler, E-Comm senior communications specialist. “Our goal each year with this list of nuisance calls is to drive home the message that we need the public’s help to keep 9-1-1 lines free for people experiencing real emergencies who need immediate assistance from police, fire or ambulance agencies.”

E-Comm is asking the public not to call 9-1-1 to report concerns about public health violations and encouraging British Columbians to refer to the wide range of resources available for COVID-19 instead.

  • To report public health violations, please contact your local by-law office or call your local police non-emergency line.
    • In Vancouver, please call 3-1-1 or report your concern online
  • If you feel that you might have COVID-19, please call ahead to your primary care provider’s office or 8-1-1 to assess whether you need testing
  • For non-medical information about COVID-19, call 1-888-COVID-19 or visit bccdc.ca

E-Comm has handled more than 1.7 million 9-1-1 calls so far in 2020. For more information about E-Comm, visit ecomm911.ca.

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Photo/Interview Opportunity

E-Comm will be offering interview opportunities over Zoom or by phone on Wednesday, December 30 between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. The following spokespeople are available for interviews:

  • Megan McMath, E-Comm call taker who answered the number one call on the top ten list, located at the Vancouver Island Emergency Communications Centre
  • Kimmie Kidd, E-Comm call taker who answered a call on the top ten list, located at the Lower Mainland Emergency Communications Centre
  • Kaila Butler, Senior Communications Specialist

To coordinate an interview, please contact media@ecomm911.ca

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, E-Comm will not be inviting media inside its Lower Mainland or Vancouver Island Emergency Communications Centres this year. However, interviews may be facilitated outside both facilities. In addition, video/photo assets are available here.

Media Contact
Sam Corea
Senior Communications Specialist
604-215-6248
media@ecomm911.ca

About E-Comm
E-Comm is the first point of contact for 9-1-1 callers in 25 regional districts in British Columbia and provides dispatch services for more than 70 police agencies and fire departments across the province. E‐Comm also owns and operates the largest multi‐jurisdictional, tri‐service, wide‐area radio network in the province used by police, fire and ambulance personnel throughout Metro Vancouver and parts of the Fraser Valley.

Media Statement: E-Comm receives an influx of 9-1-1 calls related to COVID-19

Vancouver, B.C – E-Comm continues to see an influx of calls related to COVID-19, particularly over the weekends, as many callers look to report house parties, their neighbours having guests or concerns about businesses not adhering to public health orders such as restaurants serving alcohol past 10 pm. It’s important to remember that these calls do not belong on 9-1-1 as they tie up important resources from people who may be experiencing life or death emergencies. Instead of dialing 9-1-1, callers looking to report concerns related to COVID restrictions should reach out to their local bylaw office or call their local police non-emergency number, if their bylaw office is unavailable. In Vancouver, you can make these reports by calling 3-1-1 or using the VanConnect app. A list of police and fire non-emergency numbers in B.C. is available at nonemergency.ca

Unfortunately, we are also seeing more callers taking out their frustrations on our staff. Our call takers need to help first responders determine if there are any COVID-related risks to them or to the caller before the first responders arrive on scene – this means call takers may need to ask some additional questions about the situation at hand. We understand that people are feeling anxious and stressed out, but we ask everyone to try to recognize that the voices you hear on the other end of the phone are your friends, your family members, your neighbours, and they are doing everything they can to get you help as quickly as possible.

About E-Comm

E-Comm is the first point of contact for 9-1-1 callers in 25 regional districts in British Columbia and provides dispatch services for more than 70 police agencies and fire departments. E‐Comm also owns and operates the largest multi‐jurisdictional, tri‐service, wide‐area radio network in the province used by police, fire and ambulance personnel throughout Metro Vancouver and parts of the Fraser Valley. In 2019, E-Comm received more than 1.84 million 9-1-1 calls in B.C. and answered 97 per cent of those calls in five seconds or less.

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Media Contact

media@ecomm911.ca
604-215-6248

E-Comm’s new Vice-President of Operations: Stephen Thatcher

E-Comm is excited to welcome Stephen Thatcher to our team as the new Vice-President of Operations starting January 25, 2021.

Stephen has been a member of the RCMP for 28 years and is currently in the role of Assistant Commissioner and Lower Mainland District Commander. Throughout his career with the RCMP, he has served in a number of operational, operational support and administrative roles across B.C and at national headquarters in Ottawa. His extensive and impressive background in policing and on-the-job experience will strengthen E-Comm’s leadership help support our employees in Operations.

In this new role, Stephen will help lead our Emergency Communications Centre operations through the remainder of the pandemic, while simultaneously helping advance our public safety initiatives.

E-Comm announces 2020-2021 Board of Directors

Vancouver, B.C.—E-Comm announced its new Board of Directors today, following the company’s Annual General Meeting. Because of physical distancing measures required during the COVID-19 pandemic, E-Comm held its Annual General Meeting virtually, for the first time in the company’s 21-year history.

Shareholders have named six new board members, with the remaining members designated by shareholders reconfirmed by their nominating entities for another term. The shareholder nominated directors appointed four independent directors:  incumbents Doug Campbell, Barry Forbes and Denise Nawata, together with Nancy Kotani, newly elected as an independent director after a search process overseen by the Company’s Governance Committee.

Doug Campbell returns as Board Chair, a position he has held since 2016. During today’s online meeting, Campbell acknowledged the exceptional work of E-Comm staff and the first-responder community during the COVID-19 pandemic. “On behalf of the Board, I want to thank everyone at E-Comm for their ongoing dedication and efforts to provide continuous emergency communications services to the citizens of our province and first responders in these exceptional and unusual circumstances,” said Campbell. “Whatever the new norm brings us, we know our professional emergency communications team is ready for the task.”

The Board of Directors is responsible for overseeing the company’s strategic planning and direction, finances and operating results. Management is accountable to the Board of Directors for day-to-day operations and administration.

E-Comm shareholders nominate Board members who provide extensive knowledge and experience to the company through their work on the Board and as members of the Board’s standing committees.

2020-2021 E-Comm Board of Directors

Independent Directors nominated by the E-Comm Board

Doug Campbell Board Chair
Barry Forbes  
Nancy Kotani  
Denise Nawata  

 

Directors Nominee of
Aniz Alani City of Abbotsford
Lori Halls Provincial Government
Lois Karr RCMP
Joe Keithley Cities of Burnaby, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Village of Belcarra
Melanie Kerr City of Delta/Delta Police Board
Warren Lemcke Vancouver Police Board
Neil Lilley BC Emergency Health Services
Gayle Martin Cities of Langley, Surrey and White Rock, Township of Langley
Bill McNulty City of Richmond
Paul Mochrie City of Vancouver
Mike Morden Cities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows
Paul Mochrie City of Vancouver
Mark Sieben Provincial Government
Richard Walton City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, District of West Vancouver, Village of Lions Bay
Mike Welte Independent Police Boards (Abbotsford, New Westminster, Port Moody, Transit Police, West Vancouver)

A second board seat, nominated by the Cities of Burnaby, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody and Village of Belcarra, is to be filled later.

About E-Comm

E-Comm is the first point of contact for 9-1-1 callers in 25 regional districts in British Columbia and provides dispatch services for more than 70 police agencies and fire departments. E‐Comm also owns and operates the largest multi‐jurisdictional, tri‐service, wide‐area radio network in the province used by police, fire and ambulance personnel throughout Metro Vancouver and parts of the Fraser Valley. In 2019, E-Comm received more than 1.84 million 9-1-1 calls in B.C. and answered 97 per cent of those calls in five seconds or less.

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Media Contact

Jasmine Bradley
E-Comm Corporate Communications
604.215.6248

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