Public outreach key to understanding 9-1-1 system

During a recent education campaign E-Comm reached out to the public about the importance of keeping 9-1-1 lines free for real emergencies.
During a recent education campaign E-Comm reached out to the public about the importance of keeping 9-1-1 lines free for real emergencies.

E-Comm wrapped up 2015 by launching two of its biggest public education campaigns of the year, both of which are designed to educate the public about the proper use of 9-1-1 and increase awareness around issues that impact emergency communication centres worldwide.

“If it’s not an emergency and you call
9-1-1, this takes up a lifeline meant for those needing immediate help from first responders.”

Jody Robertson,
E-Comm Director of Corporate Communications

Transit shelter non-emergency ad
Elements of the non-emergency campaign included transit shelter ads and award-winning video.

The first campaign—Don’t let non-emergencies compete with real ones—dramatically illustrated what’s at risk when people call 9-1-1 to report non-emergencies. Elements of the four-week campaign included online animated advertisements, transit shelter ads and posters promoting a special URL (nonemergency.ca) directing people to a page on E-Comm’s website that lists local non-emergency numbers. It also included an award-winning video that overlays two situations—one emergent and one not. The video is titled Brother/Bicycle and can be viewed on E-Comm’s YouTube channel.

“Too many calls to 9-1-1 centres are actually for non-emergency matters,” explained Jody Robertson, director of Corporate Communications. “Through this campaign we wanted to show people that even though their situation might be a genuine police matter, if it’s not an emergency and they call 9-1-1, it takes up a lifeline meant for those needing immediate help from first responders.”    

In December the emergency communications centre also released its annual top ten list of nuisance calls placed to 9-1-1, part of E-Comm’s continued public outreach about the importance of keeping 9-1-1 lines free for real emergencies. This year’s top reason not to call 9-1-1? Requesting the number for a local tire dealership.

“Our top ten list is an example of the type of calls that do not belong on 9-1-1 or the non-emergency lines,” Robertson added. “The goal of this campaign is to remind people not to treat 9-1-1 like an information line. Calls like this waste valuable emergency resources that would otherwise be available to someone truly in need.”      

The message of both public education campaigns is very clear: Use 9-1-1 for emergencies when immediate action is needed: someone’s life or property is in jeopardy or there is a crime in progress.

A complete list of the top ten nuisance calls for 2015 can be found on ecomm911.ca along with all of E-Comm’s past public education campaigns.