For Immediate Release – December 29, 2015
E-Comm’s 2015 list of top ten reasons to not call 9-1-1
Vancouver, B.C.—To help raise awareness about the impact on emergency services, E-Comm has released a list of the top calls that shouldn’t have been placed to 9-1-1 in 2015.
“We want to remind people about what’s at risk when 9-1-1 is used as an information line or for other reasons that do not meet the test of a true emergency: A police, fire or medical situation that requires immediate action because someone’s health, safety, or property is in jeopardy or a crime is in progress,” explains Jody Robertson, E-Comm’s director of corporate communications.
Almost 3,400 9-1-1 calls flow through E-Comm every day. Robertson says while the majority of people use 9-1-1 responsibly, calls like the ones on this year’s top ten list waste valuable emergency resources by tying up 9-1-1 call-takers’ time.
This year’s top reason not to call 9-1-1? Requesting the number for a local tire dealership.
“My job is to treat every call as an emergency, no matter how illogical it may seem on the surface,” says E-Comm 9-1-1 call-taker Harrison Kwan, recipient of this year’s top nuisance call. “We are trained to ask questions in case a caller is in distress and can’t speak freely. It’s only when I’m completely satisfied that the call is not a real emergency that I can disconnect and go back to answering other 9-1-1 calls. And that takes time.”
2015 top ten reasons to not call 9-1-1:
1. Requesting the number for a local tire dealership
2. Reporting an issue with a vending machine
3. Asking for the non-emergency line
4. Because a car parked too close to theirs
5. "My son won’t put his seatbelt on"
6. Coffee shop is refusing to refill coffee
7. Asking if it’s okay to park on the street
8. “My roommate used my toothbrush”
9. Asking for help getting a basketball out of a tree
10. Reporting that their building’s air system is too loud and they can’t sleep
“We hope that our message that 9-1-1 call-takers can’t answer questions or manage non-emergency situations on 9-1-1 lifelines will encourage people to learn more about 9-1-1,” adds Robertson. “There’s lots of information on our web site—ecomm911.ca—about when to use 9-1-1 and when to use non-emergency numbers for police, fire and ambulance, along with easy access to those numbers and free education materials available for order, including learning tools for children.”
E-Comm is the Primary 9-1-1 Public Safety Answer Point (PSAP) for 24 regional districts and other communities spanning from Vancouver Island to the Alberta and U.S. borders, to north of Prince George and is the largest 9-1-1 call centre in British Columbia. E-Comm also provides dispatch services to 33 police and fire departments and operates the largest multi-jurisdictional, tri-service emergency radio system in the province.
Photo of E-Comm 9-1-1 call-taker Harrison Kwan, quoted in the news release