E-Comm, the largest 9-1-1 call centre in B.C., has released a list of the top calls that shouldn’t have been placed to 9-1-1 in 2015.
This year’s top reason not to call 9-1-1? Requesting the number for a local tire dealership.
The recipient of this year’s top nuisance call, Harrison Kwan, said his job is to treat every call as an emergency, no matter how illogical it may seem on the surface.
“We are trained to ask questions in case a caller is in distress and can’t speak freely,” said Kwan. “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.”
Almost 3400 calls flow through E-Comm every day. E-Comm’s idea to release a top 10 list was to help raise awareness about the impact that non-emergency calls have on emergency services.
The 2015 top 10 reasons to not call 9-1-1 were:
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,” said Robertson.
Among the several tips offered on E-Comm’s website – ecomm911.ca – is to call 9-1-1 if you have an emergency that requires immediate action from the police, ambulance, or fire: if someone’s health, safety, or property is in jeopardy or if a crime is in progress.
E-Comm is the primary 9-1-1 public safety answer point for 24 regional districts and other communities spanning from Vancouver Island to north of Prince George.