The 2020 Review – The List of Dumb, Unnecessary 911 Calls

Vancouver (with files from CP) – 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.”

And we in the Fraser Valley are just as guilty as the rest of the Province.

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

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