Most of us know that we should only call 911 in an emergency…But according to E-Comm, there were a lot of nuisance calls in 2021.
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Last year was the busiest year in E-Comm’s 22-year history — but the extreme heat, fires, floods and the pandemic across BC didn’t stop people from calling 911 for less than emergent reasons.
For instance, a messy roommate is NOT a reason to call 911.
Neither is wanting to know where you can vote during the federal election.
E-Comm says familiar consumer complaints and general questions about COVID-19 put a strain on emergency call-taking as they dealt with a record-setting number of calls from people experiencing real life or death emergencies.
Here is the full list of nuisance calls people in BC made to 911 in 2021.
- The barista mixed up their coffee order
- A pedestrian was splashed on the sidewalk
- Requesting a COVID test
- Enquiring about becoming a 9-1-1 call taker
- Wanting to know where they could vote during the federal election
- Looking for weather updates
- Asking for directions
- Wondering why the bus wasn’t coming
- Enquiring about COVID restrictions
- Reporting a messy roommate
“Our staff worked tirelessly throughout the heat dome, wildfires and flooding emergencies to support our first responder partners and get help to those who needed it as quickly as possible. It was disheartening to learn that we continued to receive 9-1-1 calls from people looking for information or trying to make general service complaints when so many communities were experiencing critical emergency situations,” says Jasmine Bradley, E-Comm’s executive director of communications.
“Our call takers are trained to treat every call that comes through as an emergency, until they can determine otherwise. Every second that they spend speaking with someone who is upset about a mixed up coffee order or wanting to report a messy roommate, is time they could have been helping someone in a life-threatening situation.”
If you need some help figuring out when you should or shouldn’t call 911, E-Comm has a handy resource.