E-Comm, which handles 99 per cent of BC’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.
Top 10 List of Calls That Don’t Belong on 9-1-1
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.
- Complaining that their food delivery driver did not deliver their meal
- Enquiring if there is a full lockdown for COVID-19
- Wondering if having a trampoline is illegal during COVID-19
- Asking for assistance to apply for CERB
- Complaining that the mattress they had purchased second hand was more soiled than advertised
- Reporting that their bank card was stuck in the ATM
- Reporting their neighbour for smoking in a non-smoking building
- Enquiring about how to enter a career in law enforcement
- Confirming the time
- Asking for help because they were locked out of their car
“Calling 9-1-1 to ask a question or report a consumer complaint may seem harmless enough,” says E-Comm call taker Megan 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.”
E-Comm is also asking the public not to call 9-1-1 to report concerns about public health violations and encouraging British Columbians to refer to the wide range of resources available for COVID-19 instead.
- To report public health violations, please contact your local by-law office or call your local police non-emergency line
- In Vancouver, please call 3-1-1 or report your concern online
- If you feel that you might have COVID-19, please call ahead to your primary care provider’s office or 8-1-1 to assess whether you need testing
- For non-medical information about COVID-19, call 1-888-COVID-19 or visit bccdc.ca
E-Comm is the first point of contact for 9-1-1 callers in 25 regional districts in British Columbia and provides dispatch services for more than 70 police agencies and fire departments across the province.