Don’t call 9-1-1 for flat tires and someone not picking up after their dog!

WHETHER you’re fed up with the nozzle failing to fuel your car at the gas station or you’re a driver dealing with a flat tire, consumer complaints do not belong on the emergency lines, says E-Comm, which handles 99 per cent of B.C.’s 9-1-1 call volume at its two emergency communications centres.

On Wednesday, it released its annual top 10 list of calls that don’t belong on 9-1-1.

E-Comm call taker Mark Kolomejac has responded to many nuisance calls during his time as a police call taker. He says that although general questions and complaints might not seem like a significant burden, their impact on public safety can be detrimental. The worst part? The problem is preventable.

“Nuisance calls never belong on emergency lines, but it’s extremely concerning how often callers know their non-urgent concerns aren’t an appropriate reason to call 9-1-1. We regularly get callers stating ‘I know this isn’t an emergency, but I didn’t know who else to call,’” explains Mark.

“If you have a flat tire or a broken windshield wiper for example, we can’t help you on 9-1-1, but a towing company or roadside assistance will be able to get you the support that you need.”

He says that by making the right call, you can help ensure that your loved ones get the assistance that they need in an emergency. It can be confusing to know the right resource to reach out to, so E-Comm has a comprehensive list of alternative resources on its website:

nonemergency.ca

As we enter the New Year, E-Comm is encouraging British Columbians to commit to a resolution that they can keep—protecting the province’s critical emergency resources by keeping 9-1-1 lines free for police, fire and ambulance emergencies.

E-Comm answered a total of 2,109,440 calls on 9-1-1 in 2022, marking the busiest year in the organization’s history with a 1.8 per cent increase from 2021. Of these calls, 98 per cent were answered in five seconds or less – surpassing both E-Comm’s contracted service level and industry standards for 9-1-1 call answer.

Despite a publicly recognized rise in demand for all emergency services, E-Comm call takers continue to field nuisance calls on 9-1-1, diverting critical resources from British Columbians in real emergency situations.

Top 10 Nuisance Calls of 2022

1. The nozzle wasn’t working at the gas station

2. They had a flat tire

3. People were playing basketball on a public court at night time

4. Someone wasn’t picking up after their dog

5. Someone was using their garbage bin

6. Complaining about children drawing with chalk at a playground

7. Their phone was stuck in a bench

8. Looking for an update on a nationwide telco outage

9. Someone cut in line at the car wash

10. Someone called 9-1-1 because they had a broken window wiper

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