Dialing 911 isn’t a call most people want to make, but it can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency. There are, however, a lot of bad excuses for dialing dispatch.
E-Comm, the province’s emergency dispatch service released the top ten examples of nuisance calls they received from the past 12 months.
Call-takers Jim Beland and Chris Faris had the top two 9-1-1 nuisance calls of the year: a broken gym locker and someone enquiring about job opportunities with the police.
“I’d like to be able to say that calls such as the ones on our top ten list are rare, but unfortunately this isn’t the case,” Beland said. “As call-takers, our job is to treat each call as an emergency until we can determine otherwise, and this takes time. We want our time reserved for people who need help because they have a legitimate emergency.”
Faris agrees. “Unfortunately, we do get a lot of people who call 9-1-1 thinking it can be used as an information hotline. We get a lot of calls that start off with ‘this is not an emergency but…’ and that’s a concern when we know there are other people out there who need our help.”
E-Comm receives approximately 1.35 million calls every year to 9-1-1, and any time a 9-1-1 line is taken up for the reason that does not require immediate action from emergency services, lives could be at risk.
Here are the top 10 most ridiculous BC 9-1-1 calls of 2016:
- Requesting help opening a broken gym locker
- Enquiring about job opportunities for a family member interested in police work
- Because an electric shaver would not turn off
- Requesting a ladder to get a soccer ball off the roof
- How best to get a drone down from a tree
- Tired of waiting in traffic
- “There’s a big spider in the bathroom”
- Complaining they couldn’t get into a nightclub
- Because their teenager refused to do chores
- “Can you tell me what time it is?”