These were the top 10 worst reasons people called 911 in B.C. in 2020
VICTORIA -- B.C.’s 911 emergency dispatch centre, E-Comm, has released its annual top 10 list of the most needless 911 calls of the year.
The dispatch centre releases these lists every year to try to inform British Columbians not to tie up 911 call lines for non-emergencies, which can divert resources from real crises.
Some of 2020’s worst offenders include calling 911 to see if a trampoline was illegal to own during the pandemic, to confirm what time it was, and to complain that the "mattress they had purchased second hand was more soiled than advertised."
"Calling 911 to ask a question or report a consumer complaint may seem harmless enough. But, what people may not realize is that we need to treat every call as an emergency, until we can determine otherwise," said E-Comm call taker Megan McMath in a release Wednesday.
"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," she said.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, questions about health orders, unemployment benefits and food delivery services made their way on to this year’s top 10 list of needless 911 calls.
If people have questions about COVID-19 restrictions or health orders, E-Comm suggests visiting its list of COVID-19 information resources here, or contacting the BC government here or at 1-888-COVID-19.
"We understand that people are frustrated and worried about COVID-19-related issues, but general questions and complaints about the pandemic don’t belong on 911," said Kaila Butler, E-Comm senior communications specialist.
"Our goal each year with this list of nuisance calls is to drive home the message that we need the public’s help to keep 911 lines free for people experiencing real emergencies who need immediate assistance from police, fire or ambulance agencies," she said.
As of Dec. 30, 2020, E-Comm had handled more than 1.7 million 911 calls.
According to the emergency dispatch centre, these were the top 10 worst reasons people called 911 in B.C. this year:
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