VANCOUVER – The agency that handles most emergency calls in British Columbia has announced 2022 was its busiest year, but along with managing life-saving communications, EComm says it is still receiving an unacceptable number of senseless calls.
EComm, which handles all but a fraction of B.C.’s 911 call volume, has released a list of top 10 frivolous complaints it says came in last year.
The list ranges from children drawing with chalk in a playground to a messy roommate, broken windshield wiper, cellphone stuck in a bench and, No. 1 on the list, a malfunctioning nozzle at a gas station.
Call takers say callers often admit they aren’t reporting an emergency but confess they don’t know who else can help, so EComm has posted a comprehensive list of alternative resources on its website at nonemergency.ca.
The agency says in a statement that general queries may not seem serious, but because each one ties up a call taker and could put public safety at risk, callers are urged to check the nonemergency list if they are uncertain before dialing 911.
EComm says it answered just over 2.1 million 911 calls last year, a 1.8 per cent increase from 2021.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 4, 2023.