Hours after the provincial government announced travel restrictions in a bid to bring down COVID infections, 911 operators in B.C. received a flood of calls from people confused about the new measures.
The volume prompted a reminder from E-Comm, the province’s largest emergency communications centre, about what types of calls are acceptable 911.
“We are receiving calls on 911 from ppl asking [questions] about travel restrictions,” E-Comm said in a Tweet issued Friday afternoon, adding. “Keep emergency lines free for [people] who need help from police, fire or ambulance.”
Sam Corea, a spokesperson for E-Comm, told CHEK News in an e-mailed statement that they don’t have specifics regarding the number of calls received from people asking about travel restrictions, but noted that there were enough calls to prompt a reminder.
“There’s been enough of them over the last day to prompt us to remind the public that they should not call 911 or police non-emergency numbers for questions about travel restrictions, or general information about COVID-19 and vaccines. When the new travel restrictions were first announced on Friday, we did receive an influx of such calls, but thankfully these questions have slowed down today,” said Corea.
“Still it’s important to remember that these questions are best directed to the provincial government or public health resources.”
People should only call 911 for police, fire, or medical emergencies when immediate action is required: someone’s health, safety or property is in jeopardy or a crime is in progress, according to E-Comm.
Under the new travel rules announced Friday, the Northern Health and Interior Health authorities will be viewed as one region, as will the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions.
Island Health’s boundaries will more or less remain the same save for some exceptions along the central coast and the Bella Coola Valley.
We are receiving calls on 911 from ppl asking q’s about travel restrictions. Remember: 911 is for emergencies ONLY. #HelpUsHelp keep emergency lines free for ppl who need help from police, fire or ambulance.
— E-Comm 9-1-1 (@EComm911_info) April 23, 2021