Each year E-Comm 911 receives “nuisance calls” that tie up the phone lines for people who might be trying to get through for real emergencies.
In 2022, E-Comm answered 2,109,440 911 calls, which is a 1.8 per cent increase from 2021.
Mark Kolomejac, an E-Comm call taker, says in a news release that people calling in for non-emergency resources can impact public safety, and the problem is completely 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,’” Kolomejac said. “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.”
In order to combat nuisance calls, E-Comm has put together a resource of non-emergency contacts that people can reach out to, instead of calling 911. The resource can be found on E-Comm’s website here.
Each year to raise awareness of the problem of nuisance calls, E-Comm puts together a list of the top 10 nuisance calls taken in the previous year.
In 2022, the top 10 calls are:
- The nozzle wasn’t working at the gas station
- They had a flat tire
- People were playing basketball on a public court at night time
- Someone wasn’t picking up after their dog
- Someone was using their garbage bin
- Complaining about children drawing with chalk at a playground
- Their phone was stuck in a bench
- Looking for an update on a nationwide telco outage
- Someone cut in line at the car wash
- Someone called 9-1-1 because they had a broken window wiper
E-Comm is the 911 operator for 25 regional districts in the province, and acts as dispatch for more than 70 police agencies and fire departments.
“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 said in a news release.