The latest estimates from E-Comm, B.C.’s largest emergency communications centre, says one-in-five 911 calls aren’t urgent.
The organization is putting out another call to make sure people recognize when to call 911 and when to call your local non-emergency police.
Recently, dispatchers say they’ve had to take quite a few non-emergency calls, which can divert resources from where they’re needed the most.
READ MORE: When should you call 9-1-1?
“911 is for those who need assistance right away – their health, safety or property is in immediate jeopardy, or a crime is in progress,” says Jasmine Bradley, E-Comm’s manager of corporate communications.
Some of the recent examples where call-takers took non-emergency calls include:
- Vehicle break-in that happened three days earlier
- Motor vehicle crash with no injuries and the vehicle was driveable
- A break-in that occurred 90 minutes earlier, with no suspect on scene and no one at risk
E-Comm police call-taker Jefferey Ching took the call about the three-day-old vehicle break-in:
“Before we ask a 911 caller to hang-up and call their local non-emergency number, we have to take time to assess whether the situation is an actual emergency. My caller certainly needed to report that break-in to police, but the non-emergency line is a better choice so that if someone calls 911 for a true emergency, they get through as soon as possible. ”
E-Comm does note if there is ever any doubt as to whether or not someone is in danger, they should call 911.
To find out what the non-emergency police number is for your municipality, click here.