E-Comm urges people to keep 911 clear for emergency calls

E-Comm's Jefferey Ching takes a call.
E-Comm's Jefferey Ching takes a call. E-Comm

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:

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  • 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.