911 operators saw ‘surge’ of nuisance calls during Vancouver power outage

E-Comm urged the public to use 911 only in the case of true emergencies. Kativ / Getty Images

A surge in 911 calls following a power outage in Vancouver on Wednesday morning has led to a reminder that people should only call when there is a genuine emergency.

E-Comm said it experienced a surge in 911 calls during power outages that affected more than 60,000 customers sometime after 9:15 a.m.

Read more: ‘It’s not like television’: Why you should know exactly where you are when calling 911

According to E-Comm, 911 operators experienced an increase in calls from residents looking for updates on power outages and even asking how to handle four-way stops at intersections where traffic lights were not functioning.

E-Comm said that calling 911 when emergency service is not actually needed ties up operators, who should be helping people in life-or-death situations.

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BC Hydro said the power outage was caused by a transmission failure at a substation near Arbutus St. and King Edward Ave.

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— With files from Simon Little

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