9-1-1 headscratchers

9-1-1 headscratchers: calls in 2018 that didn’t belong on the emergency line

Call taker Heather Andrews
Call taker Heather Andrews
Call taker Heather Andrews answered the number one call on E-Comm’s 2018 top 10 list of nuisance calls.

A call to 9-1-1 from someone complaining that a fast food restaurant wasn’t open 24-hours-a-day, as advertised, was number one on E-Comm’s 2018 top 10 list of 9-1-1 nuisance calls.

For the sixth year in a row, E-Comm’s year-end media outreach initiative drew great interest from B.C. newsrooms and on social media.

Call taker Heather Andrews handled the fast food restaurant complaint and says when someone calls 9-1-1 just to complain about customer service at a business, time is taken away from helping people with real life safety issues.

“This type of call ties up our ability to help people with real emergencies. Dealing with a complaint about the opening hours of a restaurant is a call that doesn’t belong on 9-1-1.”

Heather Andrews,
E-Comm call taker

Consumer complaints—ranging from a store not accepting return of shoes without their original box to a restaurant not honouring a coupon—were a common theme on this year’s nuisance call list. Callers with vehicle questions such as asking for help to turn off headlights and reporting their windshield wipers had stopped working also make their way onto the list.

Call taker Kayla Ryan handled the call about a shoebox question. “We are here to help people in emergency situations,” said Ryan. “When someone calls 9-1-1 for general information, we still have to confirm the person is safe before completing the call. Calling the police to complain about a store’s return policy isn’t a reason to call 9-1-1.”

The focus of the annual campaign is to bring attention to how calls like these can impede someone from getting help, according to Jasmine Bradley, E-Comm Corporate Communications manager. By publishing  the list, the goal is to remind the public that 9-1-1 is for police, fire or medical emergencies when a response is needed right away. “Most people use 9-1-1 responsibly,” said Bradley, “but calls such as those on this year’s headscratcher list waste valuable emergency resources that would otherwise be available to someone whose health, safety or property was in jeopardy or a crime was in progress.”

E-Comm compiles its annual 9-1-1 headscratchers list from calls submitted by its call-taking staff.

E-Comm’s top 10 reasons not to call 9-1-1 in 2018