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911 service in British Columbia releases top 10 list of ill-considered calls

VANCOUVER — British Columbia’s largest emergency dispatch centre has released a list of unnecessary calls it received this year, ranging from someone reporting a lost jacket to a retailer refusing to redeem a coupon.


December 28, 2018
By The Canadian Press

But E-Comm says the most inappropriate use of the service on its top 10 list occurred when someone reported a fast-food restaurant was not open 24 hours a day as advertised.

Heather Andrews handled that call and she says when someone phones 911 to complain about customer service, time is taken away from helping people with real safety issues.

The 911 centre handled 1.45 million calls between January and November. E-Comm handles 92 per cent of the province’s 911 calls.

Kayla Ryan answered a call from an irate consumer about a business refusing to accept the return of a pair of shoes without the original box.

“When someone calls 911 for general information, we still have to confirm the person is safe before completing the call,” she says in a news release. “Calling the police to complain about a store’s return policy isn’t a reason to call 911.”

E-Comm says other ill-considered calls to the emergency line this year included a complaint about a gas station attendant putting the wrong type of gas in a vehicle; concern that a rental company provided the wrong-sized vehicle for a customer’s reservation; a request for assistance in turning off a vehicle’s lights; a report that a set of windshield wipers had stopped working; and a question about the location of a towed car.

Capturing 10th place on the list was a call asking whether clocks move forward or backward during the spring time change.

“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,” says Jasmine Bradley, E-Comm’s corporate communications manager.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2018