A barista mixing up your coffee order isn’t a reason to call 911. Neither is reporting a messy roommate, enquiring about COVID-19 restrictions or asking for directions.
But it seems some BCers didn’t get the memo in 2021.
E-Comm, which handles 99 per cent of B.C.’s 911 call volume, including around Vancouver Island, has released its annual top 10 list of nuisance calls.
According to executive director Jasmine Bradley, the list comes on the heels of a rather hectic year.
“We received more than 1.9 million calls in 2021, and this was definitely the busiest year in our history, with some of the highest call volumes that we’ve ever seen in our 22 years of service,” Bradley tells Vista Radio.
Looking back, despite three provincial states of emergency and the ongoing pandemic, Bradley finds her staff continued to deal with non-urgent calls on 911 lines.
Top ten nuisance calls of 2021:
- The barista mixed up their coffee order
- A pedestrian was splashed on the sidewalk
- Requesting a COVID test
- Enquiring about becoming a 9-1-1 call taker
- Wanting to know where they could vote during the federal election
- Looking for weather updates
- Asking for directions
- Wondering why the bus wasn’t coming
- Enquiring about COVID restrictions
- Reporting a messy roommate
Bradley calls the misuse of 911 lines “extremely concerning.” She says it’s the first point of contact for someone experiencing a life or death emergency, so it’s critical these lines are free from non-urgent situations.
By sharing a recap list each year, E-Comm hopes to remind people that every time someone calls about a non-urgent matter, they put the lives of others at risk.
“I enjoy my cup of coffee in the morning, but if something goes wrong with it, I’m not going to be calling 911 to complain,” Bradley adds.
Despite floods, fires, extreme heat and the pandemic, we continued to receive calls on 9-1-1 that don’t belong, diverting critical resources away from people in real emergencies. Curious to know what calls made our top ten list last year? Visit: https://t.co/ynEZmQwozG #911BC pic.twitter.com/Uo6DdJNBdw
— E-Comm 9-1-1 (@EComm911_info) January 7, 2022