There are many reasons people call 911 and they’re often urgent – or even life-or-death – emergencies.
Unfortunately, many people call 911 for reasons that are not urgent, or emergencies, or issues that police, firefighters and paramedics would ever respond to.
“Our AC needs to be turned down,” is not a reason to call.
“I live in a condo and my upstairs neighbours are walking loudly,” is not a reason to call.
Nor should people call 911 to complain about people not picking up after their dog, or cutting in line at the car wash, or to complain about children drawing with chalk at a playground.
These were just some of the reasons residents throughout White Rock, Surrey and all of British Columbia called 911 in 2022.
In Surrey – which dispatches White Rock’s 911 calls as well – RCMP tweeted about the misuse of 911 with a list of several reasons why area residents called police last year.
Misuse of 911 ties up phone lines for people who are actually experiencing an emergency.
Check out some of the reasons people have called our Operational Communications Centre! pic.twitter.com/B7ELP26mtk
— Surrey RCMP (@SurreyRCMP) December 6, 2022
• My neighbours are being noisy (party) and I can’t sleep
• Can you order me a taxi?
• I need to book my vaccines – I don’t know who to call
• My Uber Eats isn’t working
• My neighbour is cutting his grass and I’m having a family function
• I’m currently working from home due to COVID and my roommate has eaten all my chicken
• A business is refusing my service
• My neighbours are playing video games loudly and I don’t want to stay on hold with bylaws
“For some people, 911 is a lifeline. They are calling 9-1-1 because they need first responders to respond as quickly as possible,” said Surrey RCMP Cpl. Vanessa Munn.
“Calling 911 when it’s not an emergency and tying up those (phone) lines could delay someone getting the help they really need.”
E-Comm, which handles 99 per cent of B.C.’s 911 call volume at its two emergency communications centres, released its annual top 10 list of calls that don’t belong on 911 on Wednesday (Jan. 4), and while they don’t say where in B.C. the calls came from, the Top 10 list of nuisance calls featured some truly inane ‘reasons.’
They included the nozzle not working at a gas station, people playing on a basketball court at night, a phone getting stuck in a bench and a broken window wiper, among others.