Scary spiders no 911 emergency: dispatchers

Callers dial for hockey scores or to complain of 'lousy' sandwich

E-Comm dispatcher taking 911 calls.

Do not dial 911 to ask dispatchers who won the hockey game.

And please, don’t call to report a broken TV as an emergency, or a big spider in your living room, no matter how scary it is.

Those are some of the nuisance 911 calls E-Comm spokesperson Jody Robertson says dispatchers must contend with regularly while trying to rapidly respond to real police, fire or medical emergencies.

The emergency dispatch centre for the Lower Mainland released a list of idiotic calls that should never have come to them.

One dialed 911 to complain about a “lousy tasting chicken sandwich” from a fast-food restaurant.

Another wanted police to make her daughter clean up her room.

Still another asked dispatchers if they knew if purchases could be returned to a certain store without a receipt on Boxing Day.

The list was released after what Robertson called the “very bizarre” spate of 911 calls from drivers in Burnaby stuck in a traffic jam at Metrotown mall on Boxing Day.

“The one that actually blew me away was the one where the fellow said he used 911 as his password for voicemail,” Robertson said. “So we were getting accidental calls from him repeatedly.”

Other cellphone users have asked how to configure voice mail settings or contact their cellular provider.

Robertson said people regularly call 911 to ask when power outages will end, when roads will be clear of snow after a storm and what day to adjust clocks for daylight savings time changes.

“911 is not an information line,” she said, urging people to use public information lines (such as BC Hydro’s for power updates) and non-emergency numbers for local police unless immediate action is required.

E-Comm answers nearly a million 911 calls each year for Metro Vancouver, the Sunshine Coast, Whistler, and Squamish.

About 100,000 calls per year – 10 per cent of the total – were made mistakenly, often from pocket dialing.

E-Comm recommends using keylocks, protective cass and not pre-programming 911 into phones to help cut down on the problem.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

South Surrey boy, 11, hopes to raise $3,000 for Sources – and be Prime Minister

White Rock Coldest Night of the Year event to take place Feb. 22

Recharged Sharks aim for playoffs after ‘well-earned’ break

Bayside rugby club mixes youth with returning veterans in quest for men’s Div. 1 title

Pedestrian fatality in Surrey

Police are investigating at 183 Street and Highway 10

Spring is looming – what are you most looking forward to?

Spring is looming – what are you most looking forward to?… Continue reading

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants make it nine straight

Roman scores hat trick as team dominates Seattle

Homicide team investigating after body found in Abbotsford

Resident finds deceased person on Keeping Road on Sumas Mountain

Most Read