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Mixed-up coffee orders, messy roommates top E-Comm’s 911 nuisance calls

E-Comm handles 99 per cent of B.C.’s 9-1-1 calls and urges the public to call for emergencies only

It was another unpredecedented year in 2021, leading to a high demand on 911 call takers. E-Comm received more than 1.9 million calls last year and experienced multiple days that were the busiest in its history.

“Our staff worked tirelessly throughout the heat dome, wildfires and flooding emergencies to support our first responder partners and get help to those who needed it as quickly as possible,” said Jasmine Bradley, E-Comm’s executive director of communications.

“It was disheartening to learn that we continued to receive 911 calls from people looking for information or trying to make general service complaints when so many communities were experiencing critical emergency situations.

E-Comm handles 99 per cent of B.C.’s emergency calls at two ecommunication centres. In an effort to educate the public about what kind of calls shouldn’t be directed to 911, E-Comm has released their list of the top 10 nuisance calls of 2021.

1. The barista mixed up their coffee order

2. A pedestrian was splashed on the sidewalk

3. Requesting a COVID test

4. Enquiring about becoming a 9-1-1 call taker

5. Wanting to know where they could vote during the federal election

6. Looking for weather updates

7. Asking for directions

8. Wondering why the bus wasn’t coming

9. Enquiring about COVID restrictions

10. Reporting a messy roommate

“Our call takers are trained to treat every call that comes through as an emergency until they can determine otherwise. Every second that they spend speaking with someone who is upset about a mixed-up coffee order or wanting to report a messy roommate is time they could have been helping someone in a life-threatening situation,” Bradley said.

Police, fire and medical emergencies that require an immediate response are the only reasons to call 911.

Non-emergency calls can be directed to the local 10 digit non-emergency numbers for police and fire stations. If you’re unsure whether your call is an emergency, dial 911 and emergency call takers will help determine if immediate action is required or if you should hang up and dial the non-emergency line.

READ MORE: New 911 system aims to increase number of calls E-Comm operators can take

READ MORE: Ambulance response times in question after B.C. woman waits 1 hour with broken hip


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