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Mixed up coffee orders, COVID confusion among top ‘nuisance calls’ to B.C. 911 operators

During 911's busiest year to date people actually called in to report messy roommates or ask why the bus wasn't coming
911 operator E-Comm
E-Comm, which handles most of British Columbia’s 911 call volume has released its annual top 10 list of calls that don’t belong on 911.

Calls to 911 reporting messy roommates are just one of the repeated nuisance calls that have wasted operators' precious time during the busiest year in the service’s history.

E-Comm, which handles 99 per cent of the province’s 911 call volume has once again released its annual top 10 list of calls that do not warrant emergency services. The company received more than 1.9 million 911 calls in 2021, a year in which the service had some of its single busiest days.

Between three provincial states of emergency, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, high demand for police, fire, and ambulance services, there was no shortage of reasons to call 911 in 2021. Even still, E-Comm call takers continued to field familiar complaints and general questions about COVID-19.

“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 spokesperson in a recent release. “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.”

Bradley went on to say that every second that operators spend speaking with someone who doesn’t have a real emergency is time they could have spent helping someone in a life-threatening situation.

By sharing their list of “nuisance calls” each year, E-Comm hopes to remind everyone that every time 911 is called for a non-urgent matter, they put the lives of other British Columbians at risk.

So here they are, the top ten 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 911 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