A Canadian call centre has revealed its top ten reasons not to call 911 for this year, including a motorist reporting their windshield wipers had broken and someone who asked if the clocks move forward or backward in spring.
Among the callers wasting valuable time on the emergency line, was a person complaining that a fast food restaurant wasn’t opened 24-hours-a-day as advertised and someone who lost their jacket.
Another called 911 asking for help turning off their car lights.
B.C.-based E-Comm is the largest 911 call centre in the province and handled more than 1.45 million emergency calls from January to November this year.
“Most people use 911 responsibly,” said Jasmine Bradley, E-Comm’s corporate communications manager.
“But calls such as those on this year’s headscratcher list waste valuable emergency resources that would otherwise be available to someone who’s health, safety or property was in jeopardy or a crime was in progress.”
Staff there implored people not to tie up the lifeline with calls such as consumer complaints or vehicle malfunctions.
Call handler Kayla Ryan took a call about a retailer not accepting a return of shoes without the original box.
“We are here to help people in emergency situations,” said Ryan.
“When someone calls 911 for general information, we still have to confirm the person is safe before completing the call.”
E-Comm reminded the public that 911 is for police, fire or medical emergencies.
“This type of call ties up our ability to help people with real emergencies,” said call taker Heather Andrews.
“Dealing with a complaint about the opening hours of a restaurant is a call that doesn’t belong on 911.”
E-Comm’s top 10 reasons not to call 911 in 2018
1. To complain a local fast food restaurant wasn’t open 24-hours-a-day, as advertised
2. To complain a store won’t take shoes back without the original box
3. To complain that a gas station attendant put the wrong type of gas in their car
4. To report a rental company provided the wrong-sized vehicle for a customer’s reservation
5. To report a restaurant wouldn’t redeem a customer’s coupon
6. To ask for help turning off their car lights
7. To report their vehicle’s windshield wipers had stopped working
8. To find out where their car had been towed
9. To report a lost jacket
10. To ask if the clocks move forward or backward during the spring time change