Saskatchewan's emergency 911 telephone line is fielding dozens of unnecessary calls a week, according to the RCMP.

In a news release issued Tuesday, the  Mounties say they investigated more than 8,000 emergency calls in 2010 and at least 2,600 could have led to charges under the province's Emergency 911 System Act.

911 basics

  • Use 911 to  report any emergency situation where police (crime in progress), fire (car accident, building fire) or an ambulance (medical emergency) is required immediately.
  • In an non-emergency, RCMP in Saskatchewan can be contacted at the detachment that serves your community or by calling 310-RCMP (310-7267).
  • Children should be taught when to call  911 and the information they should pass on to the call taker. 

The number of false calls is surprising, Sgt. Kim MacNeil said, but she could not say exactly how many charges were laid.

While some of the calls might be attributable to children learning how to use 911, MacNeil said, there have also been prank calls and calls for matters that aren't police, fire or medical emergencies.

Some rural detachments have few officers covering a big area, and a false call could take officers away from people who need help.

Anyone found guilty of making false 911 calls could be fined up to $2,000 for a first offence and up to $5,000 for a subsequent offence.

 

With files from The Canadian Press