British Columbia

Complaints about food delivery No. 1 on annual list of nuisance 911 calls

The presence of COVID-19 gave a different twist to some 911 calls this year, with food delivery complaints and questions about lockdown topping E-Comm's annual list of the worst reasons people called the emergency line. 

E-Comm dispatchers say non-urgent calls divert critical resources from real emergencies

E-Comm dispatchers said this year they received a call from an individual complaining that the mattress they had purchased second-hand was more soiled than advertised. (E-Comm)

The presence of COVID-19 gave a different twist to some 911 calls this year, with food delivery complaints and questions about lockdown topping E-Comm's annual list of the worst reasons people called the emergency line. 

Inquiries about the legality of owning a trampoline during a pandemic and requests for assistance applying for CERB also made the list of ridiculous calls to B.C.'s largest emergency call centre. 

E-Comm released their annual list of nuisance callers on Wednesday in an effort to remind the public that 911 should only be dialled in an emergency.

This year, in addition to the COVID-19 related inquiries, E-Comm dispatchers dealt with some familiar consumer complaints, including calls about bank cards stuck in ATM machines, and smoking in restricted areas.

E-Comm dispatcher Meghan McMath says general complaints to the emergency line that aren't police, fire or ambulance matters, divert critical resources from those in real emergencies.

"That means that every moment we spend responding to general questions, concerns or complaints takes away from our priority — helping people who need help right away," McMath said in a written statement.

E-Comm officials say inquires that are not urgent, such as confirming the time, are all "inappropriate" as they "don't involve immediate risk to life or property."

Here is E-Comm's top 10 reasons not to call 911 in 2020:

  1. To complain that a food delivery driver did not deliver a meal.
  2. To inquire if there is a full lockdown for COVID-19.
  3. To ask if having a trampoline is illegal during COVID-19.
  4. To ask for assistance applying for CERB.
  5. To complain that a mattress purchased second-hand was more soiled than advertised.
  6. To report that a bank card was stuck in the ATM.
  7. To report a neighbour for smoking in a non-smoking building.
  8. To inquire about how to enter a career in law enforcement.
  9. To confirm the time.
  10. To ask for help after getting locked out of the car.

E-Comm has handled more than 1.7 million 911 calls this year at its two centres on Vancouver Island and in East Vancouver, according to a written statement.

The organization is the first point of contact for 911 callers in 25 regional districts in the province and provides dispatch services for more than 70 police agencies and fire departments across B.C.

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