British Columbia

A tiny parking spot and a bad haircut: Top 10 worst 911 calls of the year

E-Comm, an emergency communication agency, has released its annual list of the top 10 worst calls.
E-Comm officials are urging people to think twice before tying up emergency lines. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

Parking spot a bit of a squeeze? Got a bad haircut at a salon? 

Every year, British Columbians call 911 for issues that are not emergencies, and this year was no different. 

The top 10 worst calls of 2019 were released Monday by E-Comm, British Columbia's largest emergency call centre.

"Although these calls may seem absurd at the surface, our call-takers must take the time to investigate each one to make sure there isn't a real emergency," said Jasmine Bradley, E-Comm corporate communications manager.

"That takes time away from helping those in crisis."

Here is E-Comm's list of the top 10 most ridiculous 911 calls for 2019

  1. To complain that a hotel parking spot was too small.
  2. To complain that a hair salon didn't style their hair properly.
  3. To complain their neighbour was vacuuming late at night.
  4. Because they were upset the coin laundry machine didn't have enough water.
  5. To inquire why traffic was so bad.
  6. To request police bring a shovel to dig their car out of the snow in front of their house.
  7. Because police are being "too loud" responding to an emergency.
  8. To get information about water restrictions.
  9. To report a broken ATM machine.
  10. Because a gas station wouldn't let them use the washroom.

E-Comm, which deals with 99 per cent of the province's 911 calls, handled more than 1.6 million calls in 2019. 

"Sometimes, it feels like people may have forgotten that the reason to call 911 is to get help in a life or death situation," said Chelsea Brent, the call taker who handled the call on the list about the small parking spot. 

"I take a lot of 911 calls where, 'I know this isn't an emergency' are the first words out of the caller's mouth."

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