Hamilton

9-year-old girl calls 911 after her mom tells her to clean her room: OPP

Provincial police are asking caregivers to remind their children that 911 calls are for emergencies only after they say a 9-year-old called police because her mom told her to clean her room.

Police say it takes 2 officers about 30 minutes to respond to a call

Provincial police are asking families discuss the proper use of 911 after a 9-year-old reportedly called police because her parents asked her to clean her room. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

A nine-year-old girl called 911 Saturday because her mom asked her to clean her room, say provincial police.

OPP officers rushed to a home in Simcoe, Ont. around 3:45 p.m. after the young girl dialled the emergency number.

But investigators soon determined the reason they were called in was because the girl had become upset after a parent had asked her to tidy up, according to Const. Ed Sanchuck.

"She didn't like the fact her mother told her to clean her room so she contacted authorities," he said.

Now police are asking caregivers to sit down with their children to remind them that 911 calls are only for emergencies.

It takes at least two officers about 30 minutes to respond to and investigate each call, Sanchuk added. That means unnecessary calls put "enormous" pressure on OPP resources.

"Whether false alarms are intentional or unintentional, they tie up the phone lines at the communications centre, waste taxpayer money, tie up law enforcement officers and threaten lives."

Dialling 911 can save lives, and police want to be sure people who need urgent help call, but they're also encouraging families to discuss when and how it should be used.

The OPP provided the following tips on proper 911 use:

  • Avoid misdials by making sure you know what number you're supposed to be keying in.
  • Lock your cell phone number pad.
  • Teach your children the proper use of 911.
  • If you do dial 911 by mistake, do not hang up. Stay on the phone so the dispatcher can ascertain your safety and let them know it was a mistake.

Sanchuk said there was no criminal intent to the girl's call, so beyond a talking to she won't face any other outcome.

Messy rooms aren't the only non-emergency calls Norfolk County OPP have responded to recently.

"We've had previous cases where a key was stuck in a safety deposit box at a financial institution and a grown adult contacted 911 because they couldn't get the key out," said Sanchuk, explaining understanding the importance of 911 is a lesson people of all ages could use a refresher on.

"We're just asking people to use some common sense."

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