Parking stall spats, bad food and even woeful nail colours — annoying, yes.
Reasons to call 911? No.
Teachable moments, lessons learned, or just plain WTF? scenarios, those are just of a few of the lowlights featured in the E-Comm 911 service’s top 10 nuisance calls list for 2017.
Released Thursday, Dec. 28, the annual ranking is highlighted by this headscratcher: a complaint over a salon that wouldn’t change a customer’s nail colour.
“Spending time on calls like these takes me away from being available to help someone who is [in] a serious emergency situation,” said E-Comm call taker Christie Duncan in a news release. “And believe it or not, this isn’t the first time I’ve received a call about the colour of nail polish.”
E-Comm is B.C.’s largest emergency communications centre and receives more than 1.3 million calls annually. The emergency call service covers 26 regional districts and communities from Vancouver Island to Alberta, and from the U.S. border to north of Prince George. E-Comm is also tasked with dispatch services to 36 police agencies and fire departments in southwest B.C.
Outside of the salon fiasco, the following calls from across Metro Vancouver round out E-Comm’s top 10 list.
* Car refusing to move forward at a gas station pump
* To report food was inedible and restaurant refusing to provide refund
* Complaining tenant moved without returning keys
* Calling because someone parked in their parking spot
* Wondering if a washroom closed sign at a popular beach was legitimate
* Complaining gas station wouldn’t accept coins for payment
* Calling to ask if raccoons are dangerous animals
* Asking if there’s a law preventing washing clothes at 6 a.m.
* Calling to check the time following the fall time change
“As you can see by our 2017 list, some people believe 9-1-1 can be used as a customer complaint or general information service,” said Jody Robertson, E-Comm’s executive director of corporate communications, in a news release. “While these calls are absurd, they’re more common than you might think. The fact is, every time a 911 call taker handles one of these calls, we waste valuable resources. We’re asking the public to help us help.”
If nothing else, releasing the year-end list gives E-Comm staffers a chance to hammer home a poignant reminder: 911 is for police, fire or medical emergencies when immediate action is needed. Otherwise, call your local non-emergency line. Locally, the Vancouver Police Department’s non-emergency line is 604-717-3321.
“Non-emergency lines are for important police matters. None of the items on our list is a police matter,” Robertson said.