Tuesday May 24, 2011


Local News 

Accidental, Abandoned 9-1-1 Calls Rampant

Chilliwack RCMP campaigning to reduce plague of mistaken emergency dial-ups 

Released by Cst. Tracey Wolbeck, RCMP Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment


he RCMP Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment 911 Operations Communications Center (OCC) located in Chilliwack is campaigning to reduce the huge volume of accidental emergency calls they receive on a daily basis.

This facility offers a centralized service to a combined population Last year, the OCC in Chilliwack received a total of 48,558 calls, of which 5,193 were abandoned. Over half (53%) of those abandoned calls were generated from mobile devices, as more and more people are primarily using wireless technology as means of communication.

The Manager of the Upper Fraser Valley OCC civilian member (CM) Shelly Mercer says that the OCC members spend a significant amount of time tracking abandoned 9-1-1 calls. That time is exponentially longer for police officers on the road attempting to follow up on abandoned calls.

Operators are required to call back dropped calls to determine whether they are real emergencies. If the operator is unable to get a hold of anyone, attempts to locate the caller is the next step then a police officer is dispatched to verify physically. Determining the location of a cell phone dropped/abandoned call requires much more effort. It means contacting the cell service provider to obtain subscriber information, obtaining their GPS coordinates and then dispatching police to the location.

Putting it in perspective, CM Shelly Mercer explains that “police officers are taken off the road for hours each day just to respond and verify abandoned calls. That precious time could be spent on investigating more serious offences and responding to real emergencies.”

Operators and officers alike are asking the public to please stay on the line if you accidentally call 9-1-1 and simply tell the operator there is no emergency. The operator will appreciate you saving them the time. Additionally, pick up the phone when you receive a call back after accidentally dialing the emergency line. This will avoid having a police
officer knock on your door.

Other very useful tips to eliminate accidental dialing of 9-1-1 include:

● Removing your mobile phones and wireless devices from your
pockets while you are driving or in a car to avoid accidental “pocket
● Removing 9-1-1 from your programmed speed dials whether on your
mobile phone or land line.
● If you realize you have dialed 9-1-1 by accident, please call
back to let an operator know there is no

For more information on when to call for emergency assistance, please visit our website at www.bc.rcmp.ca


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