Emergency call-takers at B.C.’s 911 centre report top-10 list of nuisance calls

VANCOUVER — British Columbia’s largest emergency call centre has released its list of nuisance calls for 2017 and while the collection may sound amusing, those answering the phone say it also highlights the dangers caused by such thoughtlessness.

Emergency Communications for B.C., or E-Comm, outlines in a news release that tenth on its annual list of annoying calls goes to anyone who dialed 911 to confirm the time after clocks fell back in the fall.

The ninth most annoying caller inquired if laws prohibit laundry at 6 a.m., while others asked if raccoons are dangerous, why a gas station wouldn’t accept coins as payment, or whether a closed sign on a beach washroom was legitimate.

Fifth place goes to the person who called for help because someone parked in their spot, and complaints about a tenant moving without returning door keys or a restaurant refusing a refund for inedible food ranked fourth and third respectively.

The person who reported another car was refusing to move forward at a gas pump captured second place on the list, while top spot goes to the salon patron who called 911 because she was upset the business would not change her nail polish colour.

Call-taker Christie Duncan fielded the call and says it’s just one example of what she hears every day, and such calls take her away from helping someone with a serious emergency.

“And believe it or not, this isn’t the first time I’ve received a call about the colour of nail polish,” Duncan says in the release.

E-Comm spokeswoman Jody Robertson says 911 is for police, fire or medical emergencies requiring immediate action and it must not be used as a customer complaint or general information service.

The centre handles about 1.36 million calls every year from communities across most of B.C.

Robertson says the absurd calls waste valuable resources and are more common than most people think.

“We’re asking the public to help us help,” she says.

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