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911 Gets 100,000 Accidental Calls In Metro Vancouver

More than 100,000 calls were made to 911 by accident in Metro Vancouver and surrounding areas in 2011, according to E-Comm – the regional emergency communications centre.

Based on a recent analysis of call statistics, E-Comm found 10 per cent of the more than one million 911 calls it received in 2011 were dialed by mistake.

“I’ve had a lot of calls from Rogers Arena when the Canucks were playing,” said Corey Kelso, an E-Comm 911 call-taker. “I’ve heard pucks drop, I’ve heard the announcements, and I’ve actually heard Richard Loney singing the national anthem.”

E-Comm estimates more than 70,000 of those calls, or 200 per day, were “pocket dials” or inadvertent calls from cell phones and 40,000 more were “abandoned” calls, or hang-ups.

In 2011, 58 per cent of E-Comm’s 911 call volume came from cell phones, an all-time high and up 10 per cent in just four years.

E-Comm is asking the public to help out by using keylocks, storing cell phones in protective cases and not pre-programming 911 into any phone.

“The safety of the public and first responders is our priority,” said Doug Watson, E-Comm’s vice-president of 911 Operations.

“In addition to our education efforts, we’d like to see cell-phone manufacturers and telecommunications industry groups try to ensure better safeguards are put in place on phones to prevent pocket dials to 911 in the first place.”


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