WHEN DO I CALL 9-1-1?
911 should only be called for situations involving a crime in progress, or an imminent threat to life, bodily injury, or major property damage or loss.
A break and enter in progress, an individual with a weapon on the street, or a traffic accident with serious injuries are examples of police emergencies where you would call 911.
Other calls that are important to our Communication Centre but are not deemed 911 emergency calls would be a traffic accident with no injuries, break-ins, theft and mischief complaints where the suspect is gone, cars blocking traffic, and intoxicated persons or persons using drugs that are not being disorderly. These types of call will be handled on our non-emergency line which is 250-995-7654.
Callers that call 911 to report a non-emergency event will be asked to hang up and call the non-emergency line. Further conversations cannot occur on the 911 line to ensure the lines remain available for immediate emergency calls.
IF YOU CALL 911, REMEMBER:
- The first question you will receive is do you require Police, Fire or Ambulance. Remember to speak calmly and clearly.
- Tell the 911 operator what type of problem you have.
- Ensure that you do not hang up until the 911 operator indicates you are safe to do so. Emergency units will be dispatched and on the way while you are still on the phone with the 911 operator.
- We need your help in ensuring you answer the questions that you are being asked. Be prepared to give the location of the problem, suspect descriptions if applicable, your name, address, and phone number.
- Allow the 911 operator to ask the questions. They have been trained to ask questions that will prioritize the incident and get the necessary information to the emergency personnel as needed.
- Information that may not seem important to you could be very important to the responding emergency personnel. Your cooperation benefits the 911 operator and emergency personnel.
- Following the instructions the 911 operator gives you ensures safety for all.
- Do not call 911 and hang up. If you dialed the wrong number stay on the line and advise the 911 operator that you have dialed by mistake and that you do not have an emergency.
- For any 911 calls received where there is no answer from the caller, follow up will occur. Please cooperate with the 911 operator and emergency personnel for these situations so we can ensure your safety.
- It is not recommended that you program 911 into your speed dial lines on your phone.
- Don't provide your child a deactivated cellular phone without removing the battery first. The phone may still allow for 911 calls to go through.
Why do the operators ask so many questions prior to having the police dispatched to the call?
Why do the operators always ask for my date of birth?
All Police departments within the Province of British Columbia operate on a Provincial CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) and RMS (Records Management System). Frequently we have individuals in the database with the same name, however are different people. To ensure your data is not merged with another individual with the same name that is not actually you, your date of birth helps us to differentiate you as a different person.
The Communication staff are instructed to ask this question of each caller to help populate the database correctly.
Why does it seem that we can be on hold for a long period of time just to make a complaint?
Often times there are numerous incoming calls into our Communication Centre. When 911 calls come in, all other non-emergency calls are placed on hold to ensure 911 is answered in a timely manner. Unfortunately wait times occur during very busy periods.
In an effort to reduce waiting times we have implemented an online Reporting system where you can report minor incidents where there are no suspects. You can access online Reporting through our website at www.vicpd.ca.
Do I have the right to refuse to give my date of birth?
Are all the Communication staff police officers?
If I would like to discuss the level of service I received from the Communication Centre, how would I go about doing this?
If I spoke to the Communication Supervisors and still am not satisfied in how my situation was dealt with, what else can I do?