Hal­i­fax 12-year-old called 911 to com­plain about salad: RCMP

Journal Pioneer - - NEWS - BY KEITH DOUCETTE

RCMP are is­su­ing a gen­tle re­minder about proper 911 use af­ter a 12-year-old called to ex­press their dis­like of salad. The Moun­ties say Hal­i­fax dis­patch­ers re­ceived a call just be­fore 10 p.m. Tues­day from a youth who said their guardian made a salad they didn’t like. “The child was up­set and did not care for what the par­ent put in the salad,’’ said RCMP spokesman Cpl. Dal Hutchin­son. “As a mem­ber was re­spond­ing, they called back again won­der­ing where the po­lice of­fi­cer was and that they were very un­happy with what in­gre­di­ents were in their salad.’’ Po­lice say they took the op­por­tu­nity to speak to the child about what hap­pened and also about when it’s ap­pro­pri­ate to call 911. “While many can re­late to the dis­like of a salad at times, this raises a more im­por­tant is­sue that war­rants dis­cus­sion at all ages,’’ Hutchin­son said in a re­lease Thurs­day. Hutchin­son said in an in­ter­view the in­ci­dent isn’t iso­lated and those like it pose a se­ri­ous risk when emer­gency re­spon­ders go to a scene where they aren’t needed. “Some­times it takes us to a lo­ca­tion out of our cov­er­age area that is at the op­po­site end of where an ac­tual real emer­gency call may come in,’’ he said. He said he knows of var­i­ous in­stances, in­clud­ing one where some­one was up­set that there wasn’t enough meat in their don­air. In another, an up­set caller couldn’t find their tele­vi­sion re­mote, Hutchin­son said, while one par­ent was up­set that a bar­ber didn’t do a good enough job on their child’s hair­cut. “On a reg­u­lar ba­sis we get (those) calls from peo­ple,’’ said Hutchin­son, who added that im­proper use of 911 can re­sult in a fine of $697.50. Within the last two weeks alone there have been more than two dozen bo­gus 911 calls in Nova Sco­tia, he said. Im­proper 911 use is a problem across Canada and in other parts of the world. In De­cem­ber, a 51-year-old Florida man was charged with mis­us­ing the emer­gency line af­ter he called twice to com­plain about the size of the meal served to him at Crabby’s Seafood Shack in Stu­art, Fla., telling dis­patch­ers: “I or­dered some­thing, and it was ex­tremely so small.’’ In 2016, the Las Vegas-area fire depart­ment held a news con­fer­ence to ask peo­ple to not call over “stubbed toes and sore throats,’’ while po­lice in Kentucky pointed out that peo­ple of­ten called them to ask di­rec­tions. In 2016, the Royal New­found­land Con­stab­u­lary said an up­set St. John’s woman called 911 to re­port her pizza didn’t have enough cheese. That same year, po­lice in Ed­mon­ton launched a pub­lic aware­ness cam­paign be­cause the sit­u­a­tion had be­come so ridicu­lous. They said about 40 per cent of the 911 calls they han­dled through the emer­gency ser­vice were bo­gus. In De­cem­ber 2015, Bri­tish Columbia’s largest 911 call cen­tre, E-Comm911, is­sued a list of the top 10 rea­sons not to call the emer­gency line, based on ac­tual calls re­ceived that year. Among them: Re­quest­ing the num­ber for a lo­cal tire deal­er­ship; re­port­ing an is­sue with a vend­ing ma­chine; ask­ing for the non-emer­gency line; com­plain­ing a car was parked too close to theirs; re­port­ing that a child wouldn’t put his seat­belt on; telling po­lice about a cof­fee shop that re­fused to give a re­fill; ask­ing if it’s OK to park on the street; re­port­ing some­one had used a room­mate’s tooth­brush; seek­ing help get­ting a basketball out of a tree; and com­plain­ing that their build­ing’s noisy air sys­tem was keep­ing them awake.

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