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Emergency 9-1-1

9-1-1 is a 24 hour line for police, fire, or medical emergencies when immediate action is required. When someone’s health, safety or property is in jeopardy or a crime is in progress.

For more information regarding 9-1-1, please refer to E-Comm 9-1-1

Examples of when to call 9-1-1:

  • Police related examples:
    • An immediate threat to someone’s safety or life, such as screams, attacks, gunshots, bomb threats, and car accidents with injuries.
    • An in-process crime, like a fight or a break-in, or report of an impaired driver
    • A serious crime that has just happened, like a sexual assault or a robbery
    • Suspicious circumstances or people that could indicate a crime is about to happen, such as prowler.

If you are ever unsure about whether or not your call is an emergency, please call 9-1-1.

  • Fire department related examples:
    • Suspected gas leak. If you smell natural gas (rotten egg odour) inside a building.
    • Active fire such as vehicles on fire, brush fire, building on fire, witnessing a fire, etc.
    • Smoke or smell of smoke. For example, if you smell smoke but cannot locate the source or if you see smoke inside a building.
    • If a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm goes off.
    • Rescue situations. If someone is trapped in a confined space such as the elevator, vehicle accident, etc.
    • Hazardous chemicals / materials. If you witness a spill or release of hazardous materials.
  • Ambulance related examples:
    • Any emergency medical situation such as overdoses, heart attack, stroke, serious bleeding, etc.

What happens when you call 9-1-1?

The first question E-Comm call taker will ask is “Do you need police, fire, or ambulance?”. The call taker will also ask for the municipality (city). The call will then be transferred to the agency the caller requested. For example:

  • If the caller needs police assistance in Vancouver, E-Comm call taker will connect the caller with Vancouver police department emergency dispatcher.

If you aren’t sure which service you need, the E-Comm call taker is trained to ask a few brief questions to help which agency is required. Once connected to the agency, the dispatcher can, at any time, also contact other agencies to assist with response. For example, if the BC Emergency Health Services receives a call where police presence is required, they will contact the appropriate department/detachment for assistance.

I can’t speak English when I call 9-1-1

E-Comm has interpretation services available in more than 200 languages. You only need to speak two words, the “services you want (police, fire, or ambulance)” and “language you spoke” in English. 

  • For example: when you need police service, say “police” and “mandarin”.

If you can speak a little English, that is very helpful and often is all the E-Comm call takers need to collect information. Please do not be shy to try to speak English.

General tips when calling 9-1-1

You are encouraged to:

  • Listen carefully, speak clearly and try to remain calm
  • Stay on the line, DO NOT hang up until the call taker says it’s okay to
  • Know your location at all times and communicate it to the call taker. E.g., street name, unit number, compass direction (north, east, south, west), etc.
  • Follow 9-1-1 call taker’s instructions.

For more information, please refer to E-Comm 9-1-1 tips.

Please DO NOT:

  • Call 9-1-1 for a non-emergency. 9-1-1 is to be used for emergencies only.
  • Call 9-1-1 and ask for non-emergency numbers
  • Call 9-1-1 to test your phone emergency function
  • Call 9-1-1 to contact a specific police officer or emergency personnel
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