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Don't call 911 if your burger is served cold: Coquitlam RCMP

The RCMP serving Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Anmore, Belcarra and Kwikwetlem First Nation is asking the public not to dial 911 if police action isn’t immediately needed.
Coquitlam RCMP has unveiled some of its most unusual, and unnecessary, 911 calls of the past year.

Coquitlam RCMP typically field more than 68,000 calls for service each year.

But many of them are not emergencies at all.

Now, the detachment is asking the public not to dial 911 if police action isn’t immediately needed.

The request comes from the telecommunications supervisor for the Coquitlam RCMP Operational Communication Centre (OCC) at the start of the new year.

"We must treat every 911 call as an emergency until we can determine otherwise," said Jill Van Os in a news release issued today, Jan. 12.

"Every second we spend answering frivolous questions about cold food or how to issue refunds is time taken away from helping someone in potentially life-threatening situation."

Here are some examples of when it’s not appropriate to call 911:

  • A fast food burger was cold and the restaurant wouldn’t issue a refund. The caller wanted police to force a refund.
  • A caller became frightened after watching a scary movie and was advised to turn off the movie and watch something else.
  • A caller wanted assistance being put through to their pharmacy after they were put on hold six times.

Instead, if a crime has already been committed and there’s no immediate risk to the public, you can:

Here’s when you should call 911:

  • someone’s life is in danger and every second counts
  • a crime is in progress: a fight, a break and enter or violent occurrence involving a weapon
  • there’s been a motor vehicle accident with significant injuries
  • you are witnessing an erratic or possibly impaired driver

And, if you accidentally phone 911, stay on the line and speak with the operator to clear the call.

"This is to ensure the safety and well-being of the caller," explained Coqutilam RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Alexa Hodgins.