Editorial: Stay on the line if you call 911

Because the call was dropped, RCMP didn’t know where they needed to go.

If you call 911, even by accident, it’s important for you to stay on the line.

Why this is so vital was made evident on Aug. 25 when North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP were notified of a call from someone, who did not stay on the line. The mention of a gun during that call made this an immediate top priority for law enforcement.

And here’s the thing. Because the call was dropped, RCMP didn’t know where they needed to go. Only a general area where the call came from.

With the caller anonymous, police don’t just let it go. Imagine what could happen if they did, and somebody was in serious trouble (which a call mentioning a firearm could well indicate). Of course we want them to thoroughly investigate in such a case.

Just last summer there was an inquest over a case where a woman was left, paralyzed and dying, inside a home for days because two RCMP officers who responded to a call about shots fired didn’t get out of the car to look around further. And in that case, the neighbour who called it in stayed on the line (though it was a police dispatcher, rather than 911).

So it may be slightly inconvenient for you if you’ve called 911 by mistake and stay on the line, as you should. Somebody will come out to your location and make sure there is nobody there in need of assistance. You may be asked a few questions. But the RCMP will be saved the time of having to go door-to-door to make sure that nobody in the vicinity is in trouble, as they had to do on Aug. 25. That takes a lot of manpower and distracts from other calls and investigations. You may be embarrassed that you pocket dialed 911, but that’s not a good reason to needlessly tie up police resources because you’re a little red in the face. Citizen reporter Robert Barron has talked about having just such an experience in one of his columns. In that case, after accidentally calling 911, he did stay on the line, the police did come to his door and look around, and then it was all over. RELATED: Robert Barron column: Respect needed for 911 program

So face up to your mistake; everybody makes them. It’s really not that bad.

Just Posted

Cowichan 49ers back on track with lopsided win

Steelheads beat Vic West for weekend sweep in masters soccer

Bantam Bulldogs up to challenge in provincial semi

Cowichan stares down adversity, takes lessons into B.C. final

Cowichan officials welcome new vaping regulations aim to protect youth

“Some vaping manufacturers are using flavours and ads to entice and normalize vaping for youth”

Editorial: Officials too slow to react to youth vaping epidemic

We can’t help but think it’s a little like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted, though.

UPDATE with VIDEO: Daughter calls for animal safety measures after fatal accident on Cowichan’s Hwy. 18

“Safety studies and improvements to Highway 18 are vitally important”

Most B.C. residents, including those hit by 2018 storms, not prepared for outages: report

Create an emergency kit, BC Hydro says, and report all outages or downed lines

Study finds microplastics in all remote Arctic beluga whales tested

Lead author Rhiannon Moore says she wasn’t expecting to see so many microplastics so far north

Services needed in B.C. for early-onset Alzheimer’s disease patients: doctor, advocates

More patients are being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at an earlier age

Nanaimo man caught with more than 200,000 child porn images to be sentenced

Crown says Aaron Macrae recorded video of children on buses and at his workplace

Vancouver Island hunters may have harvested deer in area known for chronic wasting disease

Conservation officers make urgent request to public for any information

65-million-year-old triceratops fossil arrives in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a Triceratops prosus

B.C. widow sues health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Most Read