40% of 911 calls in Mississauga and Brampton aren’t emergencies

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Published April 10, 2023 at 1:06 pm

Anthony Urciuoli/hamilton.insauga.com photo

Nearly half of Mississauga and Brampton residents who call 911 aren’t doing so for legitimate emergencies, and such misuse could cost lives.

That’s the fear of Region of Peel officials, who note that last year nearly 40 per cent of all calls to 911 in Mississauga and Brampton were not due to an emergency. They were either non-emergency situations or accidental calls to the emergency service.

The statistics related to 911 calls were the same the previous year, 2021, when four out of 10 Peel residents also mistakenly called the emergency line.

So, it appears people are not getting the message, officials fear.

Such misuse of the life-saving service is wasting the valuable time of police, firefighters and paramedics, Region of Peel officials and police say.

“Valuable time and resources were lost. We ask our residents to ensure 911 services are used for emergencies only,” officials said in a news release today (April 10) that presented the concerning 911 statistics and announced the beginning of 911 Awareness Week in Mississauga and Brampton.

“Last year, Peel paramedics responded to more than 140,000 calls, making us one of the busiest paramedic services in the country,” said Peter Dundas, chief of Peel Regional Paramedics. “Please remember that 911 is for emergencies only, such as a life-threatening medical condition. If you call 911 for a minor illness or injury, you may be preventing paramedics from saving someone’s life.”

Last fall, Peel Regional Police took to social media to urge people to educate themselves on the proper use of 911 after it was revealed that 115,000 callers had simply hung up the previous year.

Officials say residents should:

  • call 911 only when someone needs immediate help from firefighters, police or paramedics
  • call 211, 311 or 811 or police non-emergency lines for other help
  • lock their cell phones and don’t program 911 into the devices
  • teach children how to use 911 correctly and how to recognize emergencies
  • stay on the phone if call 911 by accident so you can let operator know you’re okay and it’s not an emergency. If you hang up, operator may send emergency services to your location

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