Nearly 40% of 911 calls in Mississauga, Brampton last year weren’t emergencies


Published April 11, 2022 at 2:26 pm

Peel Regional Police non-emergency calls to 911 October/November 2023

Too many accidental and non-emergency calls to 911 in Mississauga and Brampton are wasting the valuable time of police, firefighters and paramedics, Region of Peel officials and police say.

Last year, according to Peel statistics, nearly 40 per cent of all calls to 911 were not due to an emergency.

“This means that valuable time and resources were lost due to accidental calls and non-emergencies,” Region of Peel officials said in a news release today (April 10) announcing April 10-16 as 911 Awareness Week.

To ensure 911 services are used for emergencies only, the Region reminds residents to avoid non-emergency calls to 911 by:

  • only calling 911 when someone needs immediate help from paramedics, police or fire: that means someone’s health or property is in immediate danger
  • calling 311, 211 or non-emergency phone numbers for access to non-emergency help
  • remembering to dial 011 codes before calling internationally
  • locking your cell phone and not programing 911 into your phone
  • teaching your children how to recognize an emergency and how use 911 correctly

Last October, as part of an ongoing campaign to tell members of the public what they should and shouldn’t be using the 911 emergency service for, Peel Regional Police took to social media to drive the message home.  

“Calling 911 because you need to use the bathroom and the car ahead isn’t moving fast enough is definitely” not a proper use of 911, Peel police posted on their Twitter page at the time, referencing an actual call received last September by a Peel 911 call-taker. 

Region officials and police say that when calling 911 for a legitimate emergency, callers should stay on the phone with the 911 communicator to make sure they have the information they need to send emergency services to the correct location.

Location is difficult to determine on a cell phone, officials say.

Meanwhile, callers who dial 911 accidentally should not panic. 

“Stay on the phone so the communicator knows you’re okay. If you hang up, the communicator will call you back and may send emergency services to your location,” the Region says. 

The 911 service is available in 156 languages and available by text to members of the deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired community who have pre-registered their cell phones with their wireless provider.

During 911 Awareness Week, police and other first responders are also recognizing the efforts of 911 call-takers.

“The respect I have for our dedicated and professional communicators working with Peel Regional Police is immeasurable. You speak with people on their worst days and nights while communicating vital information to our officers. Thank you for everything you do; it matters and makes a difference.” said Peel police Chief Nishan Duraiappah.

Anthony Odoardi, Peel police deputy chief of innovation and technology, applauded the efforts of the “…resilient, compassionate and dedicated communication professionals working in our 911 centre.”

He added: “Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, you are the public’s first emergency personnel they connect with during a crisis. Your quick decision making, communication and technological skills are just some of the essential qualities that keep our communities safer.”

This week, police are making efforts to educate the public on proper 911 use, including:

  • when to call 911
  • how to avoid accidental 911 calls
  • mental health supports in Peel (toll free 1-888-811-2222)
  • Amber Alert education
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