By: NICOLE GNAZDOWSKY
Nova Scotia RCMP want you to know what calls are worthy of dialling 911 so they put on an event to give Halifax some examples.
Last Friday evening, RCMP tweeted the majority of the 911 calls dispatchers received over a three-hour period.
Andrew Joyce, media relations officer for the RCMP, says police wanted to show the public the volume of calls 911 dispatchers receive on an average day, as well as the kinds of calls that matter.
Dispatchers deal with all incoming calls, not just those that require police, firefighters, or paramedics to respond.
It was a slower than normal night, Joyce says, despite the snow, sleet and fog experienced overnight.
RCMP tweeted approximately 30 911 calls, throughout the period.
“While we had more calls for service then we could tweet out, the volume of calls was not what we expected given the conditions of Friday night.”
“It seems motorists stayed off the road during the storm and there weren’t many incidents to report in regards to accidents.”
There were only four tweets referring to motor vehicle accidents.
Joyce says the main goal of the tweets was to improve the 911 system and to make the public aware of how busy and complex the work of a dispatcher is on a given day.
“We should have an appreciation for what dispatchers do,” says Joyce, “What we saw on Twitter Friday night was only a grain of their daily activities.”
The calls ranged from reports of a missing eight-year-old boy in Indian Brook to underage drinking reports in Antigonish.
They also took the time to answer questions through tweets from the public about 911 services and what is considered a legitimate call.
Often times people will accidentally dial 911 and then hang up, one of the tips offered was to stay on the line if it was an accident to save time, as operators will always call you back.
The RCMP also posted short polls asking questions such as what is the most important thing to report during a call to an operator, the answer is your location.
Joyce believes the exercise was worthwhile based on the public’s social media interaction and it could happen again.