People looking to waste emergency dispatchers' time might want to follow these real-life examples released by the B.C. Ambulance Service:
* I think my house is infested with fleas. Can someone come and check it out?
* I can’t get through to my cell provider. Can you help me?
* My husband is driving me crazy. I need you to take him away.
* I need you to get hold of my doctor for me -- the office is closed.
* I’m out of beer.
* I swallowed toothpaste. I didn’t spit it out. Will it make me sick?
* There's a dead crow in my yard. Could I get West Nile disease from it?
* I don't need an ambulance, but if I do, how much does it cost?
* I have a doctor's appointment in the morning. Could you call me at 8:00 so I'm not late?
* What’s the phone number to the hospital nearest to me?
But seriously, they wish you wouldn't.
Gord Kirk, who oversees dispatch centres in Vancouver, Victoria and Kamloops, recommends 9-1-1 calls for ambulance service for medical emergencies only.
“It’s important to remember that we’re here to help people with emergency medical situations. Calls that are inappropriate divert resources from those who need swift medical attention.”
Alternatives to calling an ambulance include contacting the 8-1-1 tele-health service, accessing a walk-in clinic, making an appointment with a family doctor or visiting a hospital emergency department if necessary. Hospital emergency departments triage all patients that arrive, including those by ambulance.