Peel Proclaims 9-1-1 Awareness Week
(Brampton) – In 2004, Peel’s emergency communicators responded to 290,072 calls dispatching paramedic, police and fire services to residents across Peel. Of those calls, 60 per cent were not emergencies.
To help residents better understand the proper uses of the 9-1-1 system Regional Council has proclaimed Dec. 12 to 18 9-1-1 Awareness Week in Peel. As part of 9-1-1 Awareness Week, the Region of Peel will distribute information to community centres and school boards.
“If it’s not a true emergency, you may be preventing someone in a crisis from getting the help they need,” said Peter Dundas, Director, Ambulance and Emergency Programs. “Residents need to understand how the system works and when to use 9-1-1.”
An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance for serious health crises, fires, crimes in progress and other incidents when life or property is at risk. Residents should not call 9-1-1 for minor situations such as noise complaints.
The Region’s Call Centre data indicates that residents are not clear on what constitutes a real emergency and, in some cases, unintentionally dial 9-1-1 by pre-programming the number to their cellular phones.
“Our communicators and responders do their best to respond to every call as quickly as possible to protect and help residents in crisis,” said Regional Councillor Paul Palleschi, Chair of the Emergency Protective Services Committee. “One way residents can help is to take time to understand how the system works and when to use it.”
Use 9-1-1 in True Emergencies
With the popularity of cellular phones as well as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), the Region’s Ambulance and Emergency Programs division has some important tips:
- In a true emergency, residents are encouraged to use conventional landlines or cellular phones to call 9-1-1. If residents must use VoIP to call 9-1-1, make sure your provider allows access to the local 9-1-1 call centre. VoIP users can potentially be routed to the wrong emergency call centre in a different province or country.
- Residents who don’t speak English should call 9-1-1 in a real emergency. Peel’s emergency communicators can quickly connect to a translation service that has access to 156 languages.
- Do not program 9-1-1 into your home or cellular phones. It does not save time in an emergency and can lead to many unintentional non-emergency calls, unnecessarily burdening the system.
- Do not let small children play with a telephone. Teach your children about the appropriate uses of 9-1-1, emphasizing the importance of calling the system for emergency purposes only.
- For non-emergencies such as lost wallets, noise complaints and minor vehicle collisions, do not call 9-1-1. Call appropriate agencies found in your telephone directory or visit the Region of Peel’s Web site at peelregion.ca
Honouring our Emergency Communicators
During 9-1-1 Awareness Week, Regional Council will also honour its more than 200 emergency communicators for their professionalism when dealing with urgent and often difficult calls every day.
On Dec. 15, Peel Regional Council will present The Paul Schram Memorial Award to the Emergency Communicator of the Year for achieving outstanding dedication, professionalism and service to the citizens of Peel. The Paul Schram Memorial Award is named in memory of the late Paul Schram, who was instrumental in the development of the 9-1-1 service in the Region of Peel.
The Region of Peel oversees the 9-1-1 emergency system for the cities of Brampton and Mississauga and the Town of Caledon. For more information about Ambulance and Emergency programs, please visit peelregion.ca or call 905-791-7800, Ext. 7256.