The British Columbia 911 call center has publicly warned of “consistent” wait times to connect to an emergency operator for the second time in a week.
E-Comm took to Twitter overnight, urging people not to hang up if they received a recorded message during the delays.
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The delays started around midnight and lasted into the early hours of the morning, according to E-Comm spokeswoman Kaila Butler.
On average, people waited about a minute and a half to get an operator, although some people waited “quite a bit longer,” he said.
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As was the case earlier this week, the wait times were the result of E-Comm operators facing delays while trying to connect with ambulance dispatchers.
“When that happens, our 911 call operator stays on the line with the caller to ensure the call is transferred successfully,” he said.
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“What that means, of course, is that the pollster is tied up with the caller during the transfer process and cannot respond to number one calls that are received after that.”
Butler did not comment on how long 911 operators have been waiting to contact an ambulance dispatcher, other than saying the delays were “quite extensive.”
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Delays in connecting with dispatchers were a growing problem and have become “constant and almost daily.”
In a statement, BC Emergency Health Services, which runs the ambulance service in BC, said it had taken “immediate steps” to address the situation, “including increasing levels of staff on the floor to assist with receiving calls. “.
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“Our dispatchers and recipients of emergency medical calls are working hard during challenging periods and at peak volumes to respond to people’s needs,” the statement read.
The agency is also hiring for 30 new dispatch positions, which are expected to be filled in December, he said.
On Thursday, British Columbia Prime Minister John Horgan described the 911 call wait times as “unacceptable,” and promised Health Minister Adrian Dix would have more to say on a solution in the coming days. .
In July, the province overhauled BC’s emergency health services in the wake of widespread criticism of its response to an unprecedented and deadly heat wave, including the appointment of a new ambulance chief.
The province has also committed to hiring hundreds of new paramedics and adding 85 new full-time paramedic positions.
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