A six-year-old boy kept 911 dispatchers busy for about 40 minutes with false reports. File photo

Six year old keeps 911 dispatchers tied up

Penticton RCMP are urging people to make sure children know dangers of misusing the emergency number

Penticton RCMP are urging people to make sure children understand the dangers misusing the 911 emergency number after a six-year-old boy kept dispatchers busy for about 40 minutes one day last week.

The boy, who, at the time, was not under the direct supervision of has grandfather at a residence on Hemlock Street, made the first call to 911 on March 14 at 1:20 p.m. reporting a robbery at the Penticton Regional Airport.

As police were responding the child called again to report a fire and a short time later called to say his mother had fallen and he was phoning from Chilliwack.

Police were eventually able to find the location where the calls originated.

“The boy was spoken to at length by police officers with regards to making false reports to 911,” said Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth. “Police are asking parents to have that conversation with their children about the importance of the 911 emergency dispatch system and that when these types of things happen an actual serious call where someone is in need of emergency assistances could be delayed and affect a life and death situation.”

He added police have to respond to all 911 calls they are dispatched to.

“We look into it and we want to make contact with the caller and we want to find out where the caller is and get more information and the seriousness (of the call),” said Wrigglesworth. “We would want to glean more information as to exactly what’s happening. When they hang up it would appear that would be a false call by a young child and that would come across in our dispatch ticket.”