Finally some common sense at 911

The few times I’ve called 911, usually from my cellphone, I’ve been met with the usual 20 questions:

  • What’s the nature of the emergency?
  • What’s your telephone number?
  • Where are you?

After explaining that someone’s getting the ass kicked out of him, the 911 operator transfers me to police dispatch. There, the person asks me a few questions, like:

  • What’s the nature of the emergency?
  • What’s your telephone number?
  • Where are you?

Every time I do this, I’m shocked that the most important communications system we have, where time can literally mean life or death, is so inefficiently run that it requires me to spend vital seconds repeating all the information twice. I wonder why that information isn’t automatically shared, or if it’s not, why doesn’t the 911 operator transfer me quickly and skip the questions altogether?

Today comes word that the police department is upgrading its systems so 911 and police share information automatically. The move will shave 50 seconds on average from every 911 call requiring police intervention.

50 seconds.

The fire department will be upgraded next year. Urgences Santé already works on the new system.

4 thoughts on “Finally some common sense at 911

  1. Christopher DeWolf

    I’ve never actually gotten through to a 911 dispatcher. Each and every time I’ve called (which hasn’t been very often, thankfully) I have been put on hold before I could actually talk to someone.

  2. DAVE ID

    Also because when calling 911 on your cellphone… you’re not calling 911 but your providers 911 service. And it’s fucking annoying. Thankfully most of them time you’re stuck in a school shooting or something.

  3. Jaye

    Yesterday’s (Thursday, July 10) Gazette had an article so frustrating that I was unable to come up with a lucid letter to the editor that would probably express my digust at the cellphone companies/government stupidity. Admittedly, I didn’t realize that the celphone companies have their own 911 call centres (which, actually, angers me more-I Can’t conceive of the ineptitude there… ) but:

    Ringing up 911 cell tax
    The Gazette
    Published: Thursday, July 10

    “But unlike traditional phone companies, cellphone firms don’t give a dime of the monthly “911 fee” they charge customers to Quebec municipalities to help pay for the centres, he said.

    That will change next year. The Quebec government passed legislation last month to charge cellphone companies a 911 tax.


    Cellphone companies will be able to pass on the cost to customers. It’s up to the firms to justify the 911 fee they already charge, Fortier said.”

    Which says to me that while our taxes pay for 911 service, the cellphone companies found a way to charge us for calling it — more than a regular call, and then the government found a way to tax us for a service that’s paid for (by taxes) and one that is a superfluous and dishonest surcharge (a la $6.95 service charge).

    I stil can’t get the wording of this right. It’s like double-dipping… on something free? x2?


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