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911 callers seeing 3+ minute hold times in B.C. over high call volumes: E-Comm

Callers asked to stay on the line and not hang up to try again
A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Anyone needing emergency services in B.C. may be put on hold for three minutes, if not longer, according to E-Comm.

The agency posted to social media just after 11 a.m. Monday (Nov. 8) morning noting that the wait times of three minutes or longer are due to higher call volumes and more requests for ambulances.

“If you hear a recorded message, stay on the line,” E-Comm stated, adding that hanging up and calling again increases wait times both for that caller and for everyone else.

This is not the first time wait for a 911 operator or an ambulance have have raised concerns in B.C. In August, a 72-year-old Parksville man died in his home while his family waited on hold for a half-hour after calling 911.

READ MORE: Surrey residents report calling 911 for ambulances that didn’t arrive


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