The public is being asked to call 8-1-1, instead of 9-1-1 for non-medical emergencies after a significant increase in calls related to the snow. (Colin Plant/Twitter)

Public asked to call 811 in non-medical emergencies due to ‘significant’ increase in emergency calls

Paramedics report coming across accidents en route to medical emergencies

BC Emergency Health Services is reporting a significant uptick in the number of calls they’re receiving for snow-related emergencies and ask the public to call 811, instead of 911, if the emergency is not medical.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Sooke man clears snow wearing inflatable unicorn costume

The Victoria dispatch office states they have seen an increase in call volumes for motor vehicle crashes, along with calls for people who have fallen and injured themselves in snowy or icy conditions.

Paramedics have also reported coming across accidents en route to medical emergency calls.

READ ALSO: Victoria snowfall breaks 49-year-old record; wind warnings in effect

According to Sarah Morris, media relations with BC EMHS, call takers and dispatchers are trained to prioritize calls based on medical urgency. Working closely with local paramedic crews, Morris states the goal is to arrive as quickly as possible while protecting the safety of patients, the public and employees.

“Because of the increase in call volume, we encourage people to call 811 rather than 911 if it’s not a medical emergency,” she said.

The 811 line is a free provincial health information and advice phone line, operated by HealthLink BC.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

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