Haldimand OPP is reminding the public they should not use 9-1-1 for non-emergency calls and inquiries.

9-1-1 is for police, fire or medical emergencies only, when someone’s life or safety is in immediate danger or when a crime is in progress.

Every day, police services receive 9-1-1 calls for non-emergency situations and also accidental 9-1-1 calls or “pocket dials” from cell phones. If you call 9-1-1 for a non-emergency, you may be taking an officer away from a real emergency.

In 2017, Haldimand County OPP responded to 764 accidental 9-1-1 calls and to 301 false alarms at residences and businesses. Responding to these calls puts a strain on resources that could have been better utilized on other calls for service.

Misuse and abuse of 9-1-1 is a public mischief offence and is punishable under the Criminal Code of Canada.

For non-emergency calls, citizens are asked to call the 24 hour OPP toll free number at 1-888-310-1122. Citizens can also opt to report specific incidents online at www.opp.ca/reporting

These incidents include: theft under $5,000, mischief/damage to property under $5,000,  mischief/damage to vehicle under $5,000,  theft from vehicle, lost/missing property under $5,000, stolen licence plates or validation stickers, driving complaints

Do not report emergencies on line, please call 9-1-1.

If you dialed 9-1-1 by mistake or “pocket dialed” 9-1-1, OPP ask that you don’t hang up. Stay on the line to let the emergency operator know you’re okay. OPP will need to confirm with you that there is no real emergency.

To avoid accidental or pocket dials, lock the keypad on all your electronic devices before storing them and don’t let children play with cell phones.

The OPP has launched the #KnowWhenToCall campaign (www.opp.ca/911) to educate the public on unintentional 9-1-1 calls.