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NW Life

When Should You Not Call 911?

OPB | Jan. 29, 2014 12:06 p.m. | Updated: Jan. 29, 2014 1:55 p.m.

reynermedia / Creative Commons

Would you call 911 if you missed a newspaper delivery?

To ask for a morning wake-up call?

For permission to drive in the HOV lane when you’re late for a meeting?

How about to rent a fire truck for a block party?

As absurd as these sound, they are all real examples published by southwest British Columbia’s emergency communication center as the top ten 911 nuisance calls for 2013.

Mark Chandler is performance manager at Washington County’s 911 service provider, Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency (M.C.C.C.A). He came across the B.C. examples and they seemed all too familiar. So, he started “You Called 911 For That?!” — a public education campaign that will post weekly calls that M.C.C.C.A. says should have been directed to the non-emergency line.

The non-emergency line is recommended for any police call that doesn’t involve immediate danger, such as finding out your car was broken into overnight. The number varies by county, but here are some of the Portland area numbers:

  • Washington County – 503-629-0111
  • Multnomah County – 503-823-3333
  • Clackamas County – 503-655-8211


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