On Christmas Day, a young boy was so unhappy with one of his presents that he decided to call 911. According to a tweet by the Ontario Provincial Police, the 7-year-old complained to officers about a pair of snow pants he had received.
Using the hashtag “#KnowWhenToCall,” the post (which also included a GIF of popular TV show 911) noted that the boy “just got added to the naughty list” for his call. And while it may seem funny, false alarms like the snow pants call can have serious consequences, warns Ontario Provincial Police Sergeant Kerry Schmidt.
“Kids need to realize that calling 911 is critical and serious,” Schmidt said. “We don’t want to waste resources going after calls that aren’t an emergency.”
Fortunately, on Tuesday, the dispatcher was able to recognize that the call was not a real threat so no officers were sent to the scene. But Schmidt says that isn’t always the case.
Following a similar incident earlier this year when a girl called 911 after her parents asked her to clean her room, Schmidt explained that these types of fake calls take police away from actual emergencies. According to the sergeant, each call requires at least 30 minutes and two officers to investigate.
— Sgt Kerry Schmidt (@OPP_HSD) December 25, 2018
Schmidt hopes that his tweet serves as an “an awareness and educational moment” for parents and caregivers, urging them “to make sure their children understand the consequences of calling 911 and what constitutes an emergency.” While the Collingwood boy won’t be charged, officials remind people that fake 911 calls can result in hefty fines.