If you find yourself having to dial 911 it should be because it’s an emergency and you need the cops, firefighters or paramedics to show up straight away.
But some people Canada find they are being put on hold after calling 911.
And it isn’t because the operators don’t think they’re in an actual emergency situation.
The issue is that in some areas of the country there simply are not enough dispatchers to cope with the number of calls the receive.
One Toronto woman was put on hold for a whole 5 minutes after calling 911 because someone in her store started choking and couldn’t breathe.
"I was shocked that I was put on hold. It was a medical emergency or I wouldn't have called," Nada Morra said, "It was too long to wait on hold. Five minutes is a long time. It was enough time for somebody to pass away."
"What if that was one of your children or a family member? I was scared. I was pacing — seconds count,” she said.
She says that after those 5 minutes though she was able to talk to someone and help arrived within minutes thankfully.
According to National Emergency Number Association guidelines, 90% of emergency calls should be answered within 10 seconds of the call being received by a dispatcher.
Efforts are being made to hire more dispatchers to keep up with demand but if you dial 911 and get put on hold it isn’t because they don’t think you’re in an emergency, they’re just extremely busy and seriously understaffed.