Toronto Police are reminding the public yet again that emergency services should be used for emergencies only. At just after 7:30 PM on Thursday night, Toronto Police Services responded to "unknown trouble" at a TTC subway station. Someone had activated the passenger emergency alarm onboard a train at Queen Subway Station. Toronto Fire and EMS were dispatched to the scene along with police.
That "unknown trouble" turned out to be nothing more than a complaint about a passenger's smell. The emergency alarm was "activated for passenger who 'smelled'" Toronto Police revealed.
"Reminder alarm is for emergencies," Toronto Police wrote in the update, "This should be reported to the train guard, conductor or TTC staff." TTC's Emergency Alarm information page says that misuse of the alarm can lead to a significant fine.
“The alarm is for emergency use and this type of incident is not considered an emergency," Const. David Hopkinson tells Global News. "With passenger assistance alarms, we assume that it’s an emergency — somebody is having a medical episode, their life is in danger, they’re being attacked, there’s some kind of accident in the station.”
UNKNOWN TROUBLE:Queen Subway Station-Passenger assistance alarm -Activated for passenger who 'smelled'-Train stopped + Police/Fire/EMS responded-Reminder alarm is for emergencies-This should be reported to the train guard, conductor or TTC staff@TTCNotices#GO514852^dh
Hopkinson says that the "three-tiered" response to emergency alarms is automatic, meaning that police, fire and EMS services get dispatched automatically each time the alarm is activated. It is designed to provide "the highest level of response" to incidents in which passengers' health and safety are in danger.
People were quick to compare this incident to the recent spree of 911 calls in response to Amber Alerts in Ontario. Earlier this week, Toronto-area police expressed their disappointment in those that dialled 911 to complain about the Amber Alert for a 5-year-old girl. Peel Regional Police was also inundated with calls about the late hour of an Amber Alert issued for 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar.
Here's what some people had to say about Thursday's TTC emergency alarm incident:
Please start charging these people who are misusing alarms and 911(like Amber alert complaints). They are wasting precious resources and obviously don't get it.
Do we fine people for doing this?We need to fine people for doing this. And the people who call 911 to complain about Amber Alerts. Fine them too.
Depends on the smell! If it’s a great unwashed person who has not bathed in months, the smell can turn your stomach!! Not to mention the health risk. Shelter workers have to take precautions, but TTC riders are not able to do anything to protect themselves...
Fine the idiot who doesn’t know the meaning of ‘emergency’.