Calgarians mysteriously receive dozens of medical emergency calls

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Jarod Browne normally spends his time answering phone calls from customers seeking help with pools or hot tubs.

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But over the past week, the general manager of a Calgary water company said he had mysteriously received dozens of panicked calls from people amid terrifying medical emergencies.

“We’ve probably received at least 50 or 60 phone calls for ambulances,” said Browne, general manager of Big Rock Water Hauling Services.

“They’re not calling for advice, these are emergencies… it’s wild.”

A call, he said, was from an anxious woman telling him that her daughter had taken the wrong medicine and was in medical distress.

“The fear in that woman’s voice was something else… I tell them to call 911,” Browne said, adding that her father Rod, who is the president of the company, also got the calls.

“Thursday night I got eight of those calls in a row. The number of phone calls I have received is quite impressive.

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Peak times for lost communications are between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., with some coming from people who are audibly seriously ill, he said.

“I’m sure some of these people have COVID. I could just tell from the voice of it, ”Browne said.

The resulting delay in reaching the appropriate dispatchers can only be dangerous for people in medical distress, he added.

Some of the callers told him that they called a number from a list allegedly for an EMS station in the northwest of the city that appears in a Google search.

Jarod Browne poses for a photo in the SE.  Browne's business phone number was attached to Google search requests for an AHS ambulance.  The confusion resulted in dozens of emergency medical calls being transferred to Browne's work phone number.  Friday, September 24, 2021. Brendan Miller / Postmedia
Jarod Browne poses for a photo in the SE. Browne’s business phone number has been linked to Google search requests for an AHS ambulance. The confusion resulted in dozens of emergency medical calls being transferred to Browne’s work phone number. Friday, September 24, 2021. Brendan Miller / Postmedia Brendan Miller / Postmedia

He suspects that many of these people are unfamiliar with the 911 system, but he cannot understand how calls to that station were redirected to his company phones.

Browne said he was in contact with AHS officials on Friday who vowed to track down the problem “but were unsure why it was happening.”

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He said none of the emergency requests were redirected to Big Rock phones on Friday.

“I’m so relieved, but it’s still not resolved,” Browne said, adding that he had resorted to the post on the EMS station’s Google review page begging people not to dial his number. .

“I told them it was the wrong number,” Browne said.

In a statement, AHS said people with a medical emergency or bystanders should always call 911.

And he said the number appearing on Google search is a fabricated listing, adding no fire or room EMS publicly offers its phone number.

“EMS has determined that the root of the problem is an incorrect online phone list,” AHS said. “This list was not created by AHS and the number displayed is not an AHS or EMS number.

“AHS is working to determine the origins of the listing and have it removed.”

[email protected]

Twitter: @BillKaufmannjrn

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