Call 911 or leave a message, pleads Port aux Basques fire department

Old habits die hard in Port aux Basques, where the mayor says people are calling the local volunteer fire department during an emergency, instead of calling 911.

Todd Strickland says the 695-2323 number connects a caller to the fire hall and the pagers used by firefighters, who kick into gear when a call comes in.

"The adrenalin gets going, you start throwing on your clothes, getting aboard your vehicle."

But often, he said, people hang up without leaving a message.

"It kind of gives you a feeling of, 'Is this truthfully a wrong number, or is there somebody on the end of the line who just could not relay the message?'"

Strickland said the only way to check what the call is about is to go to the fire hall.

Resources could be tied up

"We have our answering system upstairs and look at the caller ID and try to get the number from there and trace it back and just see what the issue was, or might have been, and check for sure that we're not needed," Strickland told the Corner Brook Morning Show.

Strickland, who's also the deputy fire chief, said it would help if people left a message, but the real solution is to call the 911 system.

He said that would ensure firefighters and equipment are sent where they are needed.

"We'd hate to see that resources are tied up and while we're out on a call to have an actual emergency to come in," he said.

"That has not happened yet, but the possibility is there."