This article was also submitted by the author as a contribution to the Alberta Filipino Journal (a cultural/ community newspaper in the province of Alberta, Canada) in February 2018.
By: Giselle General
There are many contact numbers that is useful to remember, as they can provide information and support not only for yourselves, but also for situations where you see someone in need. This is a handy list of 3-digit phone numbers and when is it the best time to call.
- 211 – When you see someone in distress, you can provide help by calling 211 and pressing 3. Doing so will dispatch what is called the 24/7 Crisis Diversion Team which is supported by an organization called REACH Edmonton. During winter this can be particularly useful if you see a person in the streets that may be hurt or freezing but you are not 100% sure. Calling 211 first before 911 can help prevent the unnecessary use of emergency services. Another tip is when in doubt, call 211 first. If more immediate help is needed they will direct you to call 911. Examples are when a person is dressed inappropriately for the weather, a person is intoxicated or impaired, or a person in sleeping in a stairwell or unsafe place. This link can provide more information. https://reachedmonton.ca/public/Just-Call-211
- 311 – This provides citizens with the choice of accessing City of Edmonton information and services. You can do things such as asking for information on things such as transit, libraries or recreation facilities, for a program or service that the city provides, or registering a complaint under the city’s bylaws. Non-English-speaking callers may request the assistance of an interpreter. The 311 agent will connect with an external interpretive service to assist with the call. The interpretive service offers assistance in more than 150 languages. More information, and also to use the service online, can be found on this link: https://www.edmonton.ca/programs_services/service-311-contact-centre.aspx
- 377 – This number is the Edmonton Police Non-Emergency Line. It is best to use this number to make a report for crimes such as thefts/mischiefs, assaults, breaks and enters, sexual assaults, frauds, suspicious persons or vehicles and complains about weapons and guns. There is also a mobile access by texting #377. This link can provide more detailed information. www.edmontonpolice.ca/ContactEPS/EPSComplaintLine.aspx
- 811 – This is the number for Health Link if you have any medical concerns or need information. Callers can get 24-7 access and advice from a nurse. This can be handy when you are unsure whether going to a medical clinic or emergency room or staying at home to wait it out is the best approach. Additional information can also be provided such as finding the nearest clinic or program, advice on dementia-related issues, as well as where to access health care providers. More information is on their website http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/info/page12630.aspx
- 911 – Police encourage people to call 911 when someone is in a life-threatening situation or they witness a crime in progress. It is valuable to remember when to call 911 so that help can be provided immediately, while also keeping in mind that not all situations constitute an emergency.
This is by no means a complete list, but a starting point. It’s great that certain social agencies or government departments are tasked to help meet a specific need, and that they are only a 3-digit phone call or a website away.