The Distress Centre partners with Calgary’s emergency services to promote 211
The Distress Centre has partnered with the Calgary Police Service, Calgary Fire Department and 9-1-1 to promote 211 for citizens in need. 211 is a telephone-based information and referral service that connects Calgarians with access to thousands of community, government and social services.
“For those in need of support, figuring out where to get help can be daunting,” said Jerilyn Dressler, Acting Executive Director of the Distress Centre. “By calling just one number – 211 – citizens are connected to the right resources that can help.”
A joint initiative of United Way of Calgary, Distress Centre Calgary and The City of Calgary, 211’s highly trained, professional Information and Referral Specialists answer 211 calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. More than 35,000 calls are made to 211 each year.
“Many people who need help are unsure of where to turn so they call 9-1-1,” said Richard Hinse, Commander of Calgary’s 9-1-1 centre. “One of Calgary’s three emergency services will attend the call, but in many instances the citizen requires more help than can be provided by police, fire or paramedics.”
“As emergency services, we recognize the value in promoting this service to Calgarians,” noted Acting Inspector Blake Hiebert with the Calgary Police Service. “One call to 211 connects citizens in need with thousands of resources – from basic needs, like housing and food, to mental health, and many other resources.”
“Because we’re often responding to calls in people’s homes, from time to time we recognize that some citizens need more help than we can provide as first responders,” added Carol Henke, Public Information Office with the Calgary Fire Department. “211 is a resource we’ll promote to citizens to ensure they’re supported after we leave.”
Citizens are encouraged to contact 211, a free, confidential and multilingual service offered in more than 200 languages. People can also connect with 211 by visiting www.ab.211.ca for a comprehensive list of services.