Whether you worked in a 911 call center, knew a friend of a friend or made the call yourself, share your stories of silly, crazy or downright ridiculous 911 calls. Tell Your Story
Dispatcher's 911 Nightmares
- I was a dispatcher for a CA police/fire agency that was one of the original 911 testing agencies. True stories from my experience: 1) We had just felt what seemed like a major earthquake and had a protocol for calling out reserves, off-duty personnel and notifying admin. The switchboard lit up to the extent we couldn't get a line to dial out: "Was that an earthquake?" Me: "It felt like one, 'mam. Do you have an emergency?" "Will there be another one?" 2) 4-alarm fire requiring all fire and police personnel for traffic control. The switchboard is lit up and all operators are busily fielding calls. The inevitable jerk calls in, complaining that no "cop" has responded yet to his barking dog complaint. "I pay your salary, yada yada yada." On the other hand, we were able to apprehend a man who had shot one of our officers during a failed burglary attempt, because of citizens calling to report the "perp's" running through their yards. I still dream of that job sometimes, and miss it.
Praise not Hate
- I read so many negative comments about dispatchers. I have dedicated 24 years to this profession. I take much pride in my career. I had to work to even call it a career. Dispatchers use to be treated as second class citizens. Disptchers work long hours, with out breaks, most of the time on our days off. Try working a twelve hour shift where its a luxury just to go to the restroom! Try taking a call of a mother screaming and crying over find her child dead, to hanging up and the very next call is some citizen yelling at you "'not the police department" who they are really mad at. I just think we work hard. Sure there are those in this profession who are rude and unprofessional, but that is a small number. The majority of us do this career because we care and want to serve.
- —Guest veteran dispatcher
- We live in West Texas and most of our calls are the off-the-wall NON-emergency type. You can pretty much guarantee half of the calls are going to be pertaining to the weather, "butt-dials", and the ever-so-famous livestock calls. Callers driving down the highway to let us know there are cows, goats, horses, donkeys, etc walking down the highway. Gotta love living in the country! (Not so much)
- —Guest Country Girl Dispatch
crazy 911 calls
- i was once working for the newyork poice department as a call-taker. there was one night about around 8:20 right before i got off work, i took one more call, there was a young lady on the phone and she said to me repeatedly that someone was chasing her, i was trying to claim the lady down to recieve her location but before i could get the computers to try to get a signel tower to pick up her location up 5 loud shots where let out from the other side of the phone. the young lady was shot 3 times. 2 times in the back 1 time in the head. i still wish i could have that day back and help the lady out that lost her life
- —Guest freshmen soilder
- when i was about 17 my mom was picking me up from work, when we were pulling out into the street from the parking lot there was a homeless drunk man stumbling into the street. my mom pulled over and kind of dragged him toward the sidewalk. she told me to call 911, so i did. i told the man on the line that this man needed help and was passed out on the floor, i gave him the address and all the info. i hung up... waited about 20 minutes... and called back and the SAME MAN ANSWERED. i told him yea this guy needs to go to the hospital... and the man said. oh i didnt know u wanted me to send someone over there....
- —Guest guest O_O
the time i called 911
- one time when i was 5 or 6 i was playing with the phone and typed in 911 i did not press talk but i did press off so about 30 minutes later a cop shows up and says did any one call 911 then my dad quickly turned to me i got in a lot of trouble.
- —Guest margret
911 in the digital age
- I'm not sure why there isn't a way to call 911 on the web. And if it does exists - it isn't easily enough found that it could be useful. I understand the risks in allowing online 911 calls - increased false reports. But imagine the world that young people live in today. Land lines are obsolete, cell phones are unreliable and not always easily found. Computers are the life line of modern society. It only makes sense to update the emergency response systems to serve people as they function, and today that means a web-based society. The amount of people who live without landlines increases daily. It is time that the government recognizes and supports that.
- —Guest Twenty-something
- I was home in Houston, TX. I often stay in Virginia Beach, VA with my granddaughter when my son is deployed (Navy). One day his neighbor called me saying that she was taking some new medication and had dark thoughts of killing herself. I called 911 in Houston. They gave me a VB phone number for some company. The receptionist said that they were receiving 3-4 calls a month and asked how I got their number. I ended up on the Internet trying to find anyone that could help. Public services bounced me around. I was asked how could I evaluate the situation from Houston, TX. I explained it was obvious this person had psychological issues before this call. etc. I finally found another neighbor who then called 911. She was taken to the hospital for treatment. If this company gets 3-4 calls a month, I am not alone. There has got to be a better way. Help?
- —Guest casey K2
Father w/ heart attack did not call 911
- My father suffered a minor heart attack recently and did not want to bother the people at 911. I was a cop for 4 years and am still a volunteer with our local fire dept. I was really distressed as we encourage people to call with issues like this. He instead called a nurse who came over and then she called 911. My father promised me he would get EMS started first and then call his nurse. Could have had a tragic result, but it served a good lesson to call 911 first for chest pain, diziness, seizures, etc. Let the pros get there and rule out the more serious stuff and be there to act if it is a real event. Dad almost didn't make it to the hospital in time.
- —Guest copref
- I was happily walking back from the park snd was about to unlock my door when I saw my neighbour lying on the doorstep rolling about and muttering to himself. His eyes were glazed over and whenrver he tried to stand his boice rose and he fell over. He had a penknife that he was holding and was touching the blade with a crazed look in his eye. I called 911 and said he doesn't have mental problems or anything like that. I was really worried and when I saw the police car outside he said April Fools! He and I got in alot of trouble (I was 13 and he was 15)
- —Guest Guestwhosawapersonseedoomsday
- I lived in a 8 story senior apt. complex, and we told not to pick up anyone who has fallen, as they may be injured w/o knowing it..Ok, so I have called 2-3x for those..then my neighbor man came to my apt. w/a wash cloth on his face, he asked for "face cream", I asked him why & he removed the cloth, his whole face was burned to a crisp.He had caught his oxygen line on fire. I called 911 and gave them all the info. where he is now, who I am, his name, etc, and then his age..Hell, I don't know..Could be 65, could be 85. I had to ask him and he was sitting in my kitchen burned up..They had to take him to a burn center as he had inhaled the hot air. I just thought some of the question were stupid..They knew the stuff they needed to come. This happened all the time. I fell and hit my head and called 911 and they put me thru the drill..I barely knew my name. they finally gave up and sent the paramedics. Good service, but the drill is impossible, when people are hurt.
- When I was 10 my mom called 911 because I broke my foot and the dispatcher thought she was a kid and hung up so then we waited 4 hours waiting in the ER. wow
- —Guest Healed
- I once fielded a call from an elderly gentleman who lived in a trailer park. He informed me that his trailer was ringing and buzzing as well as the palate in his mouth. He said he couldn't take it anymore. Thinking along the lines of a possible electrical problem or maybe some nearby outside interference I started questioning him and he immediately told me that he knew where the source of this ringing was coming from. He stated the "spiders on Mars" were sending radio signals to him and this has been going on for quite sometime. He asked me if there was anything I could do for him. I told him to stay on the line and placed him on hold. I waited a few seconds and returned to him. I told him that I just sent a radio signal back to the spiders telling them to knock it off. He told me the ringing and buzzing had stopped and he thanked me for my help. I dispatched an Officer to his trailer to check on his well being.
- —Guest Dispatcher X
poor old me...
- i phoned 911 and just been silent
then my dad came up to ask me what im doing
then he took the phone and i got in big big troble
- —Guest guest guest
Waste of resources
- I worked as a paramedic in the Canadian north, where the drive to the hospital was more than 90 mins. The local population was poorer, but often used the ambulance service fir trivial events. One girl in particular comes to mind. A 19 y/ o woman called for abdominal pain. When we arrived, she told us she had menstrual cramps, and wanted to go to the hospital to get a prescription for ibuprofen. We were less than impressed, since the village store near her house sold Advil for 5$ and no prescription is required. She said she knew that, but she was on Welfare, and with a prescription the government would pay for it! We had no choice... if they call to go to the hospital, we HAVE to take them. 3 hrs round trip. I would have bought the pills myself if the law allowed it! Some people... ( another guy called 911 for a 'leg injury'. When we got there, he just wanted a bandaid for a blister on his heel!)
- —Guest Keefer Trace