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911-etiquette-hamster-births-do-not-warrant-911-callsWhen to call 911...

Most people understand that the only time you should call 911 is if you have an emergency that requires the police, fire department, or an ambulance as soon as possible. Most people understand what constitutes a real emergency. Unfortunately, there are those whose idea of an emergency is a bit skewed to say the least.


Crazy 911 Calls

Believe it or not, these are some real 911 calls:

  • There’s a spider in my living room
  • My new hamster just had 10 babies and the pet store won’t take them back and give me a refund
  • I think my house is infected with fleas. Can someone come and check it out?
  • I can’t get through to my cell provider, can you help me?
  • I don’t need an ambulance, but if I did, what would it cost?
  • The parking lot at the mall is full and it is taking too long to find a place to park (on Boxing Day – actually many calls were generated from Boxing Day traffic!)
  • The pizza I just had delivered is horrible
  • My TV is broken
  • What was the score of the hockey game? (maybe this was the same guy with the broken tv)
  • How do I set up my voicemail?
  • My daughter refuses to clean up her room and I want you to make her do it
  • My husband is driving me nuts, you need to come and take him away

Ok, maybe some of us can understand the last one, but perhaps a call to a friend would be more appropriate.

One 911 caller, when asked why she repeatedly called 911, explained by saying “I made 911 my password on my cellphone.” I’m pretty sure they told her to change her password.

Pocket Calls

Another drain on our 911 systems is “pocket calling”– when your cell phone is in your pocket or purse and dials 911 accidentally. These calls all have to be followed up on; this not only wastes the time of the 911 dispatch, but the police department too. Make sure you “lock” your phone when you are not using it.

Teach your Children About 911

Teach your children that calling 911 is for emergencies only, such as when there is a crime in progress or where people or property are being threatened, there is a fire, someone is very sick, unconscious, or hurt. Mind you, very few children call 911 with silly calls – they have been taught well and seem to know when to call, many showing great calm under pressure and saving lives! More typical nuisance 911 calls from children are from accidentally dialing 911 when playing with a telephone.

Use the Non-Emergency Number for Non-Emergencies

All emergency services have non-emergency numbers you can call for anything that is not a true emergency; although, I am pretty sure even they don’t want to talk to you about your husband driving you nuts. These numbers are available in the phone book, on the internet, or by calling directory assistance. Reporting a vehicle accident where there are no injuries requiring immediate medical attention, reporting a crime that is not in progress, or reporting a suspected fraud are examples of calls you can make to the non-emergency numbers. Using the non-emergency number will help keep the 911 lines available for real emergencies.

If it is an Emergency

Of course, if it is a real emergency, dial 911!

For more tips on keeping your family safe, check out Maternity Corner.

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