When something bad happens, emergency line operators are usually the first ones to hear our cries for help. They are there to asses the situation, calm us down, and send help. No one can deny that this job is demanding and stressful.
Imgur user PajamaStripes, who was a 911 operator for two years, decided to share 14 stories to show what her job is really all about. When asked what was the reason she started this job she told Bored Panda "I've always had a knack for helping people". During her job, she learned some easy tricks to help her deal with stress "Stress relief for me was mostly coloring books or snacks. Dry cereal was really popular since it was low-calorie and you could pick at it all night. I knew other people who would play games or watch movies on their laptops or tablets between calls". Despite all the horrible things PajamaStripes had witnessed, the good things that happened struck her the most "The best motivation was a "good" call. One that went smoothly and ended with everyone okay. The most memorable "good" thing would be a time that I was walking a father through CPR on his son who'd fallen in the pool, and the kid came out of it before we even hit the 2nd round of compressions." Read her most memorable stories from her job below! (Facebook cover image: travis.af.mil)
I only had about 5 hours of sleep in between 16-hour shifts. Only had an hour left and morning rush hour was ending, so I was ready to get out so bad. Next thing you know the lines are lighting up like a f**king Christmas tree. Luckily nobody was killed, but it sure woke us up!
Got a call from an alarm company one day. Nbd, they're easy calls. Until I put in the address they gave me and it came up as a firehouse. I let the dispatcher know so she could clear it, but instead she sent out the next station. Turns out the station where the alarm was had left a lasagna in the oven and accidentally turned it to Broil instead of off in the rush to get out to their call. Everything (except the lasagna) turned out fine, but I'm sure the guy who did it will never live it down.
"I called you 10 minutes ago! WHERE ARE THE COPS?!" Probably playing Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who has to deal with your ass, Brenda. In all seriousness, though. These 50-65 year old, suburban empty-nesters are worse than the ghetto people. At least when the ghetto folks call, there's usually something actually going on. Boomers will call just because they saw a guy fishing without his license on his hat and then INSIST they stay to speak to the officer when the damn thing was just on the guy's vest instead. (Happened way more than once.) Then they get all entitled when the officer doesn't come sirens-blaring right away. Sorry, Carol, I'll get them to stop writing that ticket for someone that was actually doing something wrong and come deal with your butthurt right away.
Sometimes the boomers have legit complaints, though. This one lady (still obnoxious) called because the kids down the street broke into her yard and stole the goldfish from her pond. Apparently she'd had issues with this family before (shocker). I still have no idea what they did with the fish.
People who call a lot are called Frequent Flyers, and we had quite a few. One of them was nicknamed Chicken Little, because every time it snowed, she would call and tell us that the clouds had fallen out of the sky and we had to put them back up. The officers started telling her that they only fell because they were "extra" clouds and they would go back up on their own once the sky cleared. It usually worked and we wouldn't hear from her as much.
Another frequent flyer. A sweet man we'll call Charlie. Charlie knew he had issues and knew when he was about to have an episode. He was also, unfortunately, homeless. So whenever he was about to break down, he would find a landline to call us (because it automatically gives us the address and number). We got to know him so well that he even recognized our operator numbers. Sometimes he'd just say "I need to go" and we knew it was him.
There was a lady who had constant issues with her husband. One day she called and told us to get there quick, because she was going to shoot him. The thing is, Husband was her dog, and when officers got there (they actually rushed, because cops love dogs) she was standing in the yard holding a plunger under her arm, pretending to cock it like a shotgun and yelling "BOOM!!" at the poor pup. When the officers tried to take it from her, she just started yelling "You can't stop me!!" and ran around the yard trying to avoid them. Her "Husband" was taken to the Humane Society.
This lady. We'll call her Eleanor. She was the QUEEN of the Frequent Flyers. Imagine Uncle Ruckus as a lady. The cops would take rookies out to deal with her just to f**k with them. She'd call almost every day with something new ranging from the relatively simple to the completely absurd. Some of my favorites are: -Black and Arab midgets broke into her apartment and stuck their fingers in her peanut butter. -A tall Arab man pissed on her chair while she was in the other room and then ran away. -Her upstairs neighbor kept peeing on her through a hole in the ceiling. She lived on the top floor. There wasn't even a leak. -A demon kept looking through her window. Flew away when she told him to "F**k off." And finally, - Snakes kept coming up through her floor and wrapping around her legs. Then they turned into hands that tried to violate her. She kept yelling "Get outta my h**chie!!" on the phone.
This was the single funniest call that ever happened. Officers went out for a violent domestic. Suddenly over the radio comes "We're gonna need backup. He's beating her with a boa." Dispatcher: "Repeat? He's beating her with what?" Officer screams: "A SNAKE!! A BIG. ASS. SNAKE!! Oh HELL no!" This dude was straight up beating his woman with their 5ft long pet snake. The snake was taken to a local rescue and was okay aside from some bruising. Another officer ended up adopting him.
Elderly callers are just wholesome for the most part. It's typically either they need some help getting up, they're lost/confused, or they're concerned about someone they haven't seen in a while. Most of my coworkers used to get annoyed because they can be a bit slow and they can have trouble hearing, but I loved them. It was a nice little reprieve from all the awful s**t going on. Especially because they were usually easy to help and were always grateful. One guy I will always remember just called because his watch was broken and he wanted to know what time it was. We wouldn't even open a call for him. Just tell him the time and he'd say "Thank you" and hang up. Eventually, he got a new watch and stopped calling. I honestly really miss him.
Time for some badassery. The only time I ever saw the whole department actually work smoothly together. Our system was getting updated, and when that happens, we have to do everything on paper, since we can't very well shut down 911. It was early in the morning and a bank robbery call comes in. This thing turned into a full on car chase spanning 8 different municipalities with 4 jurisdictions in 3 different zones, AND state police territory. We had supervisors and trainees on the floor running cards back and forth, calltakers writing out copies, 2 dispatchers running the whole county while the rest dealt with the chase. One of the ones on the chase relaying everything to State Police (in another building). It was controlled chaos. After we got him and everything was clear, the wave of relief that came over the room was legendary.
WARNING: THE NEXT THREE STORIES ARE BAD ONES. DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE SENSITIVE. Starting with the least awful. I once had a caller we'll call Dan. Dan was nuts and had just gotten out of jail. He called because he was lost and didn't know how to get back home. I helped him figure it out and sent some officers to make sure he was okay once we found out where he was. Then Dan kept calling, specifically requesting my dispatch number, for almost 2 weeks, making sexual comments and asking to see me. After the first few calls, We would send him straight to the supervisor. After a couple days, he was told that he would face charges if he continued. After his number was red listed (he can still call, but its flagged and sent to the supervisor automatically), he got a new number and kept calling. He kept getting more angry and started making threats. I actually had my supervisor walk me to the bus stop and wait with me after that. One day he called and said he was in the wooded area just down the street, waiting for me to get off work. Officers were sent eventually found him close by.
First call that made me have to get up and go sit somewhere quiet. A girl about my age called in and wouldn't stop crying. She was hyperventilating, bawling. It took me almost 2 minutes to be able to get anything out of her. Her neighbor had shot her dog after it had gotten into his yard through the fence. He did it while she has run into the house to get his leash and had told the neighbor she'd be right back. Said neighbor had a long history of violence toward animals and had been arrested before for shooting stray cats and squirrels.
This one is hard to think about. It was a late shift. Some time after midnight, and we got several calls. One from the owner of a house that had just been hit by a Semi, one from the neighbor, and one from the driver who was trapped in the cab. The driver got our best dispatcher. A lady who'd been there for 20-some years. She could handle anything. I was connected to her line for a training review. He was trapped in the cab and was more worried about the people in the house than himself. He just kept saying "I'm sorry. I'm sorry." Then he just stopped. He starts saying "Oh God. Oh God. I smell diesel. I can smell the diesel. I'm going to die. I'm gonna die here." She was trying to calm him down, but everytime she switched to mute, she started shouting at the dispatcher to make them hurry. It ignited before they got there, though. I can still hear the sound. Him screaming, you could hear the flames, and then nothing. And the best dispatcher got up, signed off, and walked away. She didn't come back until her next shift. There was nothing we could've done, but we're the ones who are supposed to be able to do something. That's the thing that makes jobs like this the hardest. EDIT: The accident report said he struck the gas line when he went through the kitchen. That's probably what started the fire. I don't know what ignited it, though.