Everybody knows that you don't call 911 unless you've got an emergency...right? Well, not quite, because as you can see from this funny if not infuriatingly dumb list of unbelievable calls that 911 operators have received, some people have a pretty bizarre idea of what exactly constitutes an emergency. From the woman who thought her washing machine was possessed by the devil to the person who urgently needed to know whether it was legal for them to own a monkey, the calls below will make you laugh, and maybe cry a little, when you realize just how dumb some people can be. Don't forget to vote for your favorite!
I'm not a dispatcher, but back in my EMS days I was dispatched on a call of a child being poisoned. Upon our arrival we find a 14 year old male and his mother. The mother was insisting we take them to the hospital so he could have his stomach pumped because he had swallowed chewing gum. The child was looking at us as if to say, "I'm sorry my mother is crazy."
One year later, same address, same family, called for poisoning. Upon arrival we find the same kid and mother. The mother wanted to be taken to the hospital because the kid had admitted to his mother that he had taken a hit of marijuana when he was visiting friends the week before. The kid had the same look on his face.
Not an operator, but my boyfriend who called in.
He usually worked a late shift, walking home about 2 am. This shift he got off work a few hours late...
BF: I'd like to call and report a fire. [We live in a fire prone area and it was the season.]
911: Where is it located sir?
BF: On the hillside just East of [City].
911: Can you be more specific? [Typing away in the background.]
BF: Yes, [gives a more detailed location]. Oh god, it's getting bigger! The whole top of the hill is on fire now!
911: Stay calm sir, we're sending somebody out.
BF: It's getting bigger! Doesn't anybody else see this?! It's lighting up the sky around it...it's huge! Oh god! Oh...oh, wait...
BF: I am SO sorry...I'm not usually out this time of night, I just got off work late...that's, that's the sun...
BF: I am so, so sorry for wasting your time, there is no fire, that's just the sun rising. Never mind. I'm really embarrassed...
911: That's fine, Sir. I will cancel the call, thank you for calling.
I've had someone call 911 to wish me a merry xmas when I was working at 3am on on Christmas Morning.
6:30 Christmas morning. 9-1-1 goes off. "9-1-1. what's your emergency?"
Breathless, panicky voice "How do I get the cranberry sauce out of the can without it coming out in chunks?"
"Open the other end and slide it out on a plate."
"OH! THANK YOU! You are brilliant!"
I wasn't considered so brilliant once I had to dispatch an officer over there to educate her on proper 9-1-1 usage. Merry Christmas, here's your citation.
source: 4 years as 9-1-1 dispatcher/supervisor in rural Alaska
Caller: A deer just swam across the river behind my house.
Caller: Well I am worried it might be cold.
Me:.......Well there is nothing we can do about a deer being cold. Didn't it run off after swinning the river?
Me: Well ma'am it's a wild animal and I'd guess it's going to be fine.
Guy calling to argue that his crystal meth is legal because he made it with store-brought products with his own hard-earned money.
Once we had a young woman call 911 around 2am saying that her legs were turning blue. Turns out she had worn a new pair of jeans to the club that night.
I have been in the 911 biz for over 22 years. If a caller starts the call with "I swear I'm not crazy" then you need to buckle up for some insanity. A guy started a call with those words after escaping from his apartment and running to the closest 7-11. He swore that his roommates were turning into giant crabs. The was going to show the officers that they were currently in giant cocoons transforming. As you might expect he was tripping balls.
We had an old woman call in and say there was two guys dress in blue trying to break in her house and rape her. So we send about 6 cops over to her house. It turns out it was the gas company reading her gas meter.
My mom works as a 911 operator. She got a call one time from a girl in gym class at the local high school. She was in a panic and completely serious saying there was a squirrel on top of a telephone pole at the school and it wasn't coming down.