Monday, January 17, 2011

Voice from the trenches

Here's a fascinating observation. This morning a reader posted a comment on the blog post A Baby That Shouldn't Be Dead. I thought it was so fascinating that I wanted to bring it forward so it wouldn't get buried. Talk about a voice from the trenches! Here's what this reader says:

Nothing about this whole incident surprises me. My work phone number is 911. When I tell people about the calls that we take on a daily basis, most are absolutely stunned. They always ask at least once if I'm serious.

People call 911 for anything and everything. A large segment of the population is absolutely helpless. A generation of helpless, ignorant parents with absolutely nothing to pass on, creating generations of helpless, ignorant children.

In the past hour I've taken a call from a woman who had a 24-hour-old litter of puppies that wouldn't stop whining, and a woman who didn't know how to silence the timer on her stove.

There have been a number of stories in the news recently about abuse of the 911 system by people who didn't get the sauce they wanted with their chicken nuggets. Unfortunately these are NOT isolated events. This is my world every day. The volume of calls we take from people without the slightest clue about dealing with the most trivial everyday issues - issues that have NOTHING to do with emergencies or anything involving the police, fire or EMS departments - is staggering.

I'm not the least bit surprised when a UWA (un-weaned adult) city dweller can't cope with something that is actually a REAL problem. Scared maybe, but not surprised.


If people are really this helpless and ignorant about life in general, it bodes very, very ill for how we as a society would respond to a major national crisis - EMP attack, financial collapse, whatever.


  1. Is there any fine that can be levied against people who call 911 for frivolous reasons? If not, perhaps there should be.

    These people are the ones I refer to as "the usual suspects." You know the kind, they charge the door at WalMart on Black Friday. They demand more "rights" while they abuse the ones they already have. They want taxpayers to feed, clothe, medicate, educate, and recreate (recreation) them. They are dumb, lazy, and often turn violent when they don't get their way. They are Americans in birthright only, for they certainly don't embody the American spirit or ethic. They are Democrats yet know nothing about politics or history.

    To them I say, don't come knocking on my door or you might earn the "right" to a boatload of whoop-ass. (That's not a threat, it's a promise.) I'm so tired of the takers and the abusers. If that doesn't sound particularly Christian to anybody, please spare me the sermon.

    Fed up and Speaking out.

    Anonymous Patriot

  2. Patrice, this is one of many reasons why your blog is welcomed and adored by so many. You have good sense. You're competent, reliable, dependable, independent, self-supportive. There are far too many conditioned, brainwashed stumblebums in the world. I believe most of them want to do something about it. They want and need someone to do what their parents, teachers and leaders haven't done. Give them hope, guidance and determination. This is also why you get "snarks" writing their lies and liberal diatribes on your blog. They're doing their best evil to counter your good! They represent liberal progressivism and all of its lies, and they will never cease. That's why, once we've spotted them, my wife and I NEVER read another word of their worthless prattle.

  3. Patrice -

    I have never worked for a 911 call center, but have for many years been part of ham radio groups that assist law enforcement with emergency communications and have heard stories.

    Day to day 911 call centers get lots of calls that have nothing to do with the need for emergency assistance. This becomes a major problem when there is a major incident because real emergency calls can't reach an operator because of all the non-emergency calls that swamp the call centers.

    Then there are those who never read or pay attention to anything not happening to them _now_. Once there was to be a fire department training held in the parking lot of a school that involved fire shooting up into the air from the training equipment. Every home within a mile of the school was visited by the fire department in advance to explain what was to happen. Every home within two miles was sent a letter. Yet when the training happened the panicked locals calling 911 totally swamped the system for two hours. The local news was carrying pleas from the town to not call 911 about this so actual emergency calls could get through, but it did little to help.

    Recently there was a forest fire near here and less than urgent messages were handled via ham radio. We carried one message from a person in a Red Cross Shelter that had been evacuated before their house burned down. In order to get her to leave her house the fire department assured her they would look after her "pets" and she was demanding to know what they had done with her 90 gallon fish tank with her tropical fishes!

    Many thousands were evacuated, hundreds of houses lost, and thankfully no lives lost, not even this air-head.


  4. Sadly this is the case in Australia too. My brother is in the ambulance and they get called to 'emergencies' that are usually laughed about but in reality just highlights the idiocy and uselesness of people today. Recent calls included an elderly man with a loose tooth, a large woman who couldn't get her shoes off with 3 adult children in the house she didn't want to wake, a band-aid application for a scratch and a rubber band wrapped around a child's toe.
    Our emergency service is required to attend all calls for help, no matter how frivolous. The operator can try to talk you out of it but if you demand they come they have to do it. They also must take you to hospital if thats what you want. He gets lots of call outs from losers demanding to be taken to hospital. Once there they suddenly feel better and stroll next door to the takeaway shop to get some dinner.
    It's a disgrace!

  5. I second, or even third, what the commentor said. I have worked in both the emergency communications field (911 call center) and as an EMT. I can't count how many times I've said things exactly like your commentor stated.

  6. Automatic $1000 find and/or 30 days in jail would cut down on the stupidity. I hope.

    Xa Lynn

  7. The sad part is when the real emergency comes, like a natural disaster, etc., they could die from something simple. Or just being unable to take care of themselves!

  8. Ann from KY, that's perhaps not a sad thing. Perhaps that's a cleansing thing.

  9. My friend was an EMT and she has a favorite horror story she tells. She and her partner were sent on a call to pick up a young lady who was "bleeding excessively". Seems she didn't have pads and called an ambulance. She knew she could get free pads at the hospital but needed a ride so she outright faked the emergency. When my friend learned this at the hospital she went and confronted the girl who was waiting for a ride back home and cussed her up one side and down the other right there in front of everybody.

  10. Xa Lynn has the right idea. Hit these fools in the pocket book. That's the only thing they'll understand when they don't have enough cash for their chicken nuggets.

    Some cities are implementing this "false alarm" penalty, but apparently not quick enough.

    Hmmm - now ya got me thinking. I'll have to check around and see if MY town has any such law. If not, perhaps I'll start a grassroots movement to get one enacted. If it means revenue for the city it ought to be an easy sell!

    Steve Davis
    Anchorage, Alaska

  11. 911 operators need a "nuke the stupid" button.....the call could automatically be rerouted to a hold line and they can be serenaded with a lecture on how to use the system properly......I bet the amount on that phone line exceeds the regular line, in volume......

    On a more serious note, these will be the first people "squeaking the wheel" in a crisis,'ll be up to the rest of us to take care of ourselves.....

  12. I, too, am amazed that there are so many ignorant people in just a short 2 generations. It appears that many many parents forgot they were supposed to be RAISING their children, not just having them! I'm appalled by the lack of the most basic of skills in young people today, but really, one can't blame them. They were never TAUGHT.
    My son's wife is a prime example-she didn't know how to turn on the stove. I'm not joking. And THIS is in charge of my grandson. She was "miffed" on our last visit when I corrected her about leaving a baby ALONE IN THE BATHTUB. Apparantly she thinks babies are born knowing how to swim. God help us!

  13. It seems to me the more urbanized our population has become the more idiotic and ignorant it's become when it comes to simple common sense and decency.


  14. If municipalities are billing motorists for police and EMS when they cause an accident, and when people are billed for rescues while mountain climbing or lost in the forest, why not? I would think trivial EMS calls would be billed long before use of EMS for actual emergencies.

  15. Oh my Gosh! I'm out of clean underware and socks. 911 will solve this "tragety". What a pitiful lot so many people have become. It is funny as long as they don't come to my place looking to take my clean undies. THAT'S when there will a problem.