"I once received a call from a woman who wanted the police sent immediately to get a frog off her porch. It was her only exit from her home and she was terrified of frogs.
When I told her that that wasn't an emergency and I couldn't send the police for that, she insisted that it was an emergency and continued to hang up and call back until we did have to dispatch someone to her...for abusing the 911 service."
"I am a volunteer firefighter. Long story short, I got a call for a chimney fire. We went to the address and the old lady living there greeted us with confusion.
She told us that she had just lit a fire in her fireplace. We checked the chimney - fine. We checked the house - fine. The fireplace - fine. I asked dispatch if the call was from a home address. She said that it was a cell phone.
The old lady didn't make the call. A random passerby called in a chimney fire because smoke was coming out of a chimney."
"Last summer, I took a call from a guy who was staying at a shady local motel. He said he had a 'friend' over the night before, and they had put steel wool covered in butter made from the devil's lettuce up their rear ends. He was afraid he had an infection or something because it felt raw.
Yeah, dude, obviously it is going to be tender if you shove a freaking piece of steel wool up there!"
"I am a paramedic. There have been so, so many stupid calls we have received. The one I always think of first though, was dispatched to us as a spider bite.
On our arrival, the individual denied being bitten, then brought us to where the spider was, and asked us to identify it. My honest guess: a wolf spider. It was a bit shriveled up though, so my response to the caller's question as I walked out was, 'A dead one.'"
"My personal favorite call went like this:
ME: '911 - do you need police, fire or ambulance?'
MAN: 'I don't know.'
ME: 'OK. What's going on?'
MAN: 'I've entered my password into my phone a few times and it won't unlock.'
ME: '...OK. Stay on the line for a minute.'
I connected him to the police call taker for the how not to dial 911 speech. I asked the police later if that was legitimately why he called. It was."
"The following is a transcript of the most ridiculous conversation I've heard:
OPERATOR: '911 - what's your emergency?'
CALLER: 'Uh, yeah, I wanted to buy a drink, but the guy is asking for my ID.'
OPERATOR: 'What is the problem?'
CALLER: 'I can't show my ID because I'm 18.'
OPERATOR: 'Well, if you don't have an ID if the server asks for it, you can't have it, especially if you're underage.'
CALLER: 'Yeah, but I was always able to give a bribe to other guys, so make him take the bribe!'
OPERATOR: '[sigh] Please wait.'"
"I had a woman in hysterics on the line. She was sobbing so hard that I couldn't even understand her for the first 30 seconds. I was ready to press go on a vital signs absent call, because that's usually the only thing that gets people that upset.
Finally, the details started coming out. She was at a gas station. It was full serve. She had asked for $20 worth of gas and they had accidentally filled her tank. They took her $20, apologized for the mistake, gave her a receipt, and told her to have a good day.
She was sobbing hysterically because they had given her an extra $27 worth of gas and, despite everything they said and did, she was convinced they were only letting her leave so they could charge her later.
By a stroke of luck, I got the attendant from the gas station as my next call. She verified that they gave her a receipt indicating the mistake and everything. The attendant was very concerned for the driver's well being, because the meltdown was so epic.
Eventually, she was convinced to calm down and head on her way. I couldn't believe how dumb it was."
"My trainee recently took a call because a lady's food took 20 minutes and still wasn't out. He didn't know what to say.
I jumped on and told the lady this wasn't an emergency. She said, 'I'm in danger!'
'OF WHAT?!' I asked.
'Of being hungry!'
I legitimately laughed and then sent an officer to discuss with her the misuse of 911."
"I had only recently started working as dispatcher/call-taker for the local EMS/Fire Departments. I answered a call for a 20 year old male who was complaining of drinking too many Red Bulls and now his heart rate was jacked up and he was all jittery.
He had started driving himself to the local hospital but, halfway there, he thought it wasn't that big of a deal. Then, he turned around and stopped at a gas station to buy another Red Bull. After drinking it, his heart rate jacked back up, so he called, wanting an ambulance to drive him the rest of the way to the hospital a few blocks away."
"Back in my old dispatch days, I used to get this one old lady who would call in complaints on her next door neighbor. She would name him by name and usually would call about him revving his engine. Sounded like a normal call at first, but then she would go on to say that he had a pipe going from his exhaust into her house. She called a couple of times about him trying to connect his sewer to hers via a ditch that he had dug in her yard.
Those were the only two complaints that I could remember, but she called them in for months. Every time, the on duty cop (it was always after midnight, in a small town) would do a drive by and confirm that the house next door was abandoned, and that there were no signs of recent occupancy, or excavation.
He told me that when she first started calling in, he tried to talk to her at her house. She answered the door, standing two feet from him saying, 'Hello? Is anybody there?' and repeating it as he was talking to her with his flashlight on, before closing the door on him.
It turned out that she was nearly blind and almost completely deaf. She had no idea what was going on."
"I had a woman who called wanting me to set up her mobile phone. She had just bought it but hadn't activated it, so it could only call 911. She said I had to be the one to hit #16, or something, so it would format the phone.
I tried my best to tell her that she had to press the actual buttons for it to work. She DID NOT believe me and kept arguing that I had to do it because she could ONLY call 911.
I ended up transferring her to my supervisor upon request, who told her to take the phone back where she bought it and hung up on her."
"I am a four-year dispatcher and supervisor from rural Alaska. It was 6:30 am on Christmas morning when 911 went off.
'911. What's your emergency?' I answered.
A breathless, panicky voice asked me, '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 911 usage.
Merry Christmas. Here's your citation."
"My high school buddy, who is a firefighter, told me this story.
They got a call from a very panicked gentleman saying that there was someone unresponsive and not breathing. They all arrived on scene expecting the worst. When they got there, this guy was running around in circles on his front lawn. My buddy ran up and asked where the person was. The gentleman, manic and not being able to form a sentence, pointed to the grass. My buddy was super confused. On closer inspection, he found a guinea pig lying on the ground. A freaking guinea pig.
My buddy told the gentleman that it probably wasn't the best use of the force's time, and pulled out his phone to try to find a vet close by. My buddy found one and gave the gentleman directions. Immediately after, the guy took off sprinting while giving the guinea pig CPR. They passed him as they drove off and my buddy waved at him like the idiot he was.
That's my favorite firefighter story my friend has ever told me."
"One of my favorite calls was someone reporting people joyriding around in a local parking garage. It was pretty normal, except the caller said the drivers were wearing panda costumes. This was nowhere near Halloween, either. I got through vehicle descriptions and then asked if the caller could tell anything else about the drivers.
'Are you able to see if they are black, white, Hispanic...?' I asked.
The caller replied, 'They're black AND white! They're pandas!'"
"I worked as a part-time 911 dispatcher in the early 1980's. I got a call from a video rental place reporting a 'hazardous material spill.' While preparing the dispatch to the fire department, I got a little history.
A man with a severe case of cerebral palsy stopped in the store and went to the adult section, behind a curtain in a corner of the store. After he left, the employees walked in to discover that the man had relieved himself all over the floor and video boxes. They wanted the fire department to come to clean it up.
'Sorry, ma'am,' I said. 'You'll have to have your store's maintenance crew do that using personal protective clothing and materials. The fire department doesn't do it for you.'"
"I had a call that was a 'this can't be real life' moment from a woman who lived near a restaurant. She said that it sounded like there were cats fighting inside the restaurant, as if they were brutally murdering each other.
The restaurant was actually closed. The owner had been taking a few days off, but the police managed to get in touch with him. It turned out that he had been concerned about rats, so he came up with a solution.
He managed to find a recording of cats fighting, and played it on loop at FULL VOLUME over the speakers. Then, he just left, totally ignoring that the sound had been playing loud enough to be heard outside.
Probably the best part, though, was when the police managed to meet with the guy. He showed up with a parrot on his shoulder, which he had taught to bark like a dog... to scare cats.
Sounds like it worked."
"A man called and asked if we were busy in the ER. I told him that, at the moment, it was not too bad. He replied, 'Oh good. My wife is in labor, so I wanted to check.' I immediately told him to come in and that he and his wife would be taken up to labor and delivery. There is no waiting involved.
I actually appreciated him in a weird way because most people are so demanding and here he is in a labor situation and he's trying to be courteous and find out if we're busy or not. He was super polite."
"Someone once called because his dog got skunked and he didn't know what to do. There was not much else going on, so I walked him through mixing up some soap to soak his dog with, since my dog is dumb and I had the recipe memorized."
"My mother is an operator. She had a call one day with a woman in complete hysterics. It went something like this:
WOMAN: 'You have to do something! They are fighting in my living room and they're going to kill each other! Send someone over IMMEDIATELY!'
MOM: 'Ma'am, I am sending someone now. Who is fighting? Do they have weapons? Are you safe?'
WOMAN: 'OMG! The fighting is worse. When will someone be here?! OMG! The blood is everywhere!'
MOM: 'Ma'am, WHO is fighting? Are there weapons?'
WOMAN: 'My cats! My cats are fighting and they are going to kill each other!'
MOM: 'Do you have a bucket or something?"
WOMAN: 'A bucket?'
MOM: 'Yes. Fill a bucket up with water and throw it on them.'
WOMAN: 'But I can't do that!!'
When my mom relayed the story to the deputy on the way, he was in complete disbelief. He went ahead and continued over there. The woman was still very upset."
"One of my favorite calls was from one of our local crazies. She told me that she needed an ambulance because her hand was stuck in her lady duct and she couldn't get it out. She kept telling me, 'I didn't put it there. Someone else did!'
The best part was when I asked for her location and she gave me an intersection instead of an address and said she was standing on the corner. In my mind I was thinking, There is no way this woman is standing on the corner in broad daylight, elbow deep in her own lady bits. The medics called me later and advised that she was, indeed, standing on the corner with her sweatpants around her ankles and her whole hand enveloped in her own cervical channel. There were also about eight spectators there taking in the show.
Apparently, this woman hit the crystal too hard for too long. She often calls me still to tell me that her kids (whom she doesn't have any visitation rights with due to being coo coo for Cocoa Puffs) are being violated. Her only proof was that she can 'feel it when it happens.'
OK, Ms. Whackadoo."
"One lady started out her 911 call by informing me that the power coming into her house had changed direction due to construction down the street. Ever since then, she had been experiencing power fluctuations and interruptions.
I told her, of course, to call the electric company. She then informed me that the problem was not the fluctuations, but that when her power flickered, people entered her home. I was, of course, confused and asked her how they were getting inside.
'My chest,' she replied.
I blinked and tried to figure it out, but my brain wasn't making the logic jump.
'Ma'am, your chest?' I asked. 'What chest?'
She immediately responded with, 'From my bosom.'
I clarified with her that what was happening was that power fluctuations to her house were causing people to enter her home through her body. She confirmed that was the case. I sent a couple deputies to make sure she was okay."
"This is not necessarily the dumbest call I have ever received. It is more like a, 'this guy has problems that the 911 system cannot fix and he's fallen through the cracks and he's out of ideas but we keep helping so he keeps calling and it's frustrating all of us except maybe the caller' call.
An elderly and handicapped gentleman who lived alone would call 911 for things such as lift assistance if he fell, bandage changes, help when he accidentally dropped the remote control on the floor, when he needed a drink out of the fridge, when it was 2 am and he was lonely...
He had no family and or friends. He needed to be in a nursing home, but didn't know how to get into one and didn't want to be in one. Adult Protective Services was too overwhelmed with abuse and people who can't function to deal with a borderline case like him."