If you’ve ever worked in emergency services, you know how stressful the job can be. Firefighters, paramedics, and cops have a very important job to do, and it’s up to 911 operators to be the liaison between a frightening situation and the help a victim might need.
As if their jobs weren’t already hard enough, operators also have to deal with these people. Not every moron who can use a phone uses it for the right purposes, and thus we have this laundry list of idiots trying to call 911 for some of the dumbest things you’ve ever heard. I wouldn’t even call my mom for some of these problems! Oh, and in case you were thinking of ever pranking 911 using the material you’ve read today, don’t. Your call could cost someone their life.
1. I’m a telephone triage nurse, so not 911, but a 24 hour hotline for people to call when they are having a medical problem but aren’t sure if they need to go to the ER or not. I have a few favorite stories, but I’ll share this one:
A quite pregnant (don’t remember exactly how far along, but definitely past 30 weeks) woman calls to say that her doctor told her to refrain from having sex for the rest of the pregnancy and she didn’t understand why. I looked at her file, and saw she was having pre-term contractions, so I explained that sexual activity can cause contractions, so it was safer to abstain so the baby could stay inside as long as possible.
She tearfully exclaims, “But how will I feed the baby?!?”
Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, could you repeat that?”
Patient: “How will I feed the baby if I can’t have sex?!?”
The patient was convinced that her baby was living off of her boyfriend’s semen, and that it would starve if they stopped having sex. I explained about the umbilical cord, etc. but she refused to believe me until I asked her about single moms, lesbian moms, etc. and asked how she thought their babies fed and grew. After a moment of silence, she thanked me, and started to hang up the phone, but not before I heard her screaming her boyfriend’s name.
That man had a good thing going for a while there. I honestly wasn’t sure if I felt more sorry for him, or a baby growing up in that household.
2. Once we had a young woman call 911 around 2 AM saying that her legs were turning blue. Turns out she had worn a new pair of jeans to the club that night.
3. 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 poll at the school and it wasn’t coming down.
4. Had a lady trying to call an ambulance because she opened a package from Amazon at home and she was afraid that that her kid was about to have a major allergic reaction… From the packing Peanuts…. because the kid was allergic to peanuts, and when her kid mentioned what they were called, she freaked out.
5. I was driving behind a bus on my way to work one day, and the screen on the back of the bus that usually displays the bus number was scrolling the words “Call 911.” So I called. The operator asked what my emergency was and I said, “I don’t know, a bus told me to call.” Realizing how stupid that sounded, I said, “Sorry I mean there’s a message displayed on the bus I’m driving behind saying to call.” I gave them my location and moments later the bus got pulled over by police cars right out front of my job. I tried to be nosy but I never found out what happened or heard anything about it after.
6. 6:30 AM 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.
7. A friend of mine once called 911 when he was a kid because his aunt was having a baby… At the hospital.
8. 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.
9. Man calls and asks for a male nurse. This happens pretty frequently when men call to talk about genital issues, and we try to accommodate, but there weren’t any men working that evening. I assured him that I could deal with whatever he needed to discuss.
I was very, VERY wrong.
The man says that he is afraid he might have an STD, as his penis was red and swollen. So I ask about other symptoms, and if he has been having unprotected sex.
Patient: “Yes…but not with a woman”
Me: “Well, you can get an STD from sex with men or women…”
Patient: “WHAT?!? I’m not gay! I don’t sleep with men!”
Me: throughly confused “Ok sir…were you using a toy?”
Patient: “No, it was a female. Just not a woman.”
Me: even more confused and a bit scared “Ummm…Sir, could you tell me from who or what you suspect you got an STD?”
Patient: “Well, you see, ummm…My wife left me last month, and I’ve been really sad and lonely, and I have this chicken…”
Me: “A chicken? A live one?”
Patient: “Yes, a live chicken, from the coop in my backyard. She’s just so fluffy and soft, and I’m so lonely…I had sex with her. And now I have an infection, and I’m so ashamed…”
Me: “Oh. Wow. Ok. Well, uh… I don’t honestly, um… I don’t know if there are STDs which can be shared between humans and chickens. Let me make you an appointment for tomorrow morning…”
Turns out, he didn’t have an STD. Just inflammation (maybe the chicken was too small?). We advised him to stick to adult humans for partnered sex.
9. I know someone that called an ambulance in the middle of the night because they thought they were dying from what must be internal bleeding.
After some time in the ER, it turned out it was just a really expensive fart.
10. Me: “911 this line is recorded, what is your emergency?”
Caller: “hi, um I don’t know if this counts, but four days ago I noticed a Uhual truck in my neighbor’s driveway.”
Caller: “Well the two guys looked really suspicious. They were walking around the house like they didn’t belong there.”
Me: “Four days ago?”
Caller: “it’s been bothering me because my neighbors have been on vacation and no one should be there.”
Me: “…okay we’ll take a look.”
The entire house had been ransacked. All the valuables were gone. Too much time had passed for the local pawn shops to have the items because they know what is stolen and needs to be moved quickly. If something doesn’t seem right don’t ever second guess calling the cops immediately. If the operator gives you attitude, make a complaint.
11. My mom is a 911 operator, she gets some insanely stupid calls. I remember a few years ago, there was a huge pileup involving several cars and fatalities. Clearly it caused miles of traffic. A woman called 911, insisting that she get escorted out of the traffic by a trooper, because she “had to get home”, and it was “ridiculous that she should be stuck like that”. Like, people are dead, lady, sorry you’re not gonna make it home for Jeopardy.
12. Not an operator, but my boyfriend who called in.
He usually worked a late shift and would walk home at about 2 AM. One 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!
911: Stay calm sir, we’re sending somebody out.
BF: It’s getting bigger! 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.