Have You Ever Had To Call 911? What Was Going On?

911Thankfully, I haven’t found myself in too many situations where I felt the need to call 911. In fact, I can only remember three instances, and I’m not 100% sure about one of those. But I’ll give you a quick rundown, and turn it over to you guys. How’s that sound? Good. Let’s get started.

In Atlanta, a million years ago, Toney and I were stopped at a red light in separate cars, for some reason. And while we waited… a Camaro or somesuch redneck vehicle came sailing through the intersection. It was traveling at a high rate of speed, apparently trying to beat the yellow light. But, it didn’t go so well. They clipped the back-end of another car, and went airborne. It was an amazing thing to see, like something off The Dukes of Hazzard. The Camaro corkscrewed through the air, and landed upside down a half-block away. Or so it seemed.

Everybody jumped out of their cars, shouting, “Holy shit!” over and over. I had a gigantic car phone, the kind that came in a shoebox-sized vinyl case, with a cord and full-sized receiver. I called 911 immediately, and the woman who answered told me they’d already received “multiple” calls. WTF?? It felt like I’d started dialing while the car was still in the air. Wotta ripoff. I wanted the credit. Oh well.

Amazingly enough, there were no injuries. But the car was all jacked-up. I might just be imagining this, but it seems like “Gimme Three Steps” was blaring from its speakers, the whole time.

Also in Atlanta, my car was broken into many times. Once some degenerate stole a basket of my clean laundry off the backseat. And talk about a violation! There’s probably some junkie walking around in a pair of my 1992 underwear right now, in that shithole of a city.

But I’m not even sure I called the cops on that one. I’d already become jaded and hip to the way of the world by then. The first time someone knocked out one of the windows of my car, and stole my stereo and a cupholder full of change, I was upset and called 911.

Ha! And I was promptly given another number to call, which was nothing but voicemail and prompts to “Push 1 for home break-ins,” “2 for vehicle break-ins,” etc. There were no follow-ups, or anything of the sort. Atlanta cops have MUCH BIGGER fish to fry, than my piss-ant little Hyundai-invasion.

Finally, we called the fire department once while living here. I don’t think we called 911, we just found a number to call the fire department directly. Because it didn’t feel like a real emergency.

I’d gone down to the basement that day, and there was a super-strong smell of kerosene or something similar. What the? Toney and I were baffled, because we don’t store anything like that in the basement. It was breathtakingly strong, and I was afraid the house might explode. But I didn’t want to call 911, and have a half-dozen fire trucks show up.

So, I called the fire department directly, and begged them to just send somebody over in an SUV, or whatever, to check things out. But… they went full-blown warehouse fire on our ass. The volunteer siren went off, we could hear what sounded like ten fire trucks wailing and honking, and in short order every neighbor was out on their porch, stretching their necks to see what was going on.

One of the guys jumped off the first truck with an axe(?!) in his hands, and they all came running toward our house. I was standing right inside the door, thankfully, or they probably would’ve knocked it down.

“Come on, man! Why the big production? This isn’t necessary,” I said, completely mortified.

“It’s required,” one of them told me.

“What were you planning to do with that axe?” I asked, and received no answer.

Turns out, some neighbor dumped kerosene down the sewer, and the smell was coming up through the drains in our basement. Probably Half-Shirt, or one of his dipshit sons. Good stuff.

The lesson I learned that day: don’t call the fire department until the roof collapses, at least. Sheesh. I felt like a complete dumbass. I’m surprised they didn’t have helicopters circling in the sky.

Heh. In Atlanta you get nothing, and here you get way too much. And so it goes.

Have you ever called 911? If so, please tell us about it. Use the comments section, to bring us up to date on it.

And I’ll see you guys again soon.

Have a great day!

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Comments

  1. Phil Jett says:

    Never called 911 that I remember..but called the non-emergency number a couple of times on some kids destroying my property. Wife called them once for me when I got hurt working under our trailer in the driveway. They sent an ambulance and two fire trucks for some reason.

    A good friend is a fireman and he said he always grabs the axe first hoping to break through someone’s roof or door.

  2. I once called 911 because Taco Bell screwed up my order. Or maybe I read that somewhere?

    I can’t recall dialing 911, I live a very sheltered life.

  3. The fire department usually does as much damage as a fire. They knock holes in walls to make sure there are no hot spots. I think they just like destroying shit.

  4. I’ve never intentionally called 911 that I recall, but I was part of an accidental 911 call. My parents had gone out for the evening and left my older brother in charge. At some point he and I started wrestling/shoving each other for some reason or another, as brothers are wont to do. He knocked me into the phone that had the different emergency numbers pre-programmed in for one button dialing. I guess I hit the police button while knocking the phone off the hook. We kept fighting and yelling at each other with the receiver sitting on the floor. When the dispatcher got on the line she just heard two people yelling at each other. I should mention that we were probably 13 and 10 at the time or thereabouts.

    Without ever realizing we had “called” anybody, we eventually got tired of arguing about whatever it was that we were arguing about, put the phone back on the hook, and went back to watching TV.

    About five minutes later we hear sirens screaming down our street, and then a loud BANG BANG BANG on our door. We opened the door not having any idea that we had called the cops. We swore up and down that we had not called them, but I guess they thought we were hiding something or covering for someone, because they insisted on looking around the entire house. At some point my brother figured out that it must have happened when we knocked the phone off the hook, but they weren’t buying it. This was pre cell phone, so with no other way to get in touch with them, they tried to call the restaurant where we told them our parents had gone to dinner.

    While the cop was on the phone waiting for the restaurant to find my parents, they actually pulled into the driveway. Imagine their shock coming home from a nice dinner to see cop cars in front of the house. With our parents help, we finally convinced the police that we weren’t hiding a dead body or anything and they left. But it was quite a while before our parents left us at home alone for any length of time.

  5. Bill in WV says:

    I called 911 the other night to tell them my cable was out and that I was totally missing Pawn Stars. They were not amused.

  6. Be careful with that ax, Eugene.

    • ….and a happy Ummagumma to you icecycle66.
      (released Oct. of ’69. I was a junior in HS. I still have my vinyl)

  7. We had to call 911 one night. We live on a curvy road and one night some drunk came roaring down the street and hit an evergreen tree with such force, it snapped the top half of the tree which came down right across the road. The sound had me throwing on a pair of jeans and flying out the front door before my husband stopped me with a “You don’t know what kind of an asshole is out there!” We get outside and the guy is walking around dazed. I asked if he was hurt but he was so drunk, he decided he would leave on foot and we told him NO WAY and about 2 minutes later the cops were there. So not only did I get roused out of bed from the crash, but never got to sleep that night because they had to chainsaw the tree.

    And speaking of calling the firehouse – the same thing happened to me. We lived in a condo unit and the fire alarm RIGHT OUTSIDE MY BEDROOM went off. That shit is loud. And naturally it was around 5:00 AM. I had the wherewithal to touch the front door to make sure a wall of fire wouldn’t devour me and called 911. I actually remember saying “I think the alarm just tripped” but noooooooooo – the whole entourage showed. And let me tell you, seeing people jump out of apartments at that hour is a terrifying sight. So help me, the man living on the floor beneath us had on superman pajamas complete with the cape.

    I called the non emergency police department once because kids were in the parking area down the street from me at 3:00 AM. They weren’t obnoxious – just loud and I could hear them as if they were right in our bedroom. I could actually hear the entire conversation when the cops showed up. But the kids were cool and moved on.

  8. When I lived in Southern California, my girlfriend’s friend was arrested for DUI. It was late at night and I tried calling the non-emergency police number to figure out how to bail her out. The lady on the other end insisted that I had to call 911 as they handled all after-hours calls. I had to ask her a couple of times because as much as I wanted to get this girl out of jail, I certainly didn’t feel like it was an emergency. Sure enough, the folks at 911 told me what to do.

    The second time was a few months ago here in Atlanta. My wife and I were awaken by the sound of breaking glass around 4:00 AM. My mind started racing a mile a minute, but I couldn’t stop thinking “why didn’t the alarm go off?”. Wife closed and locked the bedroom door (because that will totally stop them) and called 911 while I grabbed my gun and watched for shadows under the door. Three police cars arrived extremely quickly and did a search of the perimeter (police talk for “we looked at your windows”) and knocked on the door. They offered to come in and take a look in the basement as you can’t see the basement windows from the outside because they are blocked by shrubs. As soon as the first cop walked in the door and around the corner he noticed the glass in the first-floor bathroom…..the light had fallen off the wall and into the sink, breaking all the bulbs and globes. Never have I felt more manly in my entire life. And the damn dog didn’t even wake up.

    • I had the same thing happen to me; a light globe fell from a ceiling fan and bounced around. But it never broke!! It just rolled around the room continuing to make noise. I’d lived in the house three days. Freaked me out, so I called. Sent an officer with gun-drawn and he searched the whole house till he found the light. Felt stupid.

    • Uncle Goo says:

      Don’t ever feel stupid about making a false alarm call. We’d much rather show to find a broken lightbulb, anyway–and it makes for a good story over a coffee and a doughnut 😉

  9. 5 years ago, my husband and I were at a stop sign waiting to make a left. Traffic was backed up but someone waved us on and as we went to turn some lady came out of no where and t-boned us. Our car went spinning. I didn’t even see it coming. We had our 1 month old daughter in the back and my first reaction was to get to her and make sure she was ok than I freaked out and called 911. Thankfully we were all ok. Oh by the way…it was decided that we were at fault for the accident because she was going straight so she had the right of way and they charged my husband with “running a stop sign”.

    • Never ever trust people that wave you through. I’ve nearly rammed into countless people who trust some strangers judgement in those situations. The last one in the news here, some dipshit waved someone out, directly into the path of an oncoming dump truck .DOA. If you can’t see, you don’t go, becuase that wanna-be do-gooder doesn’t necessarily have the best judgement, or even intentions.

  10. A few years ago we called the FD because of a smoke smell, which I thought might be coming from our house, which can be rather alarming. Not being able to ID the source, I dialed the non-emergency number, begged them to come in quiet (it was nighttime), and, of course they came in screaming.

    I even blogged it, back when such things happened on a more-frequent basis, but this guy did it better:

    http://spiffytown.wordpress.com/2009/03/14/something-to-write-about/

    Otherwise, any 911-type calls I’ve been involved in usually involved noisy crowds of rambunctious young people, of which I was one. We don’t have or make a whole lot of trouble anymore.

  11. Driving my 1997 Wrangler down a local neighborhood street when all of a sudden smoke starts pouring out of the A/C vents, filling the cab with thick smoke and convincing me I am about to die (Mannix taught me that all cars in situation explode).

    I leap out with my phone to call 911, then realize I have not set the parking brake properly. The smoking car starts out on its own backwards down a small hill, me chasing after it with 911 on the line.

    The smoke subsides but I gotta have someone tell me what’s up before I turn the key again, so along come two fire engines and a suburban. They’re in full gear but sans axes, thank God. They start going nuts with their portable mass spectrometers and infrared detectors. Climbing under, over, and all around my beloved Jeep, mumbling to themselves as they “take readings.”

    Roughly 30 minutes later, a burly fellow steps out of the suburban, walks over to me at a pace that suggests he just ate two turkey dinners, sticks his head in the can of the Jeep and takes a biiiig whiff. “Smells like a foor-est faahr.” His internal mass spectrometer was right of course. My cowl was leaky and after sitting under the trees for 15 years a bunch of pine needles has fallen into the intake. Eventually enough of them made it to the fan resistor and that’s what lit the fire. Wonderful. Over an hour of my time spent diagnosing a leaky cowl. Still, it gave our fire dept and my tax dollars something to do.

  12. Jerry in WV says:

    A couple of years back, at Dunbar 1st Baptist, one of the older ladies gets up in the middle of the service and walks out of the front door. Very odd. I got up to go check on her and found her lying on the front steps of the church. She walked outside, passed out and did a full gainer off of the top step. I called 911 and they were there instantly. Luckily, she only had a few cuts and bruises. Severely dehydrated. Scared the crap out of me!

  13. I’ve called the non-emergency police number many times, but never 911.

  14. Only one 911 call for me, that was sometime in the early 90’s when traffic accidents still went through 911.
    I’ve been witness to a 911 call at a buiness out in the sticks. Call for an ambulance due to someone feeling poorly after falling on ice. Like your situation, this was in volunteer fire fighter territory. I’m putting away my tools and all of a sudden, the lane is full of the volunteer fire departments personal vehicles, the ambulance shows up not many seconds later, amid more volunteer ff’s showing up, and in the distance you can hear the fire truck making its way to the scene. I got a laugh from that one. They needed 1 ambulance for a fall (clearly stated as I was in the office when the call went out) , and theres gotta be 30 people milling around the scene., just as many personal vehicles all with their little green strobe going. No axes in sight unfortunately.

  15. One night years ago when my husband and I actually slept on the same schedule, our house alarm went off in the middle of the night. We launched ourselves out of bed and the control panel was flashing all kinds of contradictory messages about open doors and fire. We were so dazed that we decided to let the responders have a look around, rather than cancelling the alarm (which is what we end up doing 99% of the time it goes off). By the time the police and firetrucks showed up, we’d figured out that it was just some kind of alarm malfunction, but when you get that kind of rude awakening from deep sleep, it’s tough to reason things out quickly.

  16. I was in Baton Rouge a few weeks ago. A male and female were arguing in the middle of the street. He slapped her. I called 911. They responded immediately, but the female said he didn’t hit hurt. They let them leave and I wasted 45 minutes of my evening .

  17. bikerchick says:

    Heh….I called 911 for the first time last Thursday. I went to a grocery store located in a very busy area that includes a Cosco, Chick fil a, a Goodwill and Jiffy Lube. This intersection is always a zoo. And the thru traffic goes to the mall.

    As I am turning into the plaza, I see a standard Schnauzer dog, loose but wearing a harness, running in and out of traffic causing people to panic and jam on brakes and lay on horns. I pulled into the parking lot and along with two other people trying to catch this dog. I call 911 to get an officer out there before an accident happened and to hopefully round up this dog.

    I whistled for him. He started to run to me then turned and ran in the opposite direction to a parked car at the other end of the lot. All the while I’m telling the 911 operator the situation.

    Suddenly, this old lady gets out of the car at the end of the lot waving to me yelling, “He’s mine!” I yelled back, “That’s YOUR dog?!?!” Meanwhile the operator said that it sounds like everything is fine and hung up!

    I walked closer to the lady….she stoped for a smoke break before going into the store and let her dog out to PEE!!! What. A. Fucking. Asshole!!!

    I was pissed. That idiot could have caused a major accident and don’t get me started on how she doesn’t deserve to have an animal. She IS an animal.

  18. The Qweezy Mark says:

    911s a joke!

  19. I’ve had to call 911 more times than I’d like to admit but the best time was years ago after I had come back home from going out with friends. Just went through a divorce, went out with girlfriends to do what we do, left the back door unlocked because the teenage son had also gone out and forgot his key. Live in a small town with, back then, very low crime rate. After a fun night I came home through the back door, my little dog running around all excited, walked into the living room and found a totally strange and unwanted man passed out in my rocking chair. Slumped over, in my house. I immediately started screaming at him, my little dog jumping around doing the “mommy’s home, mommy’s home” dance, and I then became beyond pissed off. I yelled and screamed like a woman possessed until he woke up and I told him to get the hell out of my house! Luckily he complied but stood on my front porch just a swayin’ and wouldn’t move forward. I then called 911. The dispatcher scolded me for keeping myself in the situation, should have left the house immediately, yada yada. End result was 3 cop cars showed up, drunken man had wandered away, they searched my entire house for any additional “intruders” and made me check for any lost valuables. Got a call about an hour later that they found the “suspect” and that he appeared to be a lost drunk who wandered into the wrong house. A lost drunk who came into MY house and passed out in MY living room with MY dog. I suppose I was lucky. I figure the next time I come home to an unknown “suspect” I will have the wits to get the dogs out and then call 911!

  20. bigbearInOH says:

    As the actual 911 dispatcher, I’ve heard a lot of crazy shit…my advice is this– speak clearly and give me an address and what is actually going on. I don’t need a backstory, and I sure as shit don’t need your legal opinion as to who is at fault. I’m not coming, but I can speed up or slow down the process depending on your info. Now I’m going back to my honeymoon radio silence for a few days!

  21. johnthebasket says:

    My town got 911 service when I was 26, so I lived a while with seven digit emergency numbers. Before that, everybody had a red sticker with emergency numbers (fire, police, medical) either on the wall adjacent to a telephone or on the floor near the phone where the glue finally dried up.

    I recall the year because 1) that’s the year I got married, which should have triggered some kind of emergency response but didn’t and 2) I began to install the first Computer Aided Dispatch System in the local 911 center (combined police, sheriff, fire) supported by a sort of accurate geobase system (no civilian GPS until much, much later). So we managed to capture every block of every street in the town (60 square miles) and the county (1800 square miles) and jam the data onto a DEC mini computer. We purchased a CADS (dispatch, not design) system at a scratch and dent sale (we were a little early to the market, so this was pretty recent technology). The fucker crashed every thirty seconds or so, and some of the people in the dispatch center carried guns. So I spent a year, slowly fixing every bug the only way bugs get fixed: one at a time.

    I missed the action several years later, when the system was upgraded to Enhanced 911 (auto address capture), but I bet it was bucking good fun.

    Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot, but he’ll remember with advantages what feats he did that day.

    John

    • I still remember the number plastered on the back of police cars in Brooklyn: 440-1234. I think all of NYC was area code 212 in those days.

      JTB, what DEC mini was that? I worked at DEC briefly for a co-op job, when the KS-10 was the hot new product.
      .

      • johnthebasket says:

        PDP 11/40, later upgraded to an 11/45. The DEC assembler language was really elegant. I programmed in six or seven assembler languages, and the DEC native language was my favorite.

        jtb

        • johnthebasket says:

          Chill . . .

          The PDP-10 line was a fine architecture. As I recall, it took on IBM in an area of the mainframe space in which Big Blue was weak: fast, non-commercial and research computing. I think the Tens were mostly used for research and time sharing, and found a market in R&D and academic applications. My recollection is that IBM was willing to take a loss to displace a Ten, just to hold onto diminishing market share in these spaces. In the end, I think the Ten was done in by a combination of IBM undercutting and DEC’s release of the VAX systems.

          My God, this was so many years ago it seems like another life. I was young, had brown hair, a brown beard, and didn’t have to make a major project out of getting it up. I’m talking about the application system, of course. It seemed like both IBM and I would live forever. Now we both have a hitch right where our gitalong should be.

          John

          • Oh man, I remember the vax system. That was in place where I worked. I repaired many a DEC terminal in those days. Green has always been a personal favorite. No fan of amber screens. I just cleared out a few straggler parts for the old LA120 that where in our stock room. Now that was a sturdy printer.

            • I had an amber-screen terminal. There was one uber-geek on my floor who had the snazzy new VT100. That separate keyboard was sex-ay.

              Not DEC, but I still have a blue ADM 3A gathering dust in the basement. No idea if it works.
              .

    • …And gentlemen in Silicon Valley now abed
      Shall think themselves accursed they were not here
      And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
      That fought with us the day we installed the new CADS in the 911 center.

      • johnthebasket says:

        Thanks, Philippa. I can assure you that these wounds I had on Crispian’s day, as well as a few I don’t display in mixed company.

        jtb

  22. This was back before 911 , but it’s my favorite story about calling emergency services.

    When I was 11 my father had a ’77 Mercury Cougar station wagon. A small section of fuel line rusted out just forward of the rear wheels and he decided to replace it.

    Now my father, Luis El Grande, was a serious mechanic. He ran the dynamometer for the Chysler Race Team in the mid 60’s and tested the engines that Richard Petty won with at Daytona. He was also one of two dyno techs who built and road tested the first 426 street hemi.

    I told you that so you’d understand that replacing a small section of fuel line was no big deal. The plan was to replace the line with a section of rubber tubing held in place with aviation clamps.

    So he got a set of ramps and backed the car onto them. Then he siphoned the gas out of the tank and crawled under the car with an electric saber saw he borrowed from my uncle. He made one cut and the fuel he could siphon out and all the gas in the line ahead of the cut came pouring out.

    He came out from under the car and went inside to wash the gas off his face.

    Then he got back under the car and my 21 year old cousin got under the other side. Dad lined up the saw, flipped the power switch on and told me to plug it in. I was standing next to the car just a few feet away from where his legs were sticking out from under he wagon. As I was bringing the plug up to meet the extension cord I remember thinking “wait a minute, what if….”

    The plug connected and a fireball came blasting out from under the car, followed quickly by my father, with his left arm and back on fire. My cousin starts yelling “Roll, roll, roll!” over the roof of the car and I go running for the garden hose. We start a keystone FD thjg, dad gets shocky and just sits down to watch the pretty flames and a neighbor comes running with a fire extinguisher to put everything out.

    While all this is happening my 8 year old brother Juan is calling the fire department. When they answer he tells them “this is Juan Juanson, I live at 1600 Transylvania Ave. My dad’s on fire, the car’s on fire!”

    The dispatcher hears and 8 year old and asks if it’s a prank. Juan says no and frantically gives the guy his name, address and the rest of the story. He guy still isn’t buying it and starts telling Juan that it’s wrong to make fake calls to the fire department. Juan had enough at this point and, at 8 years old, yells “Look you F*#+ing A-hole…”

    That’s when Mom took the phone away and confirmed the story. The dispatcher got real apologtic and was about to send the whole world over when Mom declined and told he we were across the road from the hospital and she’d have Dad there long before they arrived.

    Luis had some burns and got some time off work, but recovered completely. He eventually fixed the car and bought my uncle a new saw.

  23. Years ago I told a friend of mine he should call 911 because we were both inoperablly high.

  24. Minipeds in NOLA says:

    Does anyone have experience calling 911 in a state where your cell phone isn’t a local number? I’m in Louisiana with a New Hampshire cell phone. My best friend here got mugged and when she called 911 here from her cell (Atlanta) she got Atlanta emergency dispatch. I’m afraid to just try it out but also, don’t know what would happen if I needed it. Anyone know?

    • The Divine Miss E says:

      I called 911 in Florida from a Michigan number, and got the local dispatch.

    • Uncle Goo says:

      Don’t ever feel stupid about making a false alarm call. We’d much rather show to find a broken lightbulb, anyway–and it makes for a good story over a coffee and a doughnut 😉

  25. secondary control says:

    My wife had someone call 911 for me–I’d wrecked my bike, and couldn’t feel my legs. She thought it was a big deal, in spite of my protests that “this kind of thing happens to me all the time, if you wait a coupla minutes I’ll be fine”. 1.5 weeks in the hospital+3 months in bed, I won out-no big deal.

    The second time that I did that=I had the internet–I found your website. 🙂

  26. Surly Shawn says:

    Yes, when I lived in Joliet and there was a drive by right outside (in front of!) my place. The shooters ended up getting hurt as they wrecked and I don’t think they even hit their intended targets.

  27. Not Oprah says:

    First time was during high school (many moons ago) was picking up my friends in my dad’s El Torino for a soccer game when smoke started coming out of the hood. Called my dad who came over and said that it was no big deal and just a little oil burning off the engine. At the last friends pick up place ,we could see flames coming out of the hood. We ran around like frantic high school girls looking for baking soda and garden hoses, called the FD and a neighbor who owned a garage came over with an industrial type fire extinguisher and put it out just before the fire engine got there. My parents arrived first and I was told not to say anything about my dad being there beforehand and saying it was no big deal.
    Another time was the first at the scene of an accident likely caused by icy road conditions, a cab and another vehicle spun out and hit head on resulting in one vehicle smashed against a cement wall. The driver got out and was very disoriented, I couldn’t smell booze on him, but some pedestrian from hell and the cab driver appeared and started yelling with me for letting someone drive drunk – wtf? I just happened to be the first at the scene. When the first responders showed up, I let them know I wasn’t a witness as the cars were coming at me spinning from the other direction and asked to leave. Thankfully they agreed that I could.
    Another time, I was staying at a boyfriends place when I could here kids at a party in a neighbouring house screaming and saying that someone had a gun. Cops showed up instantly and it was quite a scene of cops chasing teens, I never did find out what the final result was.
    I’ve also called the non-emergency numbers a couple of times, for weirdo’s hanging around my house. Just to make them aware, but their services weren’t required.
    That’s all.

  28. One of the few times I had to call 911 sent me down the bureaucratic rabbit-hole so deep I don’t think I would ever call back unless I am missing a limb or something.

    I live close to downtown Raleigh in a tiny neighborhood located at the nexus of three large tracts of land; a mental hospital owned by the state (since closed), NCSU expanded “centennial” campus, and an abandoned Catholic High School owned by the church. These circumstances and our proximity to downtown lends itself to quite often having homeless people set up their makeshift camps in any one of these areas. Sometimes they get a little too close for comfort.

    One night when I got home relatively late, I heard shouting and screaming and could see a fire in the woods not far from the street in front of my house. Way too close for me and my small children so I called 911 to roust them out and move them off. First the dispatcher seemed mildly disappointed that the “nature of my emergency” was not more exciting. I think she had “murder-suicide” in that night’s office pool. With a ho-hum tone of voice she said she would send a patrol car out but that technically it was “out of their jurisdiction”. What? We are in downtown Raleigh. Well, that’s state land, she told me, since it was on the state mental hospital grounds. The only thing a Raleigh cop can do is shine a flashlight from the street.

    That not making any sense on many levels (primarily if there was a murder going on would the cop just stand there and say, “Hey cut it out!”) I asked how can we get them moved away. She said if we wanted the camp moved we had to call State Police and gave me their number. Well the State Police is a tiny force that patrols state-owned property in Raleigh. My mom, who works at the State Capital refers to them as “Barneys” and anyone from NC knows what that means. So of course I call the State Police number and get a voice-mail. I guess no emergencies are allowed on State property after 10pm. Good thing because the city cops apparently can’t do anything about it if there was.

    The next day I call back and talk with someone who tells me, “I don’t think we have jurisdiction there. I think that’s campus property. Call NCSU campus police.” OK so we are going further down on the law-enforcement chain here. Campus Police? Really? I pictured some perverts who got the job so they could ogle college girls all day. So I called NCSU and guess what? “Not our jurisdiction!” I said I called State Capital police and they referred me to NCSU. “You should call Dix Hospital. They have a security team.” Now we are clearly in rent-a-cop area here. These guys will either sit down and drink with the guys in the camp or raze the place like Rambo wannabees. Could go either way.

    So I called the hospital and finally got a hold of someone that told me…and I’m not shitting you here…”Call 911 if you think you are in danger.” Circle complete. Buck passed efficiently. Kind of poetic, really.

    Two days later. With no further prompting from me, the Raleigh cops where out busting up the camp and sending folks on their way. I don’t know if my loop-de-loop played any role in this or someone shivved someone in the ribs. Some of my neighbors and I got together to go out and remove the debris and residue of the camp to discourage anyone from setting up there again. That was disgusting and a story for another day….

  29. The only time I had to call 911 was when I was having new carpet installed. I ended up with a young Mexican dude rolling around on my floor in pain while his father begged me – in Spanish, which I don’t speak – to help him. Poor kid had kidney stones. Took two fire engines, an ambulance, and two police cars to get him off my floor and to the hospital while far too many neighbors looked on.

    I resolved to never call 911 again after that.

  30. Rachael Smith says:

    I have more experiences with paramedics or “911” being called on my behalf. But, I called 911 just a couple of months ago for my mom. Ya see, shes been suffering with what are called “cluster” headaches, “suicide” headaches, ” alarm clock” headaches. They are a migraine’s evil twin. They happen multiple times in 24 hrs at the same time, thus “alarm clock” headaches. People have been known to commit suicide or are admitted to suicide watch because the pain is so excrutiating.
    I was chatting on the phone w my mom one night like we always do and her head ache got rockin and rollin while we were still on the phone. It got really scary when she said “Rachael, I have a handful of pills, tell me which one to take.” That terrified me and at that time nothing worked anyway. Shes had every test under the sun, basically to rule out a brain tumor or something. I thought that if she got to the ER in the throws of one of these mystery headaches they could check her brain out or something, why not? The paramedics got to her house, and through her delirium and pain and tears just told them to leave! I specifically gave instructions that she can barely think or speak, take her to the hospital, she has health insurance. But, NO! And her idiot husband just sent them on their merry way. This was in June. She has a script now written by a neurologist that charges a grand per visit, $200 w her insurance. The nasal spray zomig that she was prescribed works like a charm, but her insurance will only cover 6 sprays a month! She gets them twice a night! The 6 pills w insurance cost $75.00 a piece. I know she would sell her soul for the 60 sprays a month….but satan isnt in the market for souls, apparently. I know that this is excrutiatingly long, but if one person knows what Im talking about or can reccomend a doc, we would be so grateful!
    Thanks, Jeff, for allowing me to use your forum for this sad and hopeless situation….please anyone???? Xoxo

    • Oh Rachel, that’s terrible. I hope they find out wtf is going on. Sending good thoughts to you and your mother.

  31. I’ve answered 911 calls.
    Not fun.
    I’d hate to be a police dispatcher.
    Too much stress.

  32. Senor Kaboom says:

    I was visiting my mother once and some redneck’s car caught fire in the street in front of her house. I did not know what kind of car it was. The dispatcher asked me if I could “please describe the vehicle”. My response: “Well, I’m not sure of the make, but it’s yellow, the hood is open, it’s the only around with flames shooting out the top of the engine about three feet high, and a couple of not-so-clever hillbillies are trying to throw water on it. Trust me, you can’t miss it!” The dispatcher started cracking up, and so did my mother and I.

  33. Senor Kaboom says:

    Around midnight on Christmas a couple of years ago, my wife and I were returning home from my mother’s house, giving my sister a lift back to her in-laws. We got about two blocks down the road, and the smell of natural gas (yes, the stuff they add to it, not the gas itself, I know) was all but overwhelming. I called 911, and we waited in a nearby parking lot to see what happened. The fire department came and the captain came over to shake my hand. He said “sir, I think it’s safe to say that you’ve saved at least one life tonight.” blush!

  34. Cousindave says:

    I called 911 three times in less than one week. This is a long story, but worth the read. My wife and I got divorced late last year. We had three houses, two of which are usually tenant occupied. The house in Wake Forest, NC was empty and needed repairs. So I went up there to stay for a while. I decided that I would stay for good and got a new job as a contractor. We were at work everyday before 7am. So on March 31 at 6am I departed for work. Who would think that in late March in the South that it would be 28 degrees and my deck was a frozen sheet of sleet. My cat was in heat, so when I opened the door, she bolted out and down the steps in search or Orange Buttercat that lived down the street. Not on my watch Kitty! I took off after her but that first step was a doozy. I slipped and fell head over heals hitting every step to the bottom. It knocked me out and apparently was out for almost an hour. When I woke up, I did what any macho idiot would do, I decided to “shake it off”. Maybe rub some dirt or Tussin on it. I called my boss and told him I needed the day off and he informed me that the jobsite was closed due to sleet. My girlfriend was a nurse in Charlotte, so she brought me some pain pills. About two days later, the hallucinations started. My neighbors thought I was crazy when I knocked on their door to ask them why they had a Greyhound bus in their driveway. Later on, we went to the bakery where I saw a wedding cake with the bride and groom figurines on top. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see these figurines having a conversation, but when I looked directly at them, they froze up like the toys in Toy Story. Now I have a plethora of people doubting my sanity. On April 5th, I went back to work. We were installing light fixtures but I couldn’t lift my arms above my head. The pain was overwhelming and I decided I would finally go to the emergency room. About an hour later, the doctor came into the room and started screaming at me. But I didn’t think were on a roof top where you could see the Statue of Liberty off in the distance. As it turns out, I broke three ribs in five places and puncturing two lungs. This brought on strep pneumonia which led to sepsis which caused the hallucinations. They strapped me into an ambulance to head straight to the big hospital with surgeons and ICU units. I was scheduled for surgery the next morning. I spent three days in ICU but then I got paroled into a private room strapped up to blinking machines and IV tubes. I woke up and thought I was in an abandoned warehouse in downtown Raleigh. I tried to get out of bed, but whenever I did, an alarm would go off and nurses came running into my room demanding I lay back down. When they left, I made my first call to 911. I told the dispatcher that I was being held against my will and I don’t know my captors or what they want from me. The dispatcher got me in touch with the Raleigh Police Dept. The cop said that I was calling from WakeMed Hospital and they had their own forms of security. So I got pretty irate that they wouldn’t come save me. Well, I fell asleep and when I woke up, my older brother was sitting beside my bed. He asked me if I remembered calling 911 and I said no. I made my second call two days later. I told the dispatcher that I was at the Charlotte Aquarium (which didn’t exist). I explained that they allow you to swim with the non aggressive fish. I told them that I was wet and cold and I can’t find my shoes. Every time I get off this bench a buzzer goes off and several nurses appear. Luckily, a nurse grabbed the phone and explained my predicament. My escape plan was foiled again. I would have gotten away if it weren’t for those meddling captors. The next day, we took a field trip to Lake Monroe (never happened) but I was glad to be out in the warm sun (never left my room). Now was my opportunity to escape for good. I unplugged myself and walked to the elevators unnoticed. I made it down to the first floor where I was met by several security officers. I was so pissed that the mall cop guards were in on this captivity. When I got back in bed, I made my third and final call to 911. The dispatcher put me on hold and I was livid. A few seconds later, my captor (doctor) came into my room along with my brother. I was still on hold at that time. They asked me who was on the other line and I told them 911. I’m busting out of this joint. So they put me in a wheelchair and took me on a tour of the hospital to prove to me that I was not in an abandoned warehouse or an aquarium. They set me free after 14 days in captivity. Now, I’m back on my feet and we can have a laugh about it all. So I have some advice. If you have never broken your ribs, don’t do it. If you do, don’t wait five days to see a doctor!