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Emergencies Created by Misplaced 911 Calls

Lost Dentures & TV Turmoils Tie Up Critical Services

Emergencies Created by Misplaced 911 Calls

By John Salak –

Everyone kind of knows what an emergency is. It’s got to involve some life-threatening situation involving a crime, medical situation or maybe a natural disaster, right? This is especially the case when someone is calling emergency services. It is just obvious.

Apparently not.

Consider what happened last year in Wales, one of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom. The Welsh Ambulance Service reported that it fielded approximately 415,000 “emergency” calls last year to its “999” number only to discover that more than 68,000 of these were anything but an emergency. This means that almost one in five calls—about 20 percent—are dangerously misplaced.

But what exactly are some of these offset callers worried about? The ambulance service noted that one call came in after a person had eaten too much kebob and another was fielded from someone who lost their dentures.

Yet another man called to report his wife accidentally got some chili in her eyes, causing them to run, while someone else noted they had a ring stuck on their finger and needed it to be cut off. We’re assuming this caller was asking for the ring to be lopped off and not one of their digits.

Someone else raised an alarm when their hand got stuck in a mailbox—which admittedly could be considered an emergency by some. But then there was the denture dilemma when a caller reported the following to the Welsh dispatcher.

“I have a bottom part denture, and I went to clean my teeth and I said, ‘Where’s my false teeth?’ This sounds crazy… but I don’t know what else to do. Could I have swallowed my false teeth?”

The dispatcher was at a loss as to what to tell the dentally challenged individual. Of course, the Welsh aren’t the only ones making non-emergency calls to emergency numbers.

In early January an intoxicated man from Morgantown, West Virginia was arrested after making multiple non-emergency calls to the town’s 911 number.

Canadians apparently have their own calling issues as well. The Kelowna Capital News in British Columbia recently reported on a string of unique and wholly non-emergency calls delivered to the town’s emergency number.

Verbatim highlights include:

  • “Someone cut in line at the car wash.”
  • “I can’t believe that children have drawn with chalk at the playground.”
  • “The nozzle isn’t working at the gas station.”
  • “My window wiper is broken.”
  • “My television has gone crazy. I can’t get any channels or nothing.”

And the WellWell staff’s favorite non-emergency, emergency call:”

  • “My Amazon package with vitamin C for my hamster hasn’t arrived, can you track it?”

Please make sure an emergency call to emergency services is really an emergency. Tying up lines with misplaced calls can actually create emergencies.





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