Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Poll: Calling 911

Have you ever had to call 911 for any reason? I'll group this into three categories:

  1. No, never for any reason;
  2. Yes, for a minor accident (e.g. fender-bender); and
  3. Yes, for a serious/dangerous/life-threatening situation.
Driving in Houston, I see the flashing lights of emergency vehicles all the time. I was just wondering this morning how often normal people are actually involved in such actions. I've been in a few accidents over the years, and 911 has been called to get a police/ambulance response, but most of those have been minor and precautionary. There have been two serious incidents where I had to call 911 over a potentially life-threatening situation (interestingly, both occurred while living in College Station and not in Houston).

The first time was a few months after our marriage; we were living in what turned out to be not the nicest apartments and one of our neighbors, while generally a nice lady, got into some big arguments with her ex. One night, around 1 or 2 a.m., we heard them outside arguing with such ferocity and vehemence that we decided police involvement was needed to calm this domestic dispute (from talking with a cousin who is a cop, these are usually the worst kinds of situations).

The second time we called 911 was a few months before we left College Station. We were living in a decent rent house in a decent neighborhood. Our house backed up to a creek, so there was a little separation between us and the houses behind us. One night, I think it was around midnight, we noticed a glow coming in from our bedroom sliding glass door which led to the back porch. When I got up to investigate, I saw that the warm orange glow was emanating from a tree in the backyard just across the creek from ours, quickly becoming engulfed in flames. No idea how it started, but I didn't want to see it grow.

What stories do you have?

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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, I've called 911 a few times. I'm trying to remember specifics. A few times it's been because I witnessed car accidents. Once a friend was having chest pains and couldn't walk. (Turned out to be nothing serious.) Seems like I've done it other times. Let me keep thinking, I'll get back to you.

Amy said...

I've never actually called 911, but it had to be called once for me after I was in a car accident. It still remains this mystical thing to me.

erinlo said...

I called 911 about three years ago after I got my hand stuck in the toilet. Don't ask.

euphrony said...

Umm . . . okay, I have to ask. You got your hand stuck in the toilet!?!?!

erinlo said...

Ask Erin. I spilled the whole story to her.

Chaotic Hammer said...

Nope, never called 911 myself.

When I lived in California, I did talk to a 911 operator though -- I happened to be driving down a feeder road one evening, and to my amazement, happened upon a pickup truck in the ditch just ahead of me, on its side (lights still on). Somebody on the freeway had apparently seen it happen moments earlier, and pulled over to the shoulder and told me that the truck had just driven into the ditch. The guy from the freeway and I both went over to the pickup and could see one guy inside -- he appeared to be okay, so we helped lift him out of the door that was pointing up toward the sky.

He smelled like a brewery, and was so drunk he could barely stand up. He also didn't speak a word of English (common thing in California, especially near the fields where we lived). After a while a crowd had gathered, and one of the Spanish-only bystanders had dialed 911 but couldn't understand English to talk to the operator, so he handed the cell phone to me, and I answered all the questions about what had happened, and where we were located. Within about 10 minutes, the CHP showed up, and it was kind of funny seeing all the Spanish-speaking bystanders suddenly flee. It looked like a kitchen full of cockroaches when you turn a light on (my guess is that most of the people there were illegal aliens, and wanted no part of it when authorities started showing up).

I'm with Amy on this. 911 is a pretty big deal, and remains a mystical thing, to be used only for truly critical situations (which none of us wants to be part of, if we can avoid it).

Brody Harper said...

I used to answer 911 for a living. It was a rough job, but I came out of it with a few interesting stories.

From my experience only about 20% of the calls are actually "911 worthy", but then again, I was wishing I wasn't at work.

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