Thursday, December 18, 2008

911 Emergency...or Not

So, I already have issues with this wonderful "service" called "9-1-1." See, in theory, it's a great idea. You are having an emergency--fire, heart attack, vandalism, rape, etc--and you dial this number, get a dispatcher, tell them the nature of your emergency and they dispatch the appropriate people.

In actuality, this doesn't seem to happen as frequently as we'd like. You dial 9-1-1 and get a busy signal. Or the phone rings off the hook. Or you're on hold for an eternity. The list can go on and on. But, what's highly unacceptable is this situation.

Since I know you all have a phobia of links, I'll summarize. A college student was being attacked--like stabbed attacked--in her apartment, so she called 9-1-1. The police didn't show up for 48 minutes. Wait, it gets better! The 9-1-1 dispatcher said that he did not hear anything that would indicate an emergency.

Let me rephrase: The EMERGENCY LINE DISPATCHER took an EMERGENCY CALL from someone being STABBED TO DEATH and did not hear anything that would indicate an emergency.

I can see where there may have been some confusion, I suppose. I mean, 21-year olds call 9-1-1 all the time to report being attacked, when in fact, they're just prank calling to waste time.

Forty-eight minutes.

Needless to say, she was dead by the time the police got there and her fiance--who had been at work--had come home to discover her dead on the floor of the apartment. If I were her fiance, I'd be askin' for the name of that dispatcher and suing him til the end of eternity. THAT is worth a lawsuit. Negligible homicide, accessory after the fact, wrongful death... I'm sure there's a bunch of things that could be tacked on to that lovely little suit.

But, let's look at this on the grander scale.

If dispatchers are now able to determine that a person calling in isn't really in danger, despite what they're saying, why should we have a 9-1-1 call center? Seriously! If someone's stabbing me and I'm saying, "Send the freaking police!" I probably don't mean send them in an hour. I probably mean send them five minutes ago. And while I'm lying here being stabbed, go ahead and send an ambulance, too.

Much easier to just dispatch than to not and have your pants sued off--or have people like me sit here and type about how stupid you are. Really. They record those 9-1-1 calls, you know. And, just in case you didn't realize it, SHE WAS SCREAMING. I can't imagine why should would be screaming if she was only being stabbed--I mean, that's not a real emergency, is it? It's not like she was in pain or anything.

Whatever. Do it right or don't do it at all. I can't say anything more on this because I'm starting into broken record syndrome. Don't worry, though, I'm sure I'll have another blast of stupid for you soon.

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