Nine-One-One, What’s Your Emergency? Wait …You’re Kidding, Right?
So you think you’ve seen and heard it all? Well, think again, because these folks actually picked up the phone and dialed 911 to report …
“Help me, please!”
“Ma’am, calm down and tell me what’s wrong.”
“My house is on fire. I just moved in today and turned on the heat and … and … and, that big metal thing in my living room caught on fire, please huuurrrrryyy! There are flames and fire, and, and, and … AHHHH!!!! it’s getting hot! Huuurrrryyy!!! Oh, God, oh God, oh God … MY CAT’S GONNA DIE!”
Okay, so I arrive and see the distraught five-foot-tall, three-hundred-pound caller standing there on the front porch with the front door wide open. It’s 20 degrees outside and all she’s wearing is a t-shirt. Nothing but a t-shirt. And she’s crying and screaming and begging me to go inside to rescue her cat, a cat that was trapped inside the inferno.
I saw no flames, no smoke, and, well, nothing. So I stepped inside the small house. The cat was asleep on the sofa.
“See, it’s on fire. Look through that little glass and you can see the flames.”
“Ma’am, that’s your heater. It uses fire to warm your home. It’s perfectly safe.”
That’s when she realized she was wearing nothing “butt” a t-shirt.
I radioed dispatch and told them to cancel the responding fire units. Then I tried to erase from my mind what I’d just seen. It was not a pretty sight.
“I think my house is on fire.”
“You think your house is on fire? Do you see flames or smoke?”
“No, but my wall’s hot. Would you please send someone over to check it out?” Please hurry.
I went to the door, peeked inside through the glass inset, and saw a gentleman sitting on his couch watching Jeopardy.
The door opened quickly and the little man with hoot owl eyes peered out at me. He motioned for me to come inside.
“Thanks for coming officer. My house may be on fire.”
He led me to a fireplace and then placed his hand on the wall just over the center of the mantle.
The wall is hot. See, feel right here.”
“Sir, you have a roaring fire going in the fireplace. Naturally, the wall above it may get a little warm.”
“Thank you, officer. That never occurred to me.”
“Please help me! I’ve been locked inside my bedroom for several hours and can’t get out. I’m getting really hungry, too. And I’m pregnant and I’m really scared. Please help me!”
I broke a glass beside the front door, reached inside and turned the deadbolt latch (See how easy it is for burglars. Use a keyed deadbolt for better security, but remove the key from the lock). Then I opened the front door and went inside. Sure enough, she’s locked inside the master bedroom and she’s crying.
“I think I’m going to lose my baby because I’m so upset.”
“Ma’am, did you try turning the little button in the center of the knob?”
A beat of silence followed by a faint click.
“I think I have it now. Thank you for coming by.”
“Yeah, um…could you send a cop over here right away, please. I just moved into this apartment and can’t figure out how to turn up the cold water temperature on my kitchen sink. It’s too cold and the landlord won’t help. He just hangs up on me.”
Instead of responding to the residence I used my cellphone to call the gentleman and politely explained that water temperatures are not a true emergency and that cold water temperatures occur naturally. They are what they are because tap water is piped directly from the city. He then proceeded to curse and rant and rave, saying I was a waste of taxpayer money and that I was a huge part of the reason the country was going down the toilet, which, as I explained to the “nice” man, is another place where the water temperature is non-adjustable.
Finally, our once or twice monthly 911 call to the same residence.
“You gotta send someone over right away. Elvis is back inside my refrigerator and he won’t stop singing. He keeps up that wild racket all night long.”
And so it goes, night after night after night …
I once rescued a cat from inside a chair.