Saturday, 18 April 2015

Trivial 999 Emergency Calls

Or for the benefit of US readers, trivial 911 emergency calls.

The 999 emergency phone number saves many lives every year, but unfortunately not everyone uses the service responsibly.  For example, the Welsh Ambulance Service recently reported that they received 31,219 non-urgent calls in the last twelve months.

"What is the nature of your emergency..."
To highlight how irresponsible some people are, I've featured below a few examples of some of these non-urgent calls* which illustrate that in some cases people have phoned 999 for the most ridiculous reasons.

* These are taken from genuine calls received by various emergency services around the UK and the rest of world.

To turn things into a bit of a quiz though, I've also included one fake emergency call which I just made up, so have a read of the following trivial emergency calls and then scroll down the page to see if you can guess which one was the red herring...

1) "I've ran out of toilet roll."

Using the toilet only to discover afterwards that there was no toilet roll would be far from ideal, but it's hardly a life or death sitution.  However, one person apparently disagrees with me on this, and they actually rang 999 to report that they had ran out of toilet roll!  I'm not sure what they expected the police to do...

"Okay, we'll get right on it.  I've put a call out to the closest patrol car and they'll be straight round to your house with a fresh roll, just as soon as they've finished dealing with three burglaries and two murders."

2) "Police, ambulance, fire services ... or social media?"

On the rare occasions when facebook goes down it can be frustrating, but facebook being offline is hardly something you would class as an emergency.  However, that hasn't stopped some people from calling the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to ask when facebook would be back online!

As Sgt Burton Brink (@LASDBrink) points out in his tweet below, facebook is not a law enforcement issue, and he has tweeted to ask people to keep the phone lines clear for real emergencies:

A tweet from Sergeant Brink, a subtle clue as to whether or not this example is true.

3) "Police, fire, or chicken fried rice with prawn crackers."

One woman called 999 to report that she'd been trying to call her local Chinese takeaway but they weren't answering!  When the operator asked what the emergency was, the woman explained that she just wanted to know if the takeaway was closed or if they had moved.

Green potatoes suggest solanine build up.
However, green colour can occur without
solanine build up, and vice versa.  A bitter taste
is a more reliable indicator of solanine toxicity.

4) Dietary concerns

If you or someone else had accidentally swallowed poison, detergent or some other potentially lethal substance, then your life could potentialy be in danger so ringing 999 would be an absolute priority.  However, one time-wasting caller rang 999 to ask if the green part of a potato was poisonous!

To make matters worse, he hadn't even actually ate the green part of a potato.  He was just a bit curious.

5) Call 999 for all the latest football gossip.

Finally, Bill Shankly famously once said, "Football isn't as important as life or death.  It's more important than that."  He made the comment tongue in cheek, but this next 999 call reveals that one football fan seems to have taken him at face value.

The North West Emergency Services recently reported that one Man United fan heard a rumour that Man United had re-signed Christiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid, so he rang 999 to ask if the rumour was true!

. . . . . . .

As I pointed out at the start of this post, all but one of the above trivial 999 calls were genuine calls, so all that remains now is to reveal which 999 call was fictitiously made-up.   Scroll down the page to find out which 999 call was the red herring...

The answer, of course, is that the first four 999 calls were genuine and the Man United fan ringing the North West Emergency Services was the made-up call.  As I'm sure everyone realised, if he was a Man United fan then he would of course have rang the London Emergency Services.

If you want to further test your astuteness at spotting 'True or False' facts, then check out Charles Fudgemuffin's latest ebook 'True Or False: A Collection Of 100 Light-Hearted Facts And Bluffs'.


Final Note: For the benefit of UK readers, you can report non-urgent crimes or make general enquiries by dialling 101.  Or if your enquiry is 'toilet paper' related then try ringing your local supermarket, rather than ringing the police.

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About The Author

The 'How To Save The World' books
by Charles Fudgemuffin
Charles Fudgemuffin is the author of the alien comedy 'How To Save The World' books which are available for Kindle from Amazon.  The first book in the series is available from the following link:
How To Save The World: An Alien Comedy

As with all Kindle books, you can also download a free sample of the first few chapters.

Please note, the 'How To Save The World' books contain material suitable for ages 18+ and are not recommended for prudes or squares.