101 Things the Fire Department wishes you knew



Wednesday, July 29

Mr Universe

A neat feature built into cell phones is this concept that even if it has no carrier and no one paying the bill, it can still turn on and call 911. Great feature. I love it. Genius. Anyone who finds a phone in the street can turn it on and call for the FBI.

THE EMERGENCY

The call center has received a cell phone call requesting the FBI be sent immediately to a street corner.

THE ACTION

Reading the text, which I'm sure the dispatch center was laughing about the whole time, I think back to every time I've had to wait for an ambulance to respond because others were tied up on clients instead of patients. Yes, I consider people who activate 911 for non-emergent, non-urgent, non-medical/police/fire/assistance clients, not patients.

Mr Universe is often seen at this corner, half in traffic, waving us along as if without him we will slow to a stop and not be able to continue. Mr Universe is homeless by choice and often tells us, at length, about how much easier it is to score with the ladies when you don't have to waste your assistance check on housing.

He wears a number of layers of clothing, each eclectic in its own right. An open front helmet is covered with a variety of old CDs and flashy nick knacks he has collected over the years and a beard that matches his dreadlocks perfectly. And yet, despite his appearance, is entirely sane.

Today Mr Universe found a cell phone in the street and, by golly, it turned on. There was no service to it, someone likely threw it out instead of recycling it, but when Mr Universe saw it ask him if he needed 911, he decided to get some things taken care of.

As we arrived and saw him waving, as usual, and on the phone we could only wonder what he was up to.
"When did Universe get a phone?" the driver wondered aloud.
"Probably nicer than mine" the officer grumbled.

As I approach Mr Universe is still online with radio telling them that there is a conspiracy to destroy the earth and some other nonsense, and he wants the FBI, not the Fire Department.

Yes, dispatch assumed this man was mentally unstable and instead of sending a law enforcement officer, as per the caller's request, they sent Fire/EMS. The catch all, end all of the system.

We informed Mr Universe we had no phone number for the FBI and the boss asked to see his phone. Out came the battery and Mr Universe was reminded that to seek fire or medical assistance he need simply use the street pull box located 6 feet away, but that false alarms are not tolerated.

He waited 6 hours to pull the hook in the box and ask for the FBI again.

2 comments:

Dispatcher X said...

Damn cell phones are the death of us. Not to mention all the parents that think it's ok to give them to the little kids to play with....and they just keep re-dialing us.

Little Girl said...

Cell phones are the bane of my life .... one day I will be mentally unstable from speaking to all deactivated cell phones, infants, and the homeless people. Like Dispatcher X explains they just keep re-dialing us, and there isn't much we can do unless someone actually talked to us - oh how I love telling 'responsible' patents to take the cell phone from their child, and NOT give it back to them until they are responsible and know how to use a phone correctly.

With my agency, any card 25 get a police and EMS response, this way if the patient becomes violent or is better suited to go with police we have then their already, or if they really need medical attention the medics handle them.