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911 Calls: Unique, Genius, and Strange Examples

911, emergency calls

911 calls are a vital component of our emergency response system. They provide a crucial link between those in need and those who can help, making the difference between life and death in many cases. However, 911 calls are not always serious; in fact, some of the most amusing, creative, and even outrageous calls come to the 911 line. These calls can range from a child calling to report their missing toy, to someone reporting an alien invasion, to someone calling to ask for a ride to the store. Despite the fact that some of these calls may seem frivolous, they are still important to respond to, as they can reveal underlying issues or provide an opportunity to educate the public about proper use of the 911 system. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the most intriguing calls that have been made to 911 and learn more about the important role that this system plays in our communities.

Genius 911 Calls

911 operators are often the first point of contact for people in dire situations, and their quick thinking and calm demeanor can make all the difference. In some cases, callers are able to come up with ingenious solutions to their predicaments, showcasing the resilience of the human spirit.

One of the most well-known examples of this occurred when Brian David Sweeney, a former US Navy pilot, was on United Airlines Flight 175. He left a voicemail for his wife Julie three-and-a-half minutes before the plane struck the World Trade Centre’s south tower. With no other options, he made the difficult decision to call 911 knowing that his call would be recorded and he could say goodbye to his loved ones. Despite the gravity of his situation, Brian remained composed and provided the operator with his coordinates, which proved to be instrumental in helping rescuers locate the downed plane and his body after the crash.

This story is a testament to the bravery and resourcefulness of individuals in the face of adversity, and serves as a reminder of the important role that emergency responders play in our communities. Here’s a brief summarized transcript:

“Hey Jules, this is Brian. Listen, I’m on an airplane that’s been hijacked. If things don’t go well, and it’s not looking good, I just want you to know I absolutely love you. I want you to do good, go have good times — same with my parents. I’ll see you when you get here. I want you to know that I totally love you. Bye babe. Hope I call you.”

Another example of resourceful 911 callers comes from domestic abuse victims. Many victims need to call 911, but cannot do so openly while their abuser is present, so they use a cover story. One of the most common cover stories? Ordering pizza. Here’s a summary of one such call between an Oregon woman and a 911 dispatcher:

Dispatcher: Oregon 911

Caller: I would like to order a pizza at [address redacted].

Dispatcher: You called 911 to order a pizza?

Caller: Uh, yeah. Apartment [redacted].

Dispatcher: This is the wrong number to call for a pizza…

Caller: No, no, no. You’re not understanding.

Dispatcher: I’m getting you now.

Later in the call, the woman found creative ways to answer the dispatcher’s yes or no questions about how much danger she and her mother were in, and what services they needed.

Dispatcher: Is the other guy still there?

Caller: Yep, I need a large pizza.

Dispatcher: All right. How about medical, do you need medical?

Caller: No. With pepperoni.

Strange Calls

While most 911 calls are serious in nature, some people have used the line for comedic effect. In one famous case, a man from Ohio called 911 to report a “robbery” – but it was just a prank. When the operator asked him what was stolen, the man replied, “A large pepperoni pizza.” The operator was not amused, but the caller got a good laugh out of it.

In another instance, a man called 911 to report a “domestic disturbance” in his apartment – only to admit that he was just having a loud argument with his TV. In this case, the operator had a good sense of humor and even asked the man if he wanted to file a report against the TV.

Emergencies are relative, and sometimes people make a call when something feels like an emergency. That was the case for a 4 year old boy was having trouble with his math homework and decided to call for help.

Call transcript:

Operator: 911 emergencies
Yeah I need some help.
What’s the matter?
With my math.
With your mouth?
No with my math. I have to do it. Will you help me?
Sure. Where do you live?
 No with my math.
Yeah I know. Where do you live though?
No, I want you to talk to me on the phone.
No I can’t do that. I can send someone else to help you.
What kind of math do you have that you need help with?
I have take aways.
Oh you have to do the take aways.
Alright, what’s the problem?
Um, you have to help me with my math.
Okay. Tell me what the math is.
Boy: Okay.
16 take away 8 is what?
You tell me. How much do you think it is?
I don’t know, 1.
No. How old are you?
I’m only 4.
What’s another problem, that was a tough one.
Um, oh here’s one. 5 take away 5.
5 take away 5 and how much do you think that is?
Johnny what do you think you’re doing?!
The policeman is helping me with my math.
What did I tell you about going on the phone?
You said if I need help to call somebody.
I didn’t mean the police!

What were they thinking? 

Sometimes, 911 operators get calls from people that just make you wonder. In one case, a man called 911 to report a “carjacking” – but he was driving a car that he had stolen from another person. When the operator asked him why he was calling, he replied, “I just wanted to report a crime.”

In another case, a man called 911 to report a “kidnapping” – only to admit that the “kidnapper” was actually his wife, who had taken their child away to get a haircut. Both of these cases illustrate the lengths some people will go to in order to get attention.

Real-life 911 Calls: Lessons Learned

In addition to highlighting some of the most fascinating calls made to 911, it is also important to take a step back and reflect on some of the lessons that can be learned from these calls. One common theme that emerges from many of these calls is the importance of remaining calm in a crisis situation. In many cases, 911 operators are able to help callers by providing instructions on how to perform CPR or other lifesaving techniques. However, in order to do so, it is essential that callers remain calm and focused, as panicking can lead to mistakes that could further exacerbate the situation. Therefore, it is important for individuals to educate themselves on basic first aid and emergency response techniques, so that they are better prepared to handle a crisis situation if it arises.

Another lesson that can be learned from these calls is the importance of proper use of the 911 system. While some of the calls highlighted in this article were humorous, others were simply a waste of time and resources. Calling 911 for non-emergency situations can tie up lines and prevent operators from responding to true emergencies, potentially putting lives at risk. Therefore, it is important to be aware of alternative resources and to use 911 only when it is truly necessary. Finally, it is worth noting that the 911 system is not perfect, and that there are often limitations to what operators can do. For example, in some cases, callers may be unable to provide their location or may not speak English fluently, making it difficult for operators to assess the situation and provide assistance. In these cases, it is important to remain patient and work with the operator to the best of your ability, recognizing that they are doing their best to help in a difficult situation. 

911 Call Etiquette: Tips for Making Effective and Appropriate Calls

While 911 calls can be made by anyone in a crisis situation, it’s important to remember that these calls are intended for emergencies only. When making a 911 call, it’s important to stay calm and focused, and to provide as much information as possible to the operator. Here are some tips for making effective and appropriate 911 calls:

  1. Know when to call: 911 should only be used for emergencies, such as a crime in progress, a fire, or a serious medical issue. For non-emergency situations, such as a noise complaint or a minor car accident, use the appropriate non-emergency number for your local police department or emergency services.
  2. Be prepared: When making a 911 call, be prepared to provide as much information as possible to the operator, including your location, the nature of the emergency, and any other relevant details. If possible, stay on the line until the operator tells you it’s okay to hang up.
  3. Stay calm: In a crisis situation, it’s easy to panic, but staying calm can help you communicate more effectively with the 911 operator. Take a deep breath and speak clearly and slowly, so that the operator can understand you.
  4. Follow instructions: Once you’ve made a 911 call, follow the instructions of the operator. They are trained professionals who are there to help you, so be cooperative and do as they say.
  5. Don’t hang up: Unless the operator tells you it’s okay to hang up, stay on the line until emergency services arrive. The operator may need to ask you additional questions, or provide you with instructions on how to help the person in need.

Do you have a child?  Check out this guide to train your children in how to use 911.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your 911 call is effective and appropriate, and that emergency services are able to respond quickly and efficiently to the situation at hand.

911 phone calls


911 calls can be serious, funny, or downright crazy. However, it is important to remember that these calls are a vital part of our emergency response system, as they provide essential information that assists first responders in their mission to help those in need. Whether it’s a medical emergency, a fire, or a crime in progress, the information provided in a 911 call can make all the difference in how quickly and effectively emergency services can respond to the situation.

Therefore, it is important that when making a 911 call, one should stay calm and provide as much information as possible, including the exact location of the emergency, the nature of the problem, and any other relevant details that could assist the responders. It is also important to remember that 911 operators are trained professionals who are there to help, so be cooperative and follow their instructions.

In addition, it is worth noting that not all emergencies require a 911 call. In some cases, there may be alternative resources that can better address the situation, such as a non-emergency police line or a mental health crisis center. It is important to be aware of these resources and use them when appropriate, in order to help ensure that 911 lines remain available for true emergencies.

So, while it is true that 911 calls can be serious, funny, or downright crazy, it is important to remember that they are a vital part of our emergency response system, and that making an appropriate and effective 911 call can make all the difference in a crisis situation.

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