911 Operators Describe The One Call That They'll Never Forget
Being an emergency dispatcher must lead to experiences no other job could possibly create. Someone calls, panicked, worried, and it's your duty to not only keep the person calm, but retrieve critical information to pass along to the necessary help before they arrive. However, not every call ends well, as evidenced by the stories below.
Reddit user, u/catsugh, wanted to hear from the front line when they asked:
Wait For Professional Help To Arrive
Harley motorcycle tipped over and the clutch lever went into a 4 year old's eye. Parent was on the line asking what to do. Suddenly, she said, "They're going lift the motorcycle." I emphatically told her to tell them to stop and wait for rescue and EMS. Rescue ended up cutting off the clutch lever and transporting the kid to hospital. She underwent surgery. That was 1982. Just last year, I met the lead rescue officer and the girl herself, now fully grown. They wanted to meet the 911 operator that saved her vision.
A Members Only Club?
18 year old took mephedrone and attacked his mother with a knife. She locked herself in the bathroom and called 999 (UK here). We turn up and the son is butt @ss naked climbing out the window in the front door which he'd smashed. He gets taken to the ground and cuffed. Me and another manage to crawl through the window without cutting ourselves and find mother inside. Place is covered in blood smeared up the walls and every knife from the kitchen bloodied and discarded round the house.
The adrenaline is just starting wear off as the paramedics arrive for Mum and as they're treating her, we go to the kitchen and find a dismembered..... member.... sat on the worktop. Turns out the kid had cut his own penis off after his Mum locked herself in the bathroom. If you google meow meow (slang name for mephedrone) one of the first results is an article about this call in Rolling Stone magazine, although they say he was hanging out the bedroom window and he [wasn't.]
But yeah, I will never forget holding a penis that was not attached to somebody. Not having to utter the words "whose penis is this?" "Does he have a penis" and "wait, don't forget his penis!" (The ambulance almost left with him while we still had it in the house)
A Chance To Prove Yourself
I do Search and Rescue work.
Got a call to respond to a missing lady in her 60s, gone overnight. Police had been searching for hours with no luck, so by the time I got there she had been missing for over 16 hours.
This was my K9s first search ever, so I was super nervous but also proud that we could help. The police kept trying to hold me to a small 10 acres set of woods but my gut said trust my dog, she wasn't there.
The police officer got angry with me and decided to go back to the 10 acres while I continued with my K9 into a new area. 5 mins later my dog gives an alert and I watch which way she went. I climbed over a huge tree to find the lady standing there in shock. She went passed out as soon as I said who I was and asked her what her name was.
After years of being told I was wasting my time, my dog was sh!t, and if I wanted to do SAR I should get a real dog, it was the most amazing feeling in the world. My K9 is almost retired, has multiple finds and a recovery under her paws now, and she is just simply amazing.
Hearing The Terror
a mother called because her kid pulled a pot of oil off the stove and it spilled on his face.
she said she could see the skin peeling off his face.
Friendly reminder to NEVER POINT THE HANDLES OF YOUR POTS OR PANS OFF THE STOVE
Duly noted. I can't believe this hasn't occurred to me as a parent of an infant who's learning to walk.
Working as a deputy sheriff. Got a 911 call to the local park for a dead body. Got there and this lady with a flashlight waved us down. As we approached we yelled out asking if she was the caller. She said yes. We yelled out again where is the body. She said right here, pulled out a gun, and killed herself right in front of us. She wanted to make sure we found her body before the kids showed up the next morning to play in the park.
Unable To Let Go
This isn't mine, but a friend of mine fielded this call. An elderly gentleman called 911 to notify them that his wife had passed in her sleep. Only it was like 7 o'clock at night. Apparently he just couldn't deal with it emotionally, so he got her dressed, took her out to the car, and drove around doing his errands for the day. Watched some TV together. And then after 12 or so hours he finally sort of accepted that she was gone and called 911.
A Slow Descent Into Awful
Man called to report a male was breaking into his neighbors vehicle across the street. A few minutes into the call the man came and started to break into the callers vehicle. A few minutes later the man spotted my caller and broke into his house from the window. Spent 10 minutes listening to physical fight when I finally heard the police enter the house and say "there's blood everywhere." Both intruder and caller died. Oh, and another 911 dispatcher had my callers wife and kids on another line who were hiding upstairs and heard everything.
I talked a lot of people who were shot/stabbed/beaten in the final moments of their lives but you usually get them after the situation occurred. This caller was just trying to look out for his neighbor and I spent a good 15-20 minutes bantering while waiting for officers to arrive and get the auto thief. Getting to joke around and get to know someone's personality before they violently die hit a lot different than taking a call after violence had occurred.
A Quiet Handling Of The Truth
Someone called stating they had seen a man on a small island on the lake hours ago but now the man was gone and his boat is still out there.
An older woman called in a half hour later stating her husband had gone missing, he was last seen taking his boat out on the lake sometime overnight. The increasing tension in her voice as she noticed sheriff's deputies were already dredging the lake was something else. She was calm but clearly actively dealing with the fact her husband was likely dead. They found his body not long after I hung up with her.
Sometimes it's the people screaming that get to you, sometimes its the quiet acceptance of a horrible truth that stays with you longer.
Memorial Day, 1989. FF/EMT at the time. Call dispatched as a "car into a telephone pole." When we got there, I couldn't believe the carnage. A HS student had been given a muscle car as a birthday present. The police later estimated he was going over 90mph when he hit the pole head-on.
Patient's right femur was about six inches long, his patella almost touching his pelvis. The entire long bone had compressed like an accordion. He had other multiple injures. Took us two hours to cut him out of the car. The medics were pumping him so full of drugs to maintain his blood pressure they started to openly worry that they might f*ck his kidneys up.
We finally got him out of the car (only time I've ever seen a KED used) on a gurney and took off for the hospital. Medic had two large-bore IVs going, and had a BP cuff wrapped around one of the bags to create his own "rapid infuser."
The kid lived. He ended up losing the foot on the leg that was destroyed, and that leg (from what I heard months later) was more metal than flesh.
Until the end
Not a 911 responder, but I will never forget about hearing this one in my area. Student housing in the city's center wasn't up to code, someone left something burning in the clothing store below and a huge fire broke out. One student was still inside and couldn't get out because there was no fire escape. Trapped. He called 911. She stayed with him till the end.
I remember odd things people say under stress...
A girl's arm was ripped to shreds in a dog mauling, she kept using the word "meat". "There's shredded meat everywhere!" And she continued to say it as she found pieces of her arm on the ground. "Is that a piece of my meat?!" and "Huhuhu, omg it's my meat!!"
"I brought you the asparagus. The asparagus!!" -guy who came back from the market to find his partner dead.
Little 4-year-old girl got ran over by her grandmother with a lawnmower that was on. It was not the gore or the blood that got me, it was the utter panic of the family, and the way they broke down when the helicopter took off with her inside.
I'm not a first responder anymore but one of my first arson cases was an absolutely hilarious disaster. This husband and wife hated each other but didn't want to get divorced. What they did want was a new house.
So they poured kerosene on approximately 60 rags and stuffed them under the end table next to the couch. Then placed an empty kerosene lamp on the end table.
Then they took a 5 gallon gas can full of gas, took the spout off, and placed it in their master bedroom closet. Their completely devoid of all clothing master bedroom closet except for two jackets with tassels with the price tags still on them. Then they opened all their safes and left them empty and open in the middle of the bedroom.
Then they took all the pictures out of the house and replaced them with random photos they printed off the internet.
Then they removed the televisions and replaced them with old tvs. They put the flat-screen televisions in their barn.
Then they poured a clear trail of gasoline down the hallway.
Their alibi was that on the day of the fire, they were trying to sell their canoe. They finally got a buyer, but the only time they could meet the buyer was at 3 am that night. So they drove 2 hours away to sell a canoe at 3 am the very same night. They then tried to claim the unlit, non electric kerosene lamp must have exploded. Then they claimed that their c neighbors were trying to frame them for arson. Then the husband claimed that his wife was trying to frame him for arson. Then he claimed that Sears was trying to frame him for arson because they were tired of paying his settlement after being injured at work 25 years prior.
It was a good time.
There is so much to learn in the world, it's impossible for one person to know absolutely everything there is to know.
But there are certain things, like common phrases and idioms, that everyone seems to use that might be a little embarrassing to not understand until later in life.
Redditor Curious-2577 asked:
"What's something you learned 'embarrassingly late' in life?"
"My sister was in her fifties when she found out the meaning of, 'You have an addictive personality.'"
"She thought after all these years of therapy that it meant that people were addicted to her personality."
"We laughed hysterically when we talked about this (in a very sad way)."
"I thought that horses had toes until I was 22. I thought the hoof was a 'horseshoe' and the toes were tucked inside."
"How did I learn how wrong I was, you ask?"
"I was walking past a cavalry museum and saw a horse statue and loudly remarked, 'It must hurt so bad when they fold a horse’s toes to put them into the shoe!'"
"Dozens of horse enthusiasts turned and looked at me with wild bewilderment in their eyes."
"The saying is, in fact, 'Nip it in the bud' and not 'Nip it in the butt.'"
"A few months ago, two of my colleagues both handed in their notice at around the same time."
"I kept reading/hearing the sentence, 'They’re both moving on to pastures new’ being thrown about the office in the weeks leading up to them leaving, and I hadn’t heard this phrase before and thought that was the name of the rival company that they were going to, like, 'Pastures New.'"
"I thought it was weird that nobody was talking about how they were both leaving for the same company."
"I was in the car with one of the two people who were leaving and said, 'So where is it that you and X are going to be working? Is it...’"
"And just before I could embarrass myself and say ‘Pastures New,' they interrupted me and said they’re not going to the same place and asked me where I had heard that."
"I think at that moment, I realized I was stupid and didn’t mention it again."
"I think I was in college when I realized that Mario and Luigi are plumbers. I thought they just went and up down these tubes just because that was the theme of the game."
"That Bonsai are not a species of tree, but a way to grow them. Any tree can be a bonsai."
Houston, We Have a Problem
"Houston is not the name of the guy astronauts talk to."
"I learned that pork and beans are not called 'cowboy beans.' I was 18 and asked a grocery store clerk to help me find the 'cowboy beans.'"
"We were looking everywhere and I was getting frustrated because I know that every store carries these beans. After a while, I picked up a pork and beans can with a picture and said, 'See, they look just like this!'"
"He said, 'You mean pork and beans?'"
"Then I realized that my mom called them that so that I would eat them."
"The look of disappointment from that grocery store clerk haunts me to this day."
"Let me tell you about how I thought you were awarded a 'Pullet Surprise.'"
Rum and Coke
"Not too late in life, but I thought my parents were making 'Roman Cokes' until I went to college."
"Which, I think is a much better name for the drink (Rum and Coke) anyway."
Oh No, Not Acoma!
"That a coma was 'A' coma. Until I was probably 19 or so, I thought it was 'acoma.'"
"I thought you fell into acoma."
It Must Have Been a One-Way Trip
"My parents were divorced the whole time and my mom was not, in fact, taking a vacation, lmao (laughing my a** off)."
"I live near the Hospital for Joint Diseases… when I was a kid, I thought was a special hospital for people who had two or more different diseases at the same time."
"Moving cross-country, driving east to west, and crossing from Idaho to Oregon, I noticed huge fields with signs for the Ore-Ida Potato company."
"So I was in my early 20s when I figured out Ore-Ida wasn’t just a brand name but was because their potatoes came from Oregon and Idaho."
"When I was really young, my sister told me she threw her guts up. So I was really afraid of vomiting my entire insides up for years."
Some of these really had us laughing as we realized the revelations some of these Redditors were having.
But when we're really honest with ourselves, we probably didn't figure out some of these until later, too.
While starting a family and having children is a goal that many people have, some do not realize that it's not easy, fun, and loving one-hundred percent of the time. Rather, it's expensive, exhausting, and hard, though it might be worth it in the end.
With this in mind, people shared what they felt were the hardest hurdles of their parenting.
Redditor ApprehensiveShock655 asked:
"What's the worst part of having a child?"
Fear of Not Doing Enough
"The constant anxiety that you’re doing enough to shape them to make good choices, a good life, be a good person and for them to have the life they deserve."
Like the Energizer Bunny
"It's incessant. It never stops. You never get a day off."
"Going from having two days per week to relax and do whatever to literally never having a moment free from responsibility."
No Break In Sight
"I’ve always wanted kids and still do, but this is the only thing that has come close to giving me pause."
"Both my siblings have young kids and I cannot get over how CONSTANT it is."
"From the second the kids wake up to when they finally shut their eyes, it’s non-stop. Then they get maybe an hour or two to themselves, which is mostly spent tidying up, etc., before the nighttime stuff starts with the baby crying, the toddler coming into bed, nightmares, etc."
"It requires years of not getting a full night's rest. You can never just go out whenever you want. No sleeping in, even on weekends because someone has to be up with them at 6 AM."
"Raising human children is an insane task."
Mom's Body After Baby and Dad Bods
"The weight gain is the worst! During the pregnancy, I gained 35 pounds. My belly has stretch marks. My boobs are all saggy."
"And it’s not even fair because my wife only gained like 15."
The Meal Planning
"Coming up with three meals to eat per day EVERY DAY stresses me out so bad."
"This sounds like such a small thing, but it really wears on you over time. You can’t just make something for yourself or something you and your spouse feel like eating: You have to constantly be thinking about if the kid is hungry and what they might be willing to eat."
Keeping Them Safe
"When people ask me this I say, 'do you know those video games where you have to escort a character to a destination without them being attacked?' That's parenting. Those missions are a pain in the a**."
Seriously, Keep Them Safe
"Having to deal with their total lack of self-preservation. They are creative and come up with all kinds of ways to try and kill themselves. Keeping ahead of the game is exhausting."
"They’re just always there. On you, behind you, in front of you, just a little speed bump impeding every task."
Letting Them Live Their Life Their Way
"Having a kid is like having a little piece of your heart running around in the world. When they're sick or get disappointed or just feel sad, it's worse than having it happen to you."
"Yet at the same time, you need to let your kids work through those things to learn to handle them. If you give into the worry and try to shield them from everything, you risk creating harmful co-dependence."
"So it's a constant struggle. But worth it!"
What Is "Sleep" Again?
"I'm only nine years in, but so far, it's been the sleep deprivation. Hands down."
And What Are These "Sick Days" You Speak Of?
"Having to take care of a sick child when you are also sick. For me that has been the most challenging part so far."
Another Full-Time Job
"It's like taking a second job that lasts 18+ years with a 24/7 schedule with no holidays or sick days."
"…And no second paycheck. It's actually like YOU are paying your second salary instead of getting one."
"The loss of freedom. I can't just... go somewhere. Even with older kids, there's so much planning and thinking and getting ready."
"I miss being able to just decide to go somewhere, and go there."
The Time Flies
"The best advice I got was from an ancient hospital security guard in an elevator. 'The days are long, the years are short, cherish them while you can.'"
"The phrase I hate is, 'You don't know it, but one day you pick your kid up for the last time.'"
There are all kinds of troubles that come from being a parent, many of which people don't necessarily think about until they already have a baby in the house.
But reassuringly, many people in the subReddit pointed out that no matter how hard some of these hurdles are to get over, it's still worth it in the end, and it goes by far too fast.
Positive emotions are high among people in the blossoming phase of relationships.
Everything seems more romanticized for people in love due to the amorous joy in their hearts–which also influences their desire to frequently get it on under the sheets–or any other daring location in the heat of the moment.
But for those who've declared "'til death do us part," devoted couples may find that they are not always on the same wavelength sexually compared to when they first met.
Curious to hear how people keep their passion alive, Redditor Rude_Phone6841 asked:
"Married people, how do you initiate sex with your partner?"
When verbally articulating isn't enough...
Let The Book Dictate When
"There is a book called 'How to Subtly Tell Your Partner You Want More Sex.' If you sleep on the right side of the bed, you can casually open it up and your spouse will see the giant printed title on the front. Sometimes, I’ll just get the book out and leave it on his side of the bed. Once he was messing with me and acting like he was oblivious to my not-so-subtle hints, so I threw the book at him. The book is effective and hilarious."
"ETA: Sadly, we haven’t found the book since we moved. Fortunately, we’ve started communicating with our words instead. Words are just as effective."
Save The Date
"I send her an outlook calendar event and if she accepts, IT'S ON."
"You know when I’m down to my socks it’s time for business."
These couples find that verbal cues are best.
Now's The Time
"Honestly when we have the time one of us usually bluntly says 'let's go have sex right f'king now before we can't' and we go do it. Lol"
Option A Or B
"I have a 2 month old and a 2 year old. Some of the best sex we had was because I said 'after 2 year old goes down and if 2month decides to sleep do you want to meet in the basement' well she decided to sleep and damn that was good."
End Of Day Reward
"We just ask each other tbh. We’ll bring it up earlier in the day so we build up the anticipation with each other throughout the day, flirt with each other, gas each other up. All that. Then when it’s finally time at the end of the day, we usually fall asleep cause we’re so tired."
"But the cycle continues the next day!"
People continued offering their wisdom.
Afternoon Hanky Panky
"The trick is to initiate sex during the day. We are both too tired at the end. Plus hanging out all day after is somehow more rewarding."
"Same goes for dates. Have sex at the beginning the date, then go enjoy your time together without any pressure."
Kids In The Equation
"This literally happened today with my wife and me. We have two toddlers so we’re extra exhausted. Earlier today we had the sexy initiation of 'hey, we both showered today, want to have sex after the babies are asleep?' 'Sure.'"
"Then when the kids were asleep, and my wife and I were getting settled into bed, she asked if I still wanted to. I said if she wants to I’m down, but I’m pretty tired and would be fine without it. She said she was also tired and could do without it. So we kissed each other good night and she went to sleep. I’m just winding down on Reddit for a few minutes before I also fall asleep."
"I know this is boring. I didn’t write this to tell an exciting story. Just to share what married life is like for me and probably the large majority of married couples, especially parents of young kids."
Shadow Puppet Technique
"Use my phones torch to shine a shadow of my member up against the bedroom wall."
"Kinda like a bat signal of sorts."
"Turn off the lights and switch on the red lamp beside the bed."
"Walk by him while taking my top off. He follows me wherever I go and it's been 30 years and counting."
Every couple is different, and usually establishing a strong communication bond makes everything else in the relationship–including sexy time–falls in line effortlessly.
I knew a couple who made a game out of foreplay and agreed that whoever got home first from getting off work at the same time got to choose the sexual position that night.
They may no longer be together, but I remember them recalling how that technique was fun for them at the beginning stage and it took the pressure off of establishing when they were going to have sex.
Don't take get too anxious about it. It's just sex, and it's fun.
There are a number of things people partake in spite of the known possible ramifications they have on their health and safety.
Up to and including smoking, bungee-jumping, recreational drug use, or simply bike riding without a helmet.
Indeed, even though they know that doing any or all of these things could possibly lead to their death, they do it anyway.
Sadly, even though many people go out of their way to avoid doing these things for that very reason, that still doesn't mean they keep themselves completely out of danger.
Sadly, there are a surprisingly large number of things that lead to an even more surprising number of deaths each year.
Frighteningly, these are things that the majority of the world's population does on an almost daily basis.
"What causes death more than people realize?"
When In Doubt, Call Your Doctor!
"Your body will become septic, in which it essentially kills itself trying to kill off whatever infection one has."- cacarrizales
"Infections that are left untreated."- raptor-99
Tread Carefully. Seriously.
"On average around 17k people a year in the US die from injuries incurred after tripping and falling."- EdithWhartonsFarts
When In Doubt, Don't Drive.
"Driving while sleepy."- latchkey_adult
The Handrail Is There For A Reason.
"20 million severe injuries each year and at least 200,000 death from consequences of the fall."
"Both my grandparents died because of a fall."- OnTheGoodSideofLife
They Happen To The Best Of Us
"Especially among the elderly, a fall can create a cascade of events that results in death, even if it seems minor at first."-AdmiralBofa
Never Rush Chewing
"Statistically the most choked on food."- SpecSanders
Never Skip A Check-Up
"High Blood Pressure."
"It sneaks up on you and you don't know about it or don't care but it's the underlying cause of so many deaths."- Fear51
Never Underestimate The Importance Of Self Care
"Your body can only handle so much of it and it’s labeled the 'silent killer' for that reason."
"With your high blood pressure and the 5 hours of sleep a night because of the stress, It will creep up on you sooner than you think."- DroppedDonut
Don't Forget To Floss!
"Untreated dental problems."
"A cavity left untreated can lead to heart attacks and strokes."- Lastalmark
"Just regular old flu."
"Many people ignore it thinking it'll go away on its own."
"Globally the number per year is usually between 300k and 500k."
"In the US it can be anywhere from 12k to 50k per year."- PhreedomPhighter
Don't Feel Ashamed If You Need A Break
"I have two family friends pass from heart attacks associated to shoveling the snow."- JD054
There Are People Who Will Help You
"Alcoholism causing liver failure and it's on the rise in the USA."- Interesting_Drop8236
"Peruse your County ME’s records."
"The amount of people who die from alcohol is astounding."- hockenduke
Sometimes, It's Just Best To Mind Your Own Business
"You watch some Hollywood blockbusters and some MMA fights and you think you can do it too."
"I've seen stories of a guy minding his own business and gets rocked on the side of his head. It disconnected his spine and he was dead before he hit the ground."
"There was another story maybe a year ago of a scuffle where a guy was stabbed in the neck and bled out to the point of being unable to stand within 10 seconds."
"Stop f*cking around, it's not worth your life."- Choiceofart
We never know when our number is up or how we'll end our days.
However, with a little bit of care and good judgment, we can at least likely avoid falling victim to all of the above.