Emergency services dispatchers are essential in getting people the help they need in emergencies. Unfortunately, people needing help aren't always great at telling the operator where they are or what they need.
Reddit user u/JD_Kreeper asked:
Pretty much any time you get a young child calling you know you aren't going to get any information you didn't explicitly ask for. Kids generally understand when help is needed but they don't have the mindset to describe what or why it's needed so you're really just taking various shots in the dark until something sticks that you can piece together. Also, if a kid is calling it's typically a bad situation where for whatever reason there are either no adults around or too incapacitated to call themselves. It is almost always followed up by a call to social services afterwards.
My step dad's fire station once got a call asking whether you should throw salt or sugar on a fire to put it out--I'm not sure if the call was transferred or they'd called the station directly. He asked why and they responded that her and her husband disagreed on it. He asked if they had a fire, and they said well, yes, but they were just wondering which to use. He asked where, and they said "oh, we're just behind the station to the East." He looked over and could see flames rolling out of their kitchen window.
Early in my career I got the "Suspicious male out walking" call. It makes me feel dirty every time I have to enter one of them.
Me: What's suspicious about him?
Caller: Well, he's carrying a flashlight!
Me: ... (looks at clock. It's 2 am) Well ma'am, it IS dark outside.
Caller: Yeah but he's a BLACK man in a hoodie.
Me: Oh (thinking, OHHHhhhhHHHhKAY Karen well that just makes ALL the difference doesn't it?) I'll send someone to do an area check.
Caller: And I know ALL my neighbors and he doesn't belong.
Me: (Sure you do Karen. Buh bye now. ) Yes ma'am. Officers will check the area.
(It was totally her neighbor.)
Just took this one:
"There's a guy here acting weird"
"What do you mean, what's he doing?"
"I don't know, he's just weird.. I don't know the definition of weird"
"Well, what's weird mean to you? It's not illegal to be weird"
"He's looking over his shoulder... He shouldn't be here"
(He's on public property - anyone can be there)
It turned out the guy may have been a crack head but wasn't using or bothering anyone. The caller just didn't want him around.
Not a 911 dispatcher but a taxi dispatcher in an area with a huge drug and alcohol problem.
One night I started getting calls from 'helpful citizens' who were calling a cab for a lady who was wandering around. She had just been beaten to a bloody pulp by her partner and dumped in a rural area. It was about 10pm and she was walking up to strangers houses (think long driveways and lots of forests) pounding on their door until they answered and then asking them to call a cab for her.
Not one of these people thought of calling 911 to get her an ambulance or the police, and they refused to give me their address for a pick up (a large amount of our customers are very secretive of their info, often refusing to give me their name, phone #, address or destination. Vital info when ordering a cab) just telling me the road she was walking around on. I kept telling the helpful homeowners that I couldnt send a cab unless I had an address to pick her up at and all those people just sent this poor lady off into the night looking for more help.
Ever 15-20 min, for about 2 hours, I would get a smiliar call from a diffrent homeowner, telling me how bloody and badly beaten she was, then basically refusing to give me any info. I called the police to tell them what was going on but without a name or address, they couldnt really do much.
I never heard how it turned out. It was a very bad night.
Had a woman on the line who was locked in a bedroom after getting into a physical fight with her boyfriend but had no idea where she was and she was incredibly difficult to understand. I asked her if she was in a home or apartment - she said apartment. I told her to look out the window and tell me what she saw. She said "a red car and a blue car." Not much help there. So, I asked her how many stories the apartment complex had and she said 3. This was obviously not a lot to go on so I finally asked what the last thing she remembers seeing before they pulled into the apartment complex and she said a Target. I knew there was a Target just outside our jurisdiction and a couple of 3 story apartments near there but one in particular that we got called out to regularly, so I dispatched police.
Meanwhile the boyfriend was beating down the door, literally, and was about to get in so I knew it was urgent that we find her immediately. I hoped with all my heart that I sent police to the right place. When my officers pulled on scene, they reported seeing a red and a blue car so I knew we were close but we still didn't know which apartment. The boyfriend was about to burst in the room so she hid under the bed and when he finally broke down the door I told her to run toward the front door and to scream as loud as she could (which we're not really supposed to do because if they get hurt after you give them an order, it can leave the PD liable) but she was frozen and needed help and we needed to find her or at least, maybe someone would hear her scream and call us with an address. He came into the room, she slid out from under the bed and ran to the front door screaming, burst outside and my officers were right there. Turned out the reason she was so difficult to understand was because the bastard had knocked out her teeth.
911 dispatcher in VA here. As far as vague goes probably when a passerby called about a man sitting on a curb looking lonely. No description of the male & no legit location.
Caller: I'm sitting at an intersection here in town and I saw this guy...
Me: Okay sir, did the man appear to be in distress or suspicious in any way? Caller: no I don't think so, but he seemed really lonely.
Me: uhhh... do you want me to send a unit to check his welfare?
Caller: Yes please. I mean it may be nothing or he may be thinking about running into traffic & I think someone should talk to him.
Me: Do you remember where you saw him?
Caller: No, one a curb near my family member's house.
Me: hmmm okay, what's that address?
Caller: gives address
Me: any idea where in relation to the house?
Caller: no, all the streets here look the same. I'm from out of town.
Me: Do you have a description of the male? Is he W/B/H? What he is wearing?
Caller: no, I didn't look at him really, I just drove by & looked lonely...
Me: bashes head against console
Not 911 but Search and Rescue Radio in Alaska. Late one evening in a winter blizzard, i got the call "Coast Guard we are going over" thats it. I never heard from the ship again. I did however find some other helpful souls and background info. After being in the water almost 6 hours in 34f degree water we picked them up. All four lived. One of my most intense nights ever.
ALSKA (1999) The 63 foot steel long line cod fishing vessel Alska capsized in severe weather and sank March 12, 1999 in Hallo Bay on the Alaska Peninsula west of Kodiak Island. A U S Coast Guard Helicopter was able to rescue three of the crewmembers. A fourth was taken aboard the fishing vessel T-Mike. There was no loss of life.
Mapping and Location: South Central Alaska 58 27 N 153 57 W Chart 16580
Additional Information: ON 553667
Sources: 1. Unofficial Shipwreck List (Kodiak), 2. BOEM Alaska Shipwreck List (2011)
It's hard to say, we get vague calls allllll the time and people hardly answer when you call back. Mostly "Send the police"....and that's it. Luckily sometimes people will say "They shot him!" or something along those lines thennn hang up.
No longer a dispatcher, but was for 15 years. I answered a 911 call from a cell phone that only indicated a sector/ direction the call was coming from and the tower that the call was bouncing off of...basically no valid location information. Initially it sounded like a butt dial situation, but I stayed on the line a little longer trying to refresh the call for better location information. As I was listening it sounds like a loud TV and some muffled noises in the background, so I stayed on longer then I would have. I was finally able to narrow the location down to about 3 football fields and searched inhouse records for the phone number...
at this point there was still no communication except in the background.. then I heard what was 1 single clear call for help. I couldn't tell if it was the TV or a person though. I already entered a vague call to check the area and kept updating officers with further info. Eventually we narrowed it down to 1 road that had 1 house surrounded by businesses so officers went to the house. Found that there was a teenage boy and a little brother or sister that were held tied up by parents. I tried to search for the news report but can't recall enough details. Thankfully I didn't give up one the call too soon, and the children where rescued.
Sometimes you just don't have any money and you have to make it work. I learned how to make the most out of bargains at the grocery store and know how to make food that is hearty and will last more than a day or two. Beans and rice are your friends, by the way. You'd be surprised by how many delicious meals you can make with just these two basic ingredients.
Being poor requires you to be creative.
Penny pinching is an art, as we were so deftly reminded after Redditor naranja_cheese asked the online community,
"What is the most penny pinching you've ever done?"
"I used to steal..."
"I used to steal half-used rolls of tp when I was a janitor. Lived off white rice and Worcestershire sauce for months. Got a job as a cook & always saved a few scraps while plating people's food so I would have something to eat without paying for a meal. Also worked at a butcher shop& would take home bones to roast and make a stew with. I can share hundreds of things like this."
"I worked part-time..."
"I worked part-time in school, but was pretty broke. I wasn't being paid until the following day, and I needed soy sauce for my extra super tasty stir fry. I literally had negative funds in my account. So I went to the grocery store, grabbed a sushi tray, threw a ton of packets of soy sauce in my pocket (they don't charge you for these), wandered a bit, pretended I changed my mind, and left."
"While at the grocery store..."
"While at the grocery store, putting back that pack of chicken breast that cost $2.98 for the other pack of chicken breast that cost $2.95."
"Things were insanely tight..."
"Used to make my own laundry detergent during a time when we had relocated and our prior home had not sold so we had rent on top of a mortgage for 18 months. Things were insanely tight in those days, to say the least."
I definitely know what this is like.
"I took some cedar boards..."
"I had no money for Christmas gifts. I only had enough to pay rent. I took some cedar boards in the backyard, cut them, burnt them a little black as I had no money to finish them. Then I passed them off as cutting boards."
"One Friday night..."
"One Friday night in college, my two buddies and I had a grand total of $3 to our names. I bought a box of Mac 'n Cheese, a can(!) of escargot, and three Lil' Debbie Star Crunches. We had a full meal with starch, protein, and dessert."
"I lived on pasta..."
"When I was at university my entire budget was less than £40 a week. I lived on pasta and stolen sauce packets from the Students Union. The cafeteria ladies would always take pity on me at closing time and give me free burgers."
"I lost my job..."
"I lost my job and lived in a $1400/month apartment where electricity (which included heat) and internet were ludicrously expensive. $400-450 a month in the winter because the building was an old mill with huge windows and no insulation. Fortunately, gas and water were free."
"I only turned on my lights when I had to, turned off the heat entirely, and heated my apartment by boiling a huge pot of water on the gas stove 24 hours a day and going to the business center to use the free DSL connection to apply for jobs. I ate rice with frozen vegetables and spices for three months."
"It sucked, but I got by."
Hopefully things are much better now.
"If I ate fast food..."
"If I ate fast food or takeout food, I would ask for extra sauce packets or garnishes that they give out for free. I would stock up on them, use them when I cook instead of buying the stuff from the store. For example, a $1 box of pasta, a clove of garlic, and 2-3 ramekins of parm cheese, half ramekin of chili flakes, and a pinch of Italian herbs I got from a pizza place makes a quick meal."
"My local mall..."
"My local mall used to do paid surveys, you'd watch a video or try some new soda or whatever and they'd give you a couple of dollars. Then I'd use that to buy a meal."
Sometimes you've just gotta do what you've gotta do. It's not easy.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
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Now, this isn't going to be a long, "Let's all pile on how bad the internet is and only think about the good ol' days when the rocks were soft and we could only communicate using cans with string."
People old enough to remember life pre-Internet, what are some less obvious things you miss about that time?
Many habits we used to possess were made completely irrelevant thanks to the internet. Not that we didn't enjoy doing them, we just started asking ourselves, "What's the point?"
Completely Devoid Of Technological Interference
"Leaving home and just being gone for the day. No cell phones. If there were cameras, it was really different. You used them to take pictures of things or had people take pictures of you. But there was no social media to preoccupy your mind. It was just doing something. And whoever you were with, was who you were with."
No One Needs 24 Hours Of Nonsense
"News only being on at 6pm. That was it. Now we have 6 hours of local news and 24 hours of cable news. Not being bombarded all day with "news." And when you saw "Breaking News" on the screen you knew something serious went down."
You Mean We Actually Have To Go?
"It used to be a lot harder to bail on things. You'd have to call the person at home and tell them yourself, or at least leave a message if you wanted to be risky. Typically if you were gonna bail you'd give at least 24 hours notice. Nowadays people can let you know they're bailing last second since you're always reachable."
"RSVPing mattered. If you said you were going to be there, you made sure to be there. None of this facebook invites that everyone blows off without any form of social repercussions. If you said you were going to go and didn't go, you were the a--hole and everyone knew it."
You can get almost anything on the internet. Almost. Still no sign of real working Lightsabers anywhere out there, but the internet has eliminated many of our purchasing practices.
Just In Time For The Holidays!
"The Sears catalog. That was how I found out about all the cool new toys."
"Catalogs in general, for me. Before the internet made mindless browsing of stuff you didn't need ~really~ easy to do, we still liked doing this without having to drive to the mall. The solution? Sign your mom up for those cool seed catalogs, those not safe to browse at the office gag gift catalogs and then everything in between. That stuff was really nice to have when you grew up somewhere that was not even cable ready."
1 Good Song Out Of 15
"When you bought new music you just had to hope it was good. The single might be popular but otherwise unless someone had it you just bought it and hoped for the best."
"There was so much excitement to going to a cd store to buy an album that you only knew one song of or the band/artist name and just listening to that entire cd over and over again picking out which tracks were your favorite while still learning every lyric to all the songs on the album.
Building a cd collection was also fun."
Talk About The "Immediate Gratification" Generation, Huh?
"The instant win bottle caps / candy / chocolate bar wrappers where you could turn them back into the store and immediately get a free one. Now it's just codes you have to register on their website so they can get your info, i don't even bother anymore."
Finally, there's these activities, to difficult to explain to anyone who wasn't there. How do you get someone to understand that not having a supercomputer in your pocket at all hours of the day radically changed your life?
Keeping It In Front Of You
"I miss having an attention span of more than three seconds"
"It's so weird. I can only vaguely remember what it feels like to not have a smartphone and to be alone and think.
Wondering what my friends are doing and if they'd like to do something on the weekend. We'd have to talk during lunch break at school and plan it...
Trying to find the answer to a math problem... Having to figure it out by re-reading the problem and explanations 5 times."
There Used To Be A Time When You Couldn't Play Everything
"Not being overwhelmed by choice.
Don't get me wrong, having nearly every form of media downloadable is great, but back in the day, i rented a video game and i played that video game as much as i could.
Now, its hard to give it more than 2 seconds before i try one of the 20,000 games i have access to.
New game plus used to be cool. Now, I'm happy if just beat the game"
Floundering. Just A Little.
"My formative years were the 1980s. I remember like yesterday going to study in Paris my junior year of college. I got off the plane with no cell phone, no internet, a Let's Go Paris book, and just a hostel address written on a piece of paper I'd stuck in a French dictionary. I did not know a single person in all of France.
I had $500 of cash stuck in a money belt. The belt was tight and sweaty but that money had to last me for at least a month until I could find a part-time job with my lousy French. My "credit card" was my father's credit card numbers written down on a piece of paper. He told me I could only use it to buy a plane ticket home in an emergency.
I remember standing in the airport and having this powerful emotion of being 21 years old, scared sh-tless, but in absolutely completely control of my own destiny. There was absolutely nobody who could come rushing to my aid if I needed it. I was 100% on my own.
I'm actually very thankful for that experience. I found the hostel. I found a job. I made friends. I learned French. I made it all on my own which was just a big boost in life confidence.
I have no doubt if I'd had a cell phone I would've called my parents on Day 2, told them it was too hard, and been on the next plane home. But I had no other choice but to succeed."
We can never go back. Not really, anyway. The only way is to keep going forward, be aware of the effect the internet has on us, and do our best to not let it take away the things that really matter in our lives.
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Look, unless you enjoy cooking, no one likes spending time in the kitchen longer than they have to in order to whip up something mediocre to eat.
Ordering food or, for the time being, enjoying a socially distanced lunch at an establishment is convenient, but it can take a toll on your wallet.
So what options are there?
Fortunately, there are plenty of them that do not involve nuking a frozen entree.
"What's your go-to under 5 minute meal?"
These dinner selections are super sufficient.
A Loaded Course
"Two hotdogs and a side of judgement from my fiancé"
In Case You Didn't Know
"Quesadilla. super quick and easy to make and there's a ton of ingredients that you can add without much effort that will make it even better."
"Ramen and an egg, but not the traditional way."
- "Boil roughly half an inch of water (we want just enough water to boil the noodles, with very little water left over when it's done boiling)."
- "Smash up the ramen noodles, while still in the package (optional but cooks MUCH faster)."
- "Open the package and remove the seasoning."
- "Dump the noodles in."
- "While boiling, crack an egg and whisk in a small bowl."
- "Noodles should be done and almost all the water should be gone, if not strain out some.
- Remove from the heat."
- "Slowly pour in the egg while mixing very quickly, try not to let the egg touch the pan."
- "Mix as much of the seasoning packet as you like (I prefer 1/2 - 3/4 because I usually add a salty component at the end.)"
- "Add to bowl and top with some chives, thinly sliced, ripped up ham/salami and/or parsley. Leftover bacon or pancetta are fantastic crunchy components to dial up the texture."
"Easy, fast and checks so many of the 'munchie' boxes for me."
Don't Underestimate Soups
"Tomato soup and add tortellini. I like the spinach ones from Trader Joe's and Progreso creamy tomato with basil. It's bomb and it really makes a decent meal."
For people in a rush, these tasty snacks would suffice.
Goes Well With Veggies And Cheese
"Hummus is such an underrated food. It goes well with a lot of veggies and breads and chips or heck even cheese. All the time I hear hummus being listed as one of those weird, gross foods when its actually an amazing snack, or a meal if done correctly. It's not really unhealthy, either, especially if eaten with veggies (celery and carrots go great with hummus)."
Ready In Seconds
"All I do is get a paper towel, and put 5 Oreos on it."
"Then go back and get the whole package."
Peanut Butter Fantasies
"Peanut butter sandwich."
"If I'm feeling extra froggy I'll add nutella to the peanut butter and honey sandwich and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Goes down about as well as a popeye's biscuit though."
"It's like cheating the system. You eat sweets and call it healthy."
Start your day without all the hassle of a fancy breakfast.
Put It In A Bowl
"Oatmeal or cereal."
"Cereal is definitely underrated as a meal outside of the breakfast dynamic."
"A very simple recipe my grandma prepared for me when i was a kid."
"It's basically scrambled eggs...but before adding the egg she would cook sweetcorn (from a can) with a little bit of butter, add the eggs and then when the eggs were almost ready, add small cubes of cheese and cook for a minute or until the cheese start to melt (she was using fontal, but any swiss or white cheddar will do). Just a little black pepper and salt."
"Takes 5 minutes to do but it's absolutely delicious, fill you up, not so unhealthy and I feel my late grandma with me."
'I tried variations with chives or spring onions, paprika or other stuff. Still good but nothing as good as a simple "uova strapazzate con mais e formaggio.'"
I consider yogurt a healthy snack/lunch option.
I like having a bowl of non-fat plain Greek yogurt with raspberries, blueberries, sprinkled with granola and drizzled with honey.
It's packed with nutrients and gives me a nice boost of energy.
Yogurt also makes for a perfect chip dip. I sprinkle some onion soup mix and stir in the mixture. Who knew quick and easy food prep could be so delicious?
We all like to assume that a big old scar has an amazing, hardcore story behind it: maybe a valiant fight or some life threatening-escape.
But despite what Hollywood would have us think, that is so rarely the case.
Usually, some kind of bizarre accident leaves us with the biggest scar of our life. There's no action movie story behind it, just a careful mixture of foolishness and bad luck.
Clearly not put off by some gruesome anecdotes, Redditor fluffybear45 asked:
"People with scars, how did you get them?"
For many, it was the wild antics of childhood that left them slightly maimed. With many years now separating the Redditor from the event, these were pretty hilarious.
Out of Nowhere!
"I was playing on a swing and then my leg got stuck in barbed wire." -- Soviet_God-Emperor
"I feel like we missed a couple steps here, or your local park had some serious issues." -- Henfrid
"Yo that went from 0 to 100 real fast" -- IHaveButt
"2nd grade, defective slip-n-slide." -- AdmiralAkbar1
"I'm pretty sure the general design of the slip'n'slide was defective. Those stakes weren't covered originally, so you had to be straight down the middle of the slide or else....." -- Q-burt
"Could you refer to this incident in a gravely voice while staring into the middle distance, pausing only to shudder and sip your scotch?" -- CaptValentine
That's Why You Need an Axe Yard
"My dad hit me with an axe (bladed side) in the face. Stupid 10 yo me just had to look over his shoulder while he was hammering in herrings for our tent."
Others talked about freak accidents that came not from the stupidity of childhood, but the bad luck of mistakes made as an adult.
Bad Conditions for Practice
"Dad gave me a folding knife for Christmas"
"I read online that you could flick it open with one hand"
"So I practiced it, after my hands were greasy from eating a burger"
Take Your Pick
"Multiple long scars on my back are from falling onto a old soviet steel welcome mat ( i dont know how to describe it in english but its meant to wipe dirt of your shoes with triangle shaped steel beams."
"Medium sized one on my forearm is from a barbed wire fence, another one next to it is from a motorcycle accident and one on the base on my thumb is from a cars hood slipping and cutting me."
One Heck Of a Fall
" 'This one is from a skateboard, this one was a truck accident, and this one was a fire hydrant.' "
" 'Oh really? I bet each one has a very unique story.' "
" 'Not really, I skateboarded off of a truck into a fire hydrant.' "
Last, some people talked about the medical procedures that left them with the big gash. These stories had some ninth grade words and not nearly as much stupidity.
"A rare auto immune disorder called pyoderma gangrenosum twice... Don't google If you don't like gore... I had to have daily wound care and high doses of medical steroids"
"My intestines telescoped on themselves 8" scar on my belly." -- Anom8675309
"I never wanted to see the words 'intestines' and 'telescoped' together. Ouch." -- LadySygerrik
"I was born 2 months premature. I wasn't born with an esophagus so drs. cut my stomach open and used parts of my colon or intestines and created a new one for me. I have a huge scar on my neck and my stomach is one big scar. Also had a stomach feeding tube for quite a bit and heart surgery at 2 days old."
"I love science. I wouldn't have experienced life if it hadn't been for advances in medical science."
So if you've been sitting on an embarrassing backstory for one of your scars, feel free to share. You're hardly alone.
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