911 isn't always used correctly or well.
Sometimes people call 911 when they really don't have to. Other times people get themselves stuck in the dumbest situations.
Firefighters are on the front line of these dumb situations more often than not.
Here were some of those answers.
Dumb jerk tried to cross a raging river in zero degree weather about a 300 foot span on a snowmobile. He lived but didn't make the crossing and the machine was recovered days later.
Safety At The Expense Of Others
I once had a firefighter tell me he almost died in a house fire while going back into the house to look for the owner. A neighbor was concerned about why the firefighter was still in the residence so he asked another firefighter. This is about how the exchange went:
Neighbor: Why is that fireman still in the house?
Firefighter: He's looking for the owner of the home.
Neighbor: He is right over there with the video camera.
Turns out the owner did not think it was important to alert the fire department he was out of the house. Instead, he was just taking video of the whole event.
The fire started because the owner had tried to smother his barbecue cooker flame with left over wood from the siding that had been installed on his home. The owner did not realize it would burn. Burned his whole house down.
Whatever It Takes
I used to do a lot of disaster response work.
Hurricane Floyd. Eastern NC. I had a farmer with a large family that refused to evacuate his house. Stubborn jerk. River had broke loose, floodwaters were coming up fast, and the police had given up on changing his mind. I drove my truck right up into his yard, rolled down the window and asked him to dress his kids in something orange or bright yellow. He asked me why and I said "So body recovery will be able to distinguish them from all the dead pigs floating around."
He told me to sod off, but 5 minutes later he had the whole family in the vehicle and they got the hell out.
The Price Of Being Stubborn
We needed to close the main connection through a forest over the winter because the trees were falling faster on the road than we could remove them due to way to much snow falling. Also the redirection was more than an hour longer due to the snow.
Some cars thought that they would come through but turned around as soon as they saw the trees on the road.
One semi also thought he'd get through. He drove up to the trees and called the fire brigade and complained why we didn't remove the trees. As he was calling a bunch of trees behind him also fell locking him in.
It stood there one month before the trees and the snow could get removed by us that at least the semi can back out. We needed another month until the road was free again.
We Didn't Stop The Fire
I was called to a home to get a pie out of the over before it caught fire. The lady went to the store and was delayed for some reason. she called 911 to have the fire department take the pie out of the oven and place it on the stove. The call came in as " Something stuck in oven and unable to turn off stove". Still #1 call in 32 years :)
Boom Boom Splaaaaaaaa
Years ago we had this call straight out of Caddy Shack. Some guy had gotten tired of this gopher ruining his yard. Little did he know though he was facing the Sun Tzu of gophers. The homeowner, dwelling upon his experience from Vietnam, decided that the best way to deal with the gopher was to treat the situation like a VC tunnel, in lieu of a frag grenade he poured a five gallon can of gasoline down the gopher hole, waited with a varmint gun, and lit it off.
The ensuing explosion caused a small crater to form in his yard. I am still thoroughly impressed that there was a proper fuel to air ratio in the network of tunnels that allowed for such an explosion to happen. However the gopher refused to surrender without a fight. The gopher ran out of the hole engulfed in flames, causing the guy's yard to catch on fire. The gopher sprinted into the guy's shed still on fire and burrowed into a void space in the wall, where he died. Like the martyr perk from Modern Warfare his still flaming remains set the inside of the wall on fire as well as several flammables.
In the end the guy's backyard was ruined and about a quarter of his shed burned down taking out a bunch of power tools and a zero turn mower. He definitely would have saved a few thousand dollars if he had hired an exterminator.
People Explain The Worst Thing That's Ever Happened To Them On Their Birthday
Locked Inside The Car
A motorist had a bad alternator and the car died while she/he was driving. The electric lock control stopped working. We were dispatched for a person trapped in a motor vehicle. On arrival, the advice was given to manually lift the lock knob.
You can easily tell the ones who will not survive the first 24 hours of the zombie apocalypse.
The Grossest Way To Live
Me and my dad are both firefighters and he said one time they went to a house because an elderly man could not get out of the leather recliner because he had been sitting in it for a week straight and his wife would just serve him drinks/ food and the guy never got up. He would just get drunk and urinate/defecate himself until he was physically stuck to the chair and they had to cut him out.
i was the dumb call. my cat got her paw stuck under the dishwasher, and was screaming bloody murder. I couldn't move her paw and I couldn't lift the machine, so i sat with her while my husband called the fire department. She chewed right through one of my favorite blankets in her stress.
Fire fighters arrive, not in full suits but heavy boots and pants. Soon as they came around the corner to the kitchen our cat miraculously was able to free her paw and take off to hide in the bathroom.
The guys seemed confused, but at least it was easy? We thanked them profusely for being scary enough to free our cat, who had zero physical damage (not even a broken claw). I guess she'd hooked her claws on something and didn't want to let it go for love or money.
You Played Yourself
Had a fellow who was running from the police. He decided to climb on board a chunk of ice that was flowing down the river. I am sure he thought he was a genius at the time, but the issue is that there isn't really a whole lot north of our town for a few hundred miles, so his long term planning wasn't great. Eventually we found him hiding in a small icy overhang on the side of the river suffering from hypothermia.
After a brief stay in hospital he ended up being arrested.
Firefighters have ha super stressful, often very dangerous job. They save us from terrifying situations, and many find it to be quite a rewarding career. It's a little less rewarding when they're having to save us from our own stupidity, though.
Reddit user u/AnAverageGuy10 asked:
Firefighters are no strangers to uncommon situations in their work, but the crew of Engine 3 in Harrisburg, NC were still surprisingly cool under pressure when they found themselves in charge of 2 local children. When they boys' parents both needed to be transported to the hospital after their father had a medical emergency, the firefighters said taking care of the kids while they waited for their grandparents to come get them just seemed like the natural thing to do.
None of the crew of Engine 3 have children of their own but they make an effort to improve their community, especially for its younger residents. Last September the crew threw a birthday party for a young boy named Jackson whose friends had cancelled on his party.
Firefighter Lee Dewitt described Jackson's party and the community's reaction:
"It really became a much bigger deal than we expected because it wasn't something that was a big deal to us. We were just there to take care of Jackson and help him have a good day and everybody in the whole community really appreciated it."
The crew of Engine 3 responded to a medical emergency call, firefighter Chris Carter described the situation to Fox46:
"We were dispatched for a medical call and [when we] got there the patient needed to be transported along with his wife, so both parents had to leave with two children in the house."
Dewitt described what they were thinking that night:
"We all knew what needed to be done. So, we needed to get the family the medical help they needed right away and it just became natural that we were all ready to just take care of the kids until grandma and grandpa were able to get there and take over."
The boys' grandparents were over 45 minutes away though, in a different county, so the men took turns spending time with the boys, 1 and 7 years old, to keep them entertained.
"We played hot wheels with the 7-year-old and Cooter took him outside and around the block. Walked the little boy pushed him in his little car and kept him occupied."
People on Facebook, where the fire department shared the story with photos, were quick to thank the firefighters for stepping up and caring for the boys.
Esther Dodson Adkins/Facebook
Brenda Bradley Brewer/Facebook
Lisa Rice Forcier/Facebook
These firemen really went above and beyond what most people would consider their job, but for many firefighters the job is whatever needs to be done to keep people safe.