Sunday, December 05, 2004

911-you got an emergency?

Our department houses the central dispatch for the three local emergency services, along with the 911 forwarding for the Sheriff's Department. As a rule, we answer all 911 calls in our jurisdiction, with very few exceptions. The majority of the 911 calls being emergencies, some mis-dials, a few where the people are just too lazy to look up the business number, and some calls that are just stupid.

We had heavy rains for several days here a few years back, with lots of local flooding, including several basements. Sorry, but your basement flooding is not a police problem, more along the line of call a plumber. One night the dispatcher took a 911 call from a no habla. All the dispatcher could make out was something about a flooded basement. I told her to tell the caller to contact the plumber of their choice, not us. She did, however the caller had no earthly idea what the dispatcher was talking about. Being a 911, we had to roll on it.

My partner and I went to the house, knocked on the door, and was met by Mrs. Mexican. She directed us to the basement like we were the plumbers come to clean her drain, regardless of what I told her, or how. When we got there we found Mr. Mexican standing knee-deep in water, poking the motor end of the plugged in sump pump into the water, trying to get it to work. We all cleared the basement pretty quick, because if he was going to fry himself sticking an electric motor in water that's all well and good, but we're not going with him. He finally figured out that maybe he was doing something wrong, so he unplugged the pump and came upstairs to see what we wanted. Through some strong verbal and nonverbal communication, we got the point across that he was doing it all wrong. We never got a call of the power going out in the area later, so apparently he didn't fry himself after we left.

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