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Old 10-26-2019, 06:18 PM   #841
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Old 11-30-2019, 10:48 PM   #842
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Ok. I've been seeing some things on Facebook again, and I've been pondering about addressing them, but I generally dislike posting in public on Facebook, so I thought I'd share some thoughts here on some 911 things that folks may not know about.

Landline vs Cell.

The only real advantage a landline has over a cell is that 911 knows without a doubt where that phone is supposed to be. Its location is registered with the phone company, so it should be where it says. When 911 gets a call from a landline that no one is talking on, we have a pretty good idea of where to start looking. Cell phones can be registered to anyone, anywhere. I know this, because I once had Darth Vader from Endor call up.

Pinging

Unlike on TV, pings can either be amazing, or utterly useless. I've had a cell phone return a ping of 2 meters, which is fantastic. I've also had a cell return a ping of 2000 meters...which is not so helpful. The most common ping return is about 100 meters. Cst Chris Martin did a nice Facebook note about how unreliable pings are, and how they are difficult to find. He used the most common ping radius, 100m, to illustrate this. Want to know what is almost a perfect 100 meter radius circle? The Saddledome. Imagine if you call us from anywhere in the Saddledome (keeping in mind that pings also don't indicate height) but can't say where you are, how long it'd take 2-6 officers to search the 'Dome to find you. Pings can be handy, but it's not like on TV, where they are able to pinpoint which room of which apartment on which floor of what building you are in.

Can't Talk

You've called 911, but for some reason, you can't talk. The reason why doesn't matter, but you can't. Calling 911 is still a good thing to do. We have a variety of things we can try to do to locate you, and what we can hear in the background really helps, too. Does it sound like you are inside or outside? By yourself? With people? Do they sound happy or angry? Is there yelling? I know of at least one phone call 911 has gotten where a life has been saved because someone dialed 911 and the phone was left off the line. It turned out that the person who called was choking and unable to speak. All that could be heard was very frantic, labored breathing attempts. But the person was able to call, and help arrived in time.

Can Talk, Can't Say What's Going On

It's a sort of myth that's reached epic proportions by now. You've likely heard of it. The "Pizza Call". Its been around for quite some time, but no one's sure how or when it actually started. Now there is actually a single recorded instance of a 'pizza call' happening for real. That's what prompted this post, honestly.

In essence, 911 is called, but the person calling can't just say "I've got someone in my house who's beaten me bloody and I need them removed. Come get 'em." for whatever reason. Generally, the person having 911 called on them is still within earshot and will react poorly and likely even more violently to having 911 called. So what is a person to do?

"Order a pizza!". Yes-ish. The concept behind the call is solid, but what you are looking for is something that gives us a yes/no question/answer situation. This can take many forms. Ordering food is a good one, because there can be a lot of yes/no questions in there. The problem I've seen with folks claiming that there is a 'pizza call' that '911 operators are trained on' often implies that there is some kind of national standard, a menu if you will. A large pepperoni means domestic trouble, with mushrooms means a gun, without sauce means EMS is needed due to bleeding, that sort of thing.

There is no national menu. 911 operators are not (or SHOULD not be) trained on that. What we are trained on is critical thinking, and how to recognize situations that are off. We are trained to go to yes/no questions if possible. That is what we are trained on, what what makes more sense for us to be trained on, instead of rote-memorizing some menu.

The reasons behind this are many, but I usually tell folks that the point of the call is to get help without arousing suspicion. I, for instance, hate mushrooms, so if I needed to make one of these 911 calls, and all the sudden I'm ordering mushrooms to indicate that there's a gun...someone is likely to get suspicious if they know me at all. Also, with something like that, what is to prevent the bad guys from learning and memorizing it, too. The situations are also often too dynamic, and in them, folks have trouble remembering easy stuff, like their phone number or address (yes, really), so asking them to recall a specific menu is asking a bit much.

Also, try to pick something that your 911 operator can work with. If you tell the person that you are calling your sister, say...and a male 911 operator answers...well, it gets awkward if that person grabs the phone out of your hand and hears a male talking. The operator might be able to make it work with something like "I'm the sister's husband"...but that starts supposing on information the 911 operator just doesn't have, which can blow the whole gig wide open.

So keep it basic. Keep it to something where the 911 operator can ply you with yes/no questions. When I answered a call along this nature, I ended up being a 'taxi dispatcher'. 911 operators are usually good and catch on quick.

Also, asking us "How long will delivery take" isn't code for us to tell you how close the nearest unit is to you. We can't reveal that information. We'll never (or should never) tell you how close or far away the unit is, just that "it'll be there as soon as possible." as we can't know how long it'll take a unit to get there.

This is also another situation where, if you are forced to get off the phone, you might try to leave the line open so that the 911 operator can hear what's going on.

Anyhow, that's what's been on my mind tonight after checking out some Facebook stuff. If you have questions, you can always ask here or via PM

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Old 11-30-2019, 11:59 PM   #843
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Can you text to 911 now? For example with gps coordinates of your current location? And if you did, would it go to the same dispatcher that you might be talking to?
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:11 AM   #844
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Originally Posted by Wormius View Post
Can you text to 911 now? For example with gps coordinates of your current location? And if you did, would it go to the same dispatcher that you might be talking to?
Yes and no. The general public can't text to 911 (yet, at least), but currently (in Calgary) folks who are hard of hearing, deaf, speech impaired or TTY users can register their phone numbers to text with 911 and have it work.

When a registered phone number calls, it's a bit of a cumbersome process, but they text with the same calltakers who would have answered the phone, just as if they had called.

This is COC's (pretty brief) page about the service: https://www.calgary.ca/CSPS/PSC/Page...ith-9-1-1.aspx

That page also has a link to register your phone number for the service: https://www.textwith911.ca/en/home/

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Old 12-01-2019, 10:43 AM   #845
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One comment and one question.

I understand a ping of 100m etc. May not be overly useful in an urban setting but a rural setting it can be a life saver. That will get you onto the right road or general location close enough that most times it would be pretty quick to locate the scene.

Question.
Maybe this has changed but about 4 years ago we had an injury at a hockey game in Calgary. We called 911 for EMS. It was a City arena, we knew the name but not the address nor the cross streets. The 911 operator wanted a physical address, said they were unable to cross reference the arena name to a location. Is that true? Two things I have seen happen since then. First, most City facilities now have a location address clearly posted inside. Second is some minor hockey associations have mandated that teams carry a list of facilities with addresses included for quick reference.
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Old 12-01-2019, 11:27 AM   #846
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lubicon View Post
One comment and one question.

I understand a ping of 100m etc. May not be overly useful in an urban setting but a rural setting it can be a life saver. That will get you onto the right road or general location close enough that most times it would be pretty quick to locate the scene.
Very true, all of my experience has been with urban, rural is a different beast.

Quote:
Question.
Maybe this has changed but about 4 years ago we had an injury at a hockey game in Calgary. We called 911 for EMS. It was a City arena, we knew the name but not the address nor the cross streets. The 911 operator wanted a physical address, said they were unable to cross reference the arena name to a location. Is that true? Two things I have seen happen since then. First, most City facilities now have a location address clearly posted inside. Second is some minor hockey associations have mandated that teams carry a list of facilities with addresses included for quick reference.
Ah, addressing. The pet peeve/bane of every 911 operator.

Addressing is an odd beast with 911. First and foremost, it MUST BE RIGHT. Everyone can agree on that. Sending help to Stoney Tr and 16th Ave NW when the help is really needed at Stoney Tr and 16th Av NE would be, as you can imagine, a MAJOR problem.

How a 911 operator gets to the 'right' address has long been a battle, and is currently a legal battle. At current, we are required to ask you to tell us where you are, and then confirm it. Those two have to match. If they do not, and we proceed with the call, we can end up in serious legal hot water, even to the point of being fired.

You see this mostly when someone is reporting a drunk driver that they are behind, say:

Caller: I'm reporting a drunk driver! He's northbound on Deerfoot at Glenmore Tr SE
911: Can you repeat that intersection to verify, please?
Caller: Well, now he's at Deerfoot and Peigan.
911: Can you repeat that intersection to verify it, please?
Caller: Well, now we're at Deerfoot and 17th av! WHY IS THIS TAKING SO LONG!

And yet, with that conversation as above, you'll note that the address is not verified, and if something happened (say said drunk driver ends up killing someone) the 911 operator could be in a lot of trouble.

So we have to get the address right, and a lot of people don't know where they are. Or think they do, but they don't. The sheer number of times folks have called and gotten Marlborough Mall, Pacific Place Mall and Sunridge Mall mixed up would boggle your mind.

On top of all of this, we are not allowed to assume. You may be telling me that you are at the Frank McCool Arena, but you don't know the area so you aren't sure. You think that maybe some nearby cross streets are Lake Bonavista something-or-other, and "a road with an A name?" Until I am sure of where they are going, I can't send help (or I may be explaining to a board of inquiry why I'm sending units without being sure of where they are going and wasting resources or worse, causing someone's death due to mismanaged resources or causing a delay in response).

I am also not allowed to 'suggest' to you. Folks in stressful situations are more prone to suggestion and are known to just agree with whatever they are presented with. So if you tell me that you are at Frank McCool arena, but have never been there before, and I say "Oh, that's at Lake Bonavista Dr and Acadia Dr SE, right?" You are almost guaranteed to say "Yes" or "That sounds right" or some kind of agreement despite the fact that you don't actually know. If I assume wrong info off your info, and we're both wrong, again...it could be a mistake that costs lives.

This doesn't even start getting into places that change their names frequently, or that people know by a local nickname. Do you know where Crackmacs is? Could you tell a 911 operator? Could you verify it? Oh wait, it's a Circle K now, isn't it. Bars are really bad for this. I had folks calling about incidents at the "Crack Alley" despite it being renamed to Marquee for some time. If you aren't a local or don't know that "Crack Alley" used to be "The Back Alley" and where it is...we've got a problem.

And through all this...seconds matter.

Well, I've rambled off on quite a tangent here. Sorry about that. Addressing is a major, major issue/concern with 911.

It's quite possible that the 911 operator wasn't able to cross reference the name of the city facility to a working street address. Or perhaps they were able to, but still needed more information from you to confirm it for a multitude of reasons.

It's good to hear that City facilities now have their address clearly posted for the public to see. That is vital information in case of an emergency. I've long thought that every single business should, by every public accessible phone, have (somewhere on/near the phone) that phone's number and the building address. It would speed up and help so much in an emergency when seconds matter.

This is why I suggest, every time I'm asked what is the most important thing someone can do to be prepared if they have to call 911, that folks start playing the "Where Am I Right Now" game. Take a few moments, when you are going about your day and stop and think "If I had to call 911 right this second for a life or death emergency, how would I tell them where I am to get that help?" It's not as easy as one thinks, but it's a good habit to develop. And yes, I do this on a regular basis, too. The amount of places I went that I had no idea where they actually were was pretty astounding. We all get into ruts. I know HOW to drive to my best friends house, but I can't name any of the smaller roads I use to get there anymore. We get 'used to' going places, and forget how to tell someone where they are.

911 operators (mostly) live in the city they are working in. I have a pretty decent working knowledge of the geography of the city. I live in the NE and almost never travel to the SW, especially not deep SW. I am familiar with a lot of the 'local' names for places in the NE, and have a very good knowledge of the smaller places in the area. If you are calling about somewhere in the NE, I probably know what you are talking about. You call about the SW, unless you have at least some cross streets or something, I may not be able to help as much. You have to help us help you as much as you can.

This is why the address/location is the MOST IMPORTANT part of calling 911. If you are unable to say anything else, get the address out, and get it right. There is no part of a 911 call more important than the right address. Period.

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Old 12-01-2019, 05:24 PM   #847
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Common situation where people may not always know the precise address: babysitting. My Mom (aka grandma) certainly doesn't know our address by heart, so it's very clearly written on an info sheet.

Thinking back to the times I used to babysit, I don't think I ever knew the precise address.
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Old 12-31-2019, 12:28 PM   #848
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EComm in BC has once again released their "10 Most Absurd 911 Calls Of The Year" article. While each call center is unique unto itself, there is a lot of crossover in the types of calls that 911 gets. Even worldwide. When I talk to international 911 operators, they have a lot of the same "Someone called for that?!" style calls that North America does.

https://globalnews.ca/news/6348666/b...11-calls-2019/

This year:

Quote:
1 - To complain hotel parking spot was too small
2 - To complain hair salon didn’t style their hair properly
3 - To complain their neighbour was vacuuming late at night
4 - Because they were upset the coin laundry machine didn’t have enough water
5 - To inquire why traffic was so bad
6 - To request police bring a shovel to dig their car out of the snow in front of their house
7 - Because police are being ‘too loud’ responding to an emergency and requesting that they should come back in the morning
8 - To get information about water restrictions
9 - To report a broken ATM machine
10 - Because a gas station wouldn’t let them use the washroom
I have personally dealt with variations on 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 10.
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Old 01-06-2020, 11:04 AM   #849
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2 - To complain hair salon didn’t style their hair properly
To be fair....

https://abc13.com/barber-shot-3-time...spute/5775776/
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Old 01-06-2020, 11:45 AM   #850
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To be faaaaiiiirrr
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Old 01-06-2020, 11:47 AM   #851
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But that's Texas. I'm surprised the barber chair didn't pull out it's gun and shoot back.
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Old 01-06-2020, 03:28 PM   #852
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But that's Texas. I'm surprised the barber chair didn't pull out it's gun and shoot back.
Yeah....its hard to judge Texas, for all we know this is healthy and routine conflict resolution over incorrect change.
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