911 is an essential public service which has saved many lives. However, there are people who do not take the service seriously. According to the Houston Chronicle published today, an intoxicated woman from Granbury Texas called 911 to deliver a package of cigarettes. Her intention was to make the sheriff's deputies the butt of a joke.” No one found the joke very amusing.
“Hood County sheriff's Lt. Kathy Jividen says, “The caller… received a visit from two deputies and was arrested. She was charged with a misdemeanor count of abuse of 911. She was later released from the Hood County jail on a $1,000 bond.”
There have been other 911 pranks over the years. Finding Dulcinea reports, “A number of bizarre emergency phone calls have some civilians laughing and police scrambling: one man called 911 when Subway improperly prepared his sandwich, another called 911 when asked to do the laundry, and another called when he could not find a taxi cab.”
While fake calls to police may seem funny, authorities nationwide warn that false alarms hamper their ability to respond to true emergencies. According to finding Dulcinea, The prank calls not only hold up the emergency system from getting to real callers in distress, the sheer number of these calls cause operators to think there is a prank call when in reality the call is one of distress. For example, in 2006, “Police waited three hours to respond to a five-year old boy’s 911 call for help after his mother collapsed. The dispatcher told him, “You shouldn't be playing on the phone.” The woman died before the police came.”
Public Enemy came out with a rap song “911 is Joke” in 2007. The truth of the matter is 911 is not a joke. It is a very serious law enforcement, fire, and medical service which helps save lives. Calling 911 for cigarettes or having them send their emergency vehicles on a wild goose chase is not a joke. It is not funny. It is in fact foolhardy and dangerous. The time spent on crank calls could mean losing precious moments needed to save the lives of people who are experiencing a real emergency.