911 Operators Describe the Most Disturbing Calls they’ve Taken.

Back in 2006, when flip phones were still the most common, pinning down a location was not very easy. We were still using primitive cell phone location technology which didn’t help as it only gave us a general area of miles instead of feet.

A young girl called in using her mom’s flip phone and she told me that her mom had fallen down the stairs and wouldn’t wake up. After several questions, I figured out the mother wasn’t breathing and this was the scariest part of the call because the girl couldn’t give us an address and when someone stops breathing the second’s count?

As much as I tried, I couldn’t get the little girl to tell me her address. All she could tell me was she lived on a farm which wasn’t helpful at all because a huge portion of my district is rural farmlands.

While talking to the young girl, I asked her how long ago her mom fell down the stairs. she told me that she fell down just after a TV show she was watching started.

I looked at the clock and it was just the top of the hour so piecing it together I surmised she had been down at least 30 minutes.

I asked the young girl to focus and try and tell me where she lives. I asked her if she knew the street name and she said she didn’t. I asked her if she could tell me any landmarks and that’s when she told me that the church she goes to is just down the street.

At this time, my supervisor and the police chief are looking at a map and they located 12 churches within the rural areas.

Since she couldn’t tell us which church, we decided to dispatch all of our units giving each of them a specific target.

Once they got to the target we instructed each unit to turn on their lights and sirens and drive around the area. With only one Fire Station with Two Ambulances and Several Fire Rescue Vehicles and 4 Police Officers to cover a huge area

We dispatched them to cover around the churches as the farmsteads were sometimes miles apart from each other.

Hearing our calls over the radio, several sheriff deputies and highway patrol troopers decided to join in and help. We are now almost 15 minutes into the call.

We told the young girl to take the phone and go outside and listen for the police cars and fire trucks. It seemed like forever, but she eventually heard the sirens from one of the vehicles but couldn’t see it.

We told each responder to stop and turn off their sirens and then, one by one, we had them turn them back on so we could tell which one was the closest to her.

It turned out to be one of the fire rigs so we sent everybody to their position and they then spread out to cover the general area. All with their sirens on again. Eventually, one of the State Troopers pulled onto her street and the girl could see him coming.

We pinned down the location as he got closer and the sirens got louder until she told us he was in front of her house.

This time the Trooper got inside the house the mother was breathing and trying to get her bearings and get up.

We got medical on scene and she was transported to the hospital with a broken back. The young girl was given a little reward from the police dept for her bravery in the call as she kept calm and did everything we told her to do.

The mother made a full recovery with no brain damage, Doctors don’t know if she did indeed stop breathing but only for a short time or if the girl didn’t understand the question and thought sleeping meant not breathing or something.

This call is a reminder, why we don’t stress enough to teach your kids your first and last names, their phone number and phone number of their parents, and most importantly, their home address and If there is a landline phone in the house to use that to call 911 Operators. Overusing a cell phone as the landline phone will give us an exact address. While cell phones are scariest while a lot better now can sometimes only give us a location of several hundred yards.

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