In today’s English Cafe 124, Jeff talks about the 9-1-1 emergency telephone system in the U.S. As Jeff mentioned, the emergency number should only be used for life-threatening (very dangerous) emergencies. These are some actual reasons people called 9-1-1. You decide if they are life-threatening emergencies:
- A man broke up with (ended a romantic relationship with) his girlfriend and wanted police to go over to her house and to tell him the owners of any cars, other than hers, in her driveway in front of her garage or house.
- A call came into 9-1-1 emergency because two couples were going to share a hotel room and there weren’t enough towels.
- Someone called 9-1-1 to report that their parrot (talking bird) got out of its cage and is in a tree outside.
- A drunk (person who had too much alcohol) called 9-1-1 to order a pizza.
And these are supposed to be actual 9-1-1 calls, but I’m dubious (doubting; not convinced it’s true). A dispatcher is a person who answers emergency calls and who sends the police, fire department, or an ambulance (a truck that takes sick or injured people to the hospital) to help.
Caller: Yeah, I’m having trouble breathing. I’m all out of breath. I think I’m going to pass out (to faint; to lose consciousness).
Dispatcher: Sir, where are you calling from?
Caller: I’m at a pay phone (public telephone) at North Avenue and Foster Street.
Dispatcher: Sir, an ambulance is on the way. What were you doing before you started having trouble breathing?
Caller: Running from the police.
Dispatcher: 9-1-1 What’s the nature of your emergency?
Caller: My wife is pregnant and her contractions (pains a woman feels when her baby is about to be born) are only two minutes apart.
Dispatcher: Is this her first child?
Caller: No, you idiot (very stupid or unintelligent person)! This is her husband!