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View Poll Results: How often do you call emergency services?
In the US: Less than once a year. 52 46.02%
In the US: Once a year. 1 0.88%
In the US: 2-6 times a year. 5 4.42%
In the US: More than 6 times a year. 0 0%
Outside the US: Less than once a year. 48 42.48%
Outside the US: Once a year. 1 0.88%
Outside the US: 2-6 times a year. 1 0.88%
Outside the US: More than 6 times a year. 0 0%
On Planet X, every person is issued a police officer to be with them 26 hours a day, 8 days a week. 5 4.42%
Voters: 113. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 6th May 2018, 10:54 PM   #1
Babbylonian
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How often do you call 911 or similar emergency number?

Given some recently publicized controversies caused by people calling the police for very questionable reasons, I'm curious how often members of this forum call emergency services, and why they've called in the past.
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Old 6th May 2018, 11:09 PM   #2
Metullus
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Actually just once in 60 years. Ended with an ambulance trip to the ER. Good times...
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Old 6th May 2018, 11:28 PM   #3
Brainster
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I have only had occasion to dial 911 once myself. I lived near a busy intersection and this crazy guy was out in the middle of the street screaming at everybody. He was a complete menace to traffic, and looked like he was high as a kite. And the cops came and almost immediately, he became a normal person. By that time, of course, there were plenty of people who had gathered around to tell the cops what he'd been doing. They didn't take him in, although they offered to call EMS.

Now the other time my phone was used to call 911 was not as fun. I had this couple next door and let's just say that they were mutually abusive to each other. So one day the wife comes over to my house, insists she needs to use the phone, calls 911, stays on long enough for the call to register, then hangs up. Of course, 911 calls back and I explain. Could they talk to the woman, just to be sure. Here, she talks to them and assures them she doesn't need help. Decides she's going to go out to a bar for a couple of hours and let the hubby cool down. Five minutes later cops ring the doorbell--just making sure she's alright. Of course, this is all pre-cellphone days and anyway the cops don't know who "she" is anyway. Long story short I tell the cops (2) that one of them can come in and check the place for a dead female. The older one laughs, I show him around the joint, they go over to the neighbors, she's not back, husband gets a little annoying and boom, he's off to jail. And of course both of them blame me for it.
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Old 6th May 2018, 11:48 PM   #4
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Once in my 67 years, when my mother had a stroke.
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Old 7th May 2018, 12:11 AM   #5
erlando
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I've called 911 (or 112 as it happens to be here in Denmark) once. That was about a week ago when a man collapsed right outside my house.

I didn't actually dial 112. There's an app for that. When you press the big friendly red button a call to 112 is placed and your location is simultaneously transferred to the emergency services.
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Old 7th May 2018, 12:35 AM   #6
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There's a great term for people who obsessively contact the emergency services, or more specifically law enforcement and courts: QuerulantWP
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Old 7th May 2018, 01:54 AM   #7
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I've called more than a dozen times over the years. First time I was a teenager, when our house was on fire (no injuries to family, firefighters, or pets, thankfully, though we lost a couple of family heirlooms, and we had to live in my grandparents' house for four months).

I called several times when I was in college, including reporting that some guys were using a water-balloon slingshot to bombard passing cars from the balcony of a fraternity, that an intoxicated person had fallen off a wall behind my dorm (apparently he wasn't seriously injured), that I'd been involved in a minor traffic accident, that there was a traffic accident with injuries near my dorm, that I was having heart palpitations from an accidental overdose of asthma medication (only time I've ever ridden in an ambulance), and, finally, that the dumpster behind my apartment building was on fire (it was the Fourth of July, and one of my roommates tried to convince me to wait to call because he wanted to shoot off some illegal fireworks, but I called anyway).

Since then I've called at least twice each to report being in a minor traffic accident, report a disabled vehicle, report debris on the highway, and report a malfunctioning traffic signal.

I've also called once each for another accidental overdose (paramedics checked me out but they said I seemed okay, so I didn't go to the hospital; I take safer asthma medications now), to report a car driving erratically, and to report a broken water main.
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Old 7th May 2018, 02:04 AM   #8
Strawberry
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Only once, to report a car on fire outside my house.
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Old 7th May 2018, 02:05 AM   #9
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A liberal-communist friend of mine said he once stumbled across stats for who 911 serves and though he couldn't remember the exact figures, he said the numbers were the kind of thing that "brings out your inner-Republican." Apparently a tiny percentage of the underclass uses the lion's share of emergency services, which isn't something I should find surprising. I have dialed 911 zero times in my life.

He mentioned it because we were having lunch and the restaurant called 911 on a security guard acting crazy. The city sent a goddamn fire truck.
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Old 7th May 2018, 03:25 AM   #10
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Three times in my life.
Once when a drunk/drugged out hobo was sitting on my doorstep and looking like he needed a hospital
Once when our roof was on fire
Once when sitting in a restaurant and someone had an unexpected epileptic attack.
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Old 7th May 2018, 03:58 AM   #11
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Once when I came across a crashed car and once when a drunk driver crashed through the garden wall and wrote off my wife's car.
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Old 7th May 2018, 04:35 AM   #12
bonzombiekitty
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Since 2002, I've called 911 on the following occasions:

- Report a big group of people fighting in the middle of the street.
- Shortly following the above, called again to report that someone had taken out a gun a fired it into the air.
- Fire alarm going off in my apartment building
- Car broken into and needed a police report.
- House broken into.
- Report a couple girls fighting outside my house and that one of them pulled out a gun and chased the other down the street.
- Car accident (my car hit by someone running a red light)
- Witnessed a car "accident" - some car came tearing around a corner, slammed into a parked car and kept pushing it down the street some, then backed up and sped off.
- Some lady, drunk/high, trying to get into a house (possibly her own) and smashed a window trying to get in.
- Friend came home completely wasted, worse than I had ever seen, and became unresponsive; not knowing how much she drank I was worried about alcohol poisoning so I called an ambulance.

A couple of those may not seem to be 911 worthy, but it's important to note that in Philadelphia, if you need a police response of some sort whether it be an immediate "this guy pulled out a gun!" emergency or "someone smashed my car window last night and I need a report for insurance purposes" non-emergency, the police want you to call 911. It's what they use to track crime, prioritize all their calls, and plan patrols. In the words of our precinct captain - if you didn't call 911, it didn't happen.

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Old 7th May 2018, 05:15 AM   #13
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I had to vote Planet X. Have never called an emergency number for anything.
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Old 7th May 2018, 05:35 AM   #14
TragicMonkey
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Originally Posted by fagin View Post
I had to vote Planet X. Have never called an emergency number for anything.
Me, neither.
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Old 7th May 2018, 05:57 AM   #15
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Why no choice for NONE? I never have .(and, yes, I recognize that is less than once per year, but.................)
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Old 7th May 2018, 05:59 AM   #16
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I've called twice in my life, and had one call made for me.

The two I made were 111 calls here is kiwiland. One was to get an ambulance for my mum when she had a really bad ear imbalance issue that left her throwing up and unable to walk, and once was when we had a burglar break in while we were at home.

The time I had one called, I was actually in the States with my now wife, and I started to cough and throw up, and it somehow irritate the lining in my throat causing it to bleed so I started to cough up blood. Happened to be the day that Dawn had taken the car in for servicing, so she called 911.
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Old 7th May 2018, 06:03 AM   #17
pgwenthold
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Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
I've called more than a dozen times over the years. First time I was a teenager, when our house was on fire (no injuries to family, firefighters, or pets, thankfully, though we lost a couple of family heirlooms, and we had to live in my grandparents' house for four months).

I called several times when I was in college, including reporting that some guys were using a water-balloon slingshot to bombard passing cars from the balcony of a fraternity, that an intoxicated person had fallen off a wall behind my dorm (apparently he wasn't seriously injured), that I'd been involved in a minor traffic accident, that there was a traffic accident with injuries near my dorm, that I was having heart palpitations from an accidental overdose of asthma medication (only time I've ever ridden in an ambulance), and, finally, that the dumpster behind my apartment building was on fire (it was the Fourth of July, and one of my roommates tried to convince me to wait to call because he wanted to shoot off some illegal fireworks, but I called anyway).

Since then I've called at least twice each to report being in a minor traffic accident, report a disabled vehicle, report debris on the highway, and report a malfunctioning traffic signal.

I've also called once each for another accidental overdose (paramedics checked me out but they said I seemed okay, so I didn't go to the hospital; I take safer asthma medications now), to report a car driving erratically, and to report a broken water main.
I haven't called it for me or mine, but I have called 911 on occasion when I see minor accidents happen on the road, or, as you say, disabled vehicles.

I usually only do it if the incident happens right as I am driving by, and not if it is just sitting there, because I figure they are waiting on something.

I once called 911 in the middle of the night because there were explosions that shook the ground. They said don't worry, but I found out it was that they had discovered a big stash of dynamite in someone's attic, so the local bomb squad took it to the quarry to set it off to destroy it. So I wasn't wrong about the explosions.

My main reason for calling 911 is when I think someone needs help. For a while, there was construction on the local interstate and it had been cut down to a single, very narrow lane. I was going through and a guy in front of me was having car troubles and his car stalled out. He pulled over as far as he could, and I was able to get by, but this was a bad situation and he needed help getting out of there. So I called 911.
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Old 7th May 2018, 06:22 AM   #18
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Once that I recall, for a road side fire, as soon as I said fire, they told me where it was. I was obviously not the first report.

I don't think minor accidents or disabled vehicle really merit a 911 call in most cases.

Last edited by ahhell; 7th May 2018 at 06:23 AM.
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Old 7th May 2018, 06:52 AM   #19
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I've only used non-emergency numbers. 101 for the police for neighbours fighting and an injured deer at the side of the road. NHS24 because I felt like a xenomorph was trying to chew its way out of me.
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Old 7th May 2018, 06:53 AM   #20
pgwenthold
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
Once that I recall, for a road side fire, as soon as I said fire, they told me where it was. I was obviously not the first report.

I don't think minor accidents or disabled vehicle really merit a 911 call in most cases.
Accidents? Absolutely (how do you know they are minor? Even a minor rear end can cause injury and damage, and if there is either, you want to have a police report. If I see an accident occur on the road, I am going to notify the police for them.

My wife was rear-ended a couple of years ago. No one hurt, and the guy gave her insurance information and a license plate number. It was a major hassle getting it covered for our insurance. Their response was, next time, call the police and file a report. It's better for everyone.

Disabled vehicles? If they are in the way, again, for sure. Just a car sitting on the shoulder, no, of course not. But if a vehicle breaks down in the middle of the road or in a place where there is no shoulder? Damn straight! You need police there.
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Old 7th May 2018, 06:59 AM   #21
ahhell
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The police have non emergency numbers. If nobody is about to die, that's what should be used.

Sure, vehicle stopped in the middle of traffic, call 911. I've never actually seen that though.
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Old 7th May 2018, 07:20 AM   #22
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I live in South Dekalb County, GA. I hear gunshots 3-4 nights a week, and it's not from good old boys plinking at beer cans.

The first time this happened, and I heard a shotgun blast coming from a few houses away, I called 911. The operator, in a bored tone of voice, said they'd send a cruiser to patrol the neighborhood.

The second time, I called again. The operator was again annoyed, and again promised to send a car through the neighborhood.

Neither phone call had any effect on the frequency of gunshots.

I just stopped bothering at that point.
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Old 7th May 2018, 07:20 AM   #23
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I am a USAian. I have never called 911 in my 48 years on this planet.

As a side note I have never dialed 119 in China either (I always think that it is humorous that the number is "upside-down) on the opposite side of the world).
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Old 7th May 2018, 07:24 AM   #24
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Things we have called emergency services for

Our burner in out boiler catching fire

A car accident we saw

A dog locked in a hot car
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Old 7th May 2018, 07:33 AM   #25
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Let's see:
Once to report a car on its roof. I asked if a rollover at x intersection had been reported. It had.
Once to report my mother-in-law had fallen and been injured.
Once to report my wife was critically ill, saving her life.
Called for me a couple of times, for car accidents and when I fell off the roof.
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Old 7th May 2018, 07:41 AM   #26
TragicMonkey
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
Called for me a couple of times, for car accidents and when I fell off the roof.
Did you have an exceptionally long steering wheel?
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Old 7th May 2018, 07:59 AM   #27
Babbylonian
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
The police have non emergency numbers. If nobody is about to die, that's what should be used.

Sure, vehicle stopped in the middle of traffic, call 911. I've never actually seen that though.
This is not entirely accurate and varies widely between localities. For example, in my suburb both 911 and the listed non-emergency number go to the same operators.
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Old 7th May 2018, 08:01 AM   #28
bonzombiekitty
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
Accidents? Absolutely (how do you know they are minor? Even a minor rear end can cause injury and damage, and if there is either, you want to have a police report. If I see an accident occur on the road, I am going to notify the police for them.
In Philly, they want you to call 911 for minor accidents. On roads serviced by the PPD and not state troopers, they won't send out police unless there's an injury or property damage. If no injuries, both cars are drivable and there's nothing interfering with traffic, they'll log the call and then you can get an accident report later.
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Old 7th May 2018, 08:05 AM   #29
bonzombiekitty
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
The police have non emergency numbers. If nobody is about to die, that's what should be used.
This is not always true. As I mentioned above, this isn't the case in Philadelphia. Any time you think the police will need to be involved, you call 911 emergency or not.

(And before anyone mentions it, yes the PPD website says 311 is the non-emergency number. But 311 is a general city services number. You'd call that if you have a question, need to set up something like police detail at a future event, or talk to a specific person. If you need to report a crime, nuisance, accident, or otherwise request the presence of the police, they'll tell you to call 911 emergency or not)
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Old 7th May 2018, 08:28 AM   #30
ponderingturtle
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Originally Posted by bonzombiekitty View Post
In Philly, they want you to call 911 for minor accidents. On roads serviced by the PPD and not state troopers, they won't send out police unless there's an injury or property damage. If no injuries, both cars are drivable and there's nothing interfering with traffic, they'll log the call and then you can get an accident report later.
I was told to call 911 in NYC to get a police report when my car was broken into.
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Old 7th May 2018, 09:56 AM   #31
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Since we moved into this neighborhood I've called 911 more often than the rest of my life combined. Mostly to report "shots fired" which they've asked everyone to do since it helps them triangulate the location. I've gotten very good at recognizing the different sounds.

Last autumn I had to call for medical reasons for a change.
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Old 7th May 2018, 09:59 AM   #32
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Every time I see an ambulance in my development, I wonder if they know something about me that I don't.

I'm in the hospital about once every six weeks, but I need to call an ambulance only once every six months. They're almost always fast, courteous and professional. I've waited from 3 minutes to about 10.

For some reason, sometimes the police also come. They're generally just in the way.
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Old 7th May 2018, 10:06 AM   #33
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This year. Needed an ambulance to get my wife to the hospital for a medical emergency. Fortunately, they released her after only two days.

Last year. A pole transformer a few hundred yards up the street blew up during a rather energetic electrical storm. I hadn't bothered about the first two, I just called the power company's report number to let them know we were in the dark. This one set a couple of trees on fire, though, and left a hot power line swinging around above the street, so I figured it was a bit more urgent.

Year before. Someone lost it on the deadman's curve right before our house (one of the few places in this part of NC I've seen where the "Dangerous Curve Ahead" signs are really warranted) and ended up in our front yard.

Four years ago. At the time we were in an apartment complex in Chapel Hill. A pretty tame one occupied mostly by grad students, young professionals, and retired folks. It was late at night (more like very early in the morning) and I saw several shadowy figures, dressed in black and carrying what looked like rifles, moving around in the periphery of the parking lot lighting.

When I called 911 they told me to keep my line clear, hung up, and called back to tell me it was official business and to stay inside.

Turns out the FBI was moving in on some college kid that had been sending fraudulent emails to a local bank.

They had the wrong apartment, wrong apartment building, and wrong apartment complex.

But on reflection I guess I should have been reassured that I was (mostly) safe, as long as I hadn't gone out to my car to get something or some other suspicious looking activity.

Back through the past few decades. A couple of car accidents which I saw happen. A couple of other medical emergencies which warranted more than loading someone up and driving them to the ER. (Head trauma, possible spinal injury ... that sort of thing.)

On a per year basis? Well under once a year. Or even once every few years.

More, apparently, than some folks here.
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Old 7th May 2018, 10:09 AM   #34
ponderingturtle
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Every time I see an ambulance in my development, I wonder if they know something about me that I don't.

I'm in the hospital about once every six weeks, but I need to call an ambulance only once every six months. They're almost always fast, courteous and professional. I've waited from 3 minutes to about 10.

For some reason, sometimes the police also come. They're generally just in the way.
That is generally policy on residential calls, they are there to evaluate the situation and make sure everything is safe. For example medical personnel can not break in or restrain a patient. So they usually get dismissed pretty quickly.

They can also be helpful for lifting if needed.
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Old 7th May 2018, 10:28 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Did you have an exceptionally long steering wheel?
Sorry, TM, not I'm not getting that one!
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Old 7th May 2018, 10:30 AM   #36
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I think the poll lacks precision in the "Less than once a year" category. I've never called 911, and it seems that many other posters are in the zero to once in their lives range.
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Old 7th May 2018, 10:37 AM   #37
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When I was a teenager working at a Doughnut shop, I called 911 when a person reached around the display and stole a doughnut and ran. By the time 911 operator stopped laughing, I understood there is a minimum threshold of importance the situation failed to reach.

Fortunately, my boss never asked about the missing doughnut(s), if they were even noticed. This was when my life of crime began and I stopped confining my doughnut consumption to the day old tray.
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Old 7th May 2018, 10:39 AM   #38
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I report drunk drivers, less now that you aren't supposed to use the cell phone while driving. Called in a couple traffic accidents as the first one on the scene.

Called once a couple decades ago when my CO alarm went off, and once when my dad plugged his motor home into my kitchen outlet and it started smoking, a lot. Once in college when I awoke to the windows breaking from a fire in the dentist office next door. (Our windows faced each other's.) Once when the rooming house I was the manager of had a fire, guy smoking in bed set the room on fire. And once for a smoldering stump in the park behind my house. Some idiots lit fireworks in it an left it burning.

Called once for the used syringe in my yard, once for the propane tank that fell off a gardener's truck, also in my yard. Called once when my son was 3 because a man at the park grabbed him and took his toy sword away and became threatening when I asked for it back.

There are probably things I'm forgetting. I have never called because someone 'looked suspicious'.

Yep, remembered another time. A drunk driver high ended his car on a rock in the neighbor's yard after skidding out going to fast around a corner. I called the cops because he was so drunk he kept trying to drive off the rock but couldn't. They arrested him.
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Old 7th May 2018, 10:48 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
...
More, apparently, than some folks here.
I think some of us have just been around more things happening, or we don't hesitate to call in things that someone else might not.
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Old 7th May 2018, 10:58 AM   #40
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I've called the local equivalent twice. Once when I found a passed-out drunk at -15 C temperature, and once when my mother-in-law had a seizure. That averages out to once every 26 years.
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