I was surfing my blog roll and found this post over at Happy Medic’s place. It reminded me of an even sillier call courtesy of our version of the card phone triage system and a dispatcher with an overactive imagination.
It was a nice summer night and we were cruising around the district
looking at pretty girls familiarizing ourselves with any changes in the traffic pattern, when we were alerted by our dispatcher that a life threatening emergency was afoot and that there was a cry for help in the night. Or something. A few blocks away from our current location a bicyclist had been hit by a car.
It all sounded so serious and medical and stuff. From the tone of the dispatcher’s voice we knew that seconds counted and we had to race to the scene lights alighted and siren sirening.
Then I looked at the comments on the computer screen. They were something like this,
Caller states that his bike was struck by a car in front of the address. He’s not injured, but the bike is damaged. The driver said that he would be right back with some money to pay for the damage, but it’s been almost an hour and he doesn’t think the driver is really coming back. He’d like to see an officer for a report.
As Law Dog would say *blink*.
Oh, did I mention that the caller (but not the bike) was in his third floor apartment?
I acknowledged the call and asked if he really thought ALS was needed or if maybe a BLS truck and the police could handle this trauma? Only I might not have been so polite about it. At the same time I was asking, the fire department was sending not just one, but TWO pieces of apparatus. I think that maybe the ladder truck was sent in case the stairs to the third floor were blocked.
The dispatcher assured me that this was a TRULY ALMOST POTENTIALLY LIFE THREATENING EMERGENCY and that an immediate lights and siren response was indicated.
I didn’t laugh, but I think my partner did. He also didn’t turn on the lights and siren as he drove to the call.
We arrived. Two paramedics, two EMTs, eight fire fighters, but interestingly no police officers. Apparently their dispatcher looked at the comments before dispatching and placed the call in the appropriate place in it’s queue.
We surveyed the scene for safety. The scene was safe. We surveyed the scene for something resembling a patient. We saw none. We looked for evidence of an accident. We found a bike, or rather what remained of it, locked to a pole. Which considering the inoperative state of the bicycle was rather pointless.
We asked the dispatcher for a call back. He managed to dial the right number and the caller told him that he didn’t need an ambulance, let alone two. Nor did he need one fire fighter, let alone eight. What he wanted was a police officer to take a report for his damaged bike. Which, in case I didn’t mention this earlier, he was NOT riding when it was hit. Oh, and he had no interest in coming down three flights of stairs to talk to us.
The dispatcher actually related all of this to us and then asked if we were going to force our way into the building and if he should send a supervisor.
I told him no, we were going to clear and let the police handle the call whenever they got around to doing that.
Not deterred, our dispatcher told us to stand by while he sent a supervisor.
I told him that the supervisor would have plenty of parking spaces because the two ambulances, two EMTs, two paramedics, two fire trucks, and eight fire fighters were leaving.
The dispatcher started to “order” us to stand by when the supervisor mercifully called him and told him that my word was good enough for him and that he wasn’t going.
The dispatcher did everything except shout “Respect my Authoritay” over the radio, but it was to no avail.
We left and went back to burning diesel that we didn’t have to pay for and the fire department went back to try to get some sleep.
I think the guy is still waiting for the police to come and take his report.