I’m from the Government; I’m Here to Help You

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Remember the story today about the 6 year old in the balloon. He was found in his garage hiding in a cardboard box. But this is the transcript from the 911 call. I copied it from another page. I’m pasting it here. Lew told me I’m not to just post things; I’m to comment about them as well. But, I just don’t know what to say in this case. Wait, yes I do: this transcript speaks for itself. That’s what I have to say about this.

Emergency Computer Aided Dispatch system is put to the test…

Operator 1: “911, What is your emergency?”

Caller: “My 6 year-old son just drifted away in a helium balloon!”

Operator 1:“Can I have your phone number in case we get disconnected?”

Caller: “Yes, its 555-1234.” Oh, please, I don’t know what to do! It’s starting to drift away!”

Operator 1: “You say your son is floating away in a balloon?”

Caller: “Yes!”

Operator 1: “Hmm, I don’t see that in any of the emergency dispatch responses in the computer. Hold on a second.”
To Operator 2: “Hey, this lady says her kid’s floating away in a balloon! Where is that in the computer?”

Operator 2: “Kid in a balloon? (scrolling through computer choices) I don’t see that either. Just go with “Generalized Weakness.”

Operator 1: “OK ma’am, I have it now. Is he conscious and breathing?”

Caller: “I guess so, he just climbed into the balloon. I can’t really see him right now. He’s a thousand feet overhead. Please send help!”

Operator 1: “I’ll send someone out. Is his breathing normal?”

Caller: “What? I don’t know! He’s breathing HELIUM!”

Operator 1: “Is he having any chest pain?”

Caller: “Are you kidding me? He’s in a freaking balloon!”

Operator 1: “I understand you’re anxious ma’am, but I need you to try and stay calm. I need you to answer my questions so we can get the proper response crews to you.”

Caller: (calming down) “OK, I’ll try. Please send someone; the balloon is drifting out of sight!”

Operator 1: “How old is he? Does he have any medical problems?”

Caller: “Six. And no, he’s perfectly healthy.”

Operator 1: “How long has he felt weak?”

Caller: “Weak? What are you talking about? Haven’t you been listening? He climbed into an experimental balloon I was building with my husband and it drifted away with him inside it?”

Operator 1: “Oh that’s right. Sorry, I’m trying to use the computer script for ‘Generalized Weakness.’”

Caller: “WHAT?”

Operator 1: “So the balloon drifted away with your 6 year-old husband and he’s feeling weak?”

Caller: “Oh my God!”

Operator 1: “OK ma’am, the ambulance is on its way. Do you want me to stay on the line till they arrive?”

Caller: “An ambulance? Why are you sending an ambulance? He’s in a freaking BALLOON! Thousands of feet in the air! What is an ambulance going to do?”

Operator 1: “Ma’am I need you to try to stay calm so I can send the proper response crews…”

Caller: “Oh sweet Jesus! Never mind, I’ll call CNN!” (Click)

Operator 1 to Operator 2: “What a bitch! Some people just don’t know how to speak to another human being.”

Operator 2: “So she canceled the call?”

Operator 1: “Yeah. Says she’s gonna call CNN. Freak. Like they’d be interested.”

Operator 2: “Hmph!”

9:21 am on October 16, 2009