Do you know your local 911 policies?

United States
July 26, 2007 9:27am CST
I thought 911 (emergency hotline) was the same all of the states, you dial 911 and you get help. But it turns out that it not only varies from state to state but from city to city as well. For instance in the city I live in (Huntsville, AL) 911 will only dispatch units to life threatening situations. I know this sounds like well hey that's how it should be but think about this, let's say to come home and find a loved one dead, it's not life threatening, they are already dead so they give you a different number to call at your local police office. And let's say you get robbed or you come out of a shopping center and your car has been stolen, it's not life threatening, they give you the number of a police officer who will take a report by phone. But nobody will come out to help you. This has come to my attention recently 3 ways. The first is that I've had to call 911 about neighborhood children who I find outside at 2 or 3 am shooting off bottle rocket fireworks on the apartment roofs and out by the cars or into the power lines. Right now we are at a level 4 drought and those are banned because you can't control them and they could start a fire. Plus these children range from 3 yrs old to 14 and the little one often gets burned. The mom doesn't care (she's expecting her 13th child) and every time I've been told it is not an emergency and only once has an officer come by and i was like an hour later, drove by, saw the children setting off fireworks and did nothing. Second is because our car was broken into, damaged at a shopping center and again we were told not to even file a report that nothing could be done, there wasn't enough damage. And last I saw on the news how this woman was at one of our state parks with her infant, taking him on a stroll through the nature trail. Well she got back to her car to find the windows broken, her car undriveable and her purse gone. She called 911 but because she was on the Huntsville side of the park and not the Madison side (city next door) of it, they told her they wouldn't help her, were rude to her and she had to call her husband who was at work an hour away to come help her out. If she had been on the Madison side they told her, then she could get help because Madison dispatches units to every 911 call but in Huntsville it is policy to not respond unless your life is in danger or it is life threatening. Despite the fact that the HPD (Huntsville Police Department) is bigger than the MPD. This is something to keep in mind when looking for a home, who wants to live in a city where 911 is going to ignore you if someone breaks in your house? I think when looking for a house to purchase, I am going to look at Madison and that means that Huntsville is going to lose out not only on the money and taxes of that sale but from shopping as well since I'd do my shopping closer to my home. What are the policies in your area?
1 person likes this
1 response
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
26 Jul 07
How sad that the policy is that way where you live. Don't they realize that a litle prevention would KEEP things from becoming life threatening. Like in the case of the kids with the fireworks. They won't stop them from doing it but will have to come out when one tburned, falls off the roof, or sets someone's house on fire. Or what about the mom stranded, how did they know that the person/people who vandalized her car weren't still around. Maybe they left her car undrivable on purpose so she would be an easy target for a worse crime. They police would have had to come AFTER she'd been assaulted and her and her baby murdered. I've been lucky enough to not need to deal with 911 very often. Once was when my s/o got hurt. It wasn't "life threatening" but he was only semi-conscious. They dispatched the local ambulance but it got lost so we had to call them a second, and then third time before a second ambulance showed up just after the first one finally arrived. The second one was about 30 minutes away so the first one took 45 minutes to get here from the time of the first call....good thing it wasn't life threatening! The other time I called 911 was because my neighbors were involved in a domestic dispute and the wife had chased her husband into my yard (she was the violent one in the relationship). I was home alone that night and it made me uncomfortable. I called and explained the situation and that it wasn't an emergency but that I didn't have lomg distance phone service to call the state police (we don't have local coverage).he 911 operaor was very polite and redirected my call...it was the state police that weren't interested in helping.
• United States
26 Jul 07
You know what? Oddly enough I looked out the window today and the police, fire department and ambulance were at that very house where those boys live. They were in there a while and left w/out anyone so I don't know what happened but the mom did take off with 2 of her boys. The police drove by but never actually stopped, the fire department and EMT workers are the ones that went in. I hope the kids are ok, I really don't think they're at fault for being products of their enviroment and upbringing.
• United States
26 Jul 07
And yeah I totally agree, the nerve of them telling that lady she shouldn't have been outdoors with her baby as if nature is no place for a mother and child. Sad.
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
27 Jul 07
Oh, I hope everyone is alright! I guess it couldn't have been that bad if the EMTs didn't take anyone but still! And no it isn't their fault, they are just children and are only acting they way they've been raised to act. And if the mom did just stay inside all the time with her baby, she would be accused of being a lazy mother and of putting her child at risk for obesity! What is the world coming to...