In the United States, whenever we have an emergency, there’s a number we all learn as children. That number is 911. When anyone in the US calls this number, what they are hoping for is that the people who answer will be able to send help to them or at least walk them through whatever situation they happen to be in.
As a kid, you fully expect that a number repeated so many times is so important that you’re guaranteed help when you call. That is not always the case. Some incidents have seen 911 dispatchers either insulting the caller or completely ignoring the caller’s pleas for help.
What are you supposed to do when the help you thought was coming is nowhere to be found? Will you survive long enough to be safe?
A young boy of 16 lost his life in a tragic incident that could have been avoided. Kyle Push of Cincinnati, Ohio had placed a call to 911 last Monday asking for help as he was stuck in his minivan and unable to get himself out.
While Kyle was reaching for stuff in the back of the minivan he was driving, something happened that caused him to be pinned in the third row seats of his minivan. Not being able to reach for the phone in his pocket, the teen used Siri, the iPhone’s Digital Assistant, to contact emergency services for help.
Because the main system was not up and Push’s call was filtered through the secondary back-up, he was given an automated greeting which made it impossible for him to connect to a real person. The message that he was able to give, is that he was stuck in his minivan at one of the parking lots at Seven Hills School being crushed to death inside his vehicle.
The young boy attempted to call a second time but when he finally connected the 911 dispatcher did not relay the proper information to police combing the area. The officers who responded assumed they were looking for an old woman who couldn’t get herself out of her van.
Because his call was made using Siri, the teen’s call was given lower priority, the police chief saying that this is an obvious flaw in the system that needs to be addressed.
If we can’t rely on emergency services for help during an emergency, who are we supposed to rely on?