Archive for the 'emergency' Category

What If You Call The Emergency Services and They Don’t Respond?

January 26, 2007

You might remember that just a few days ago here on I covered a series of spoof or non-emergency calls to 911 (999) emergency services. It is always bad when people abuse the services that are set up for when we need help the most but it is even worse when the emergency services don’t believe you or choose not to act when the emergency is actually serious and very real!

Well it happened. According to CNN last night at around 1:45AM the fire department was called about a BBQ restaurant that was burning down. The dispatcher was sure that it couldn’t possibly be a fire and quizzed the caller and finally decided that the call was not in regards to an emergency and the BBQ joint was just smoking ribs. 45 minutes later they got a call from another passer-by that the restaurant was on fire and this time after a quiz about how big the fire was and what colour the smoke was the dispatcher sent the fire department to tackle the now growing blaze. This was of course too late, the place is a total loss.

This is a serious problem as I saw in the interviews I watched on CNN. The Fire Department Asst. Chief Evans was less than happy to accept total responsibility that the dispatcher did in fact act too late and even said “there was PROBABLY a fire when the first caller rang in to the emergency services.” It seems to me that there are several at fault here. The dispatcher could have had his head screwed on properly and used his common sense At 1:45 in the morning they are not likely to be doing heavy duty cooking. The caller could have been a little bit more communicative and asked the dispatcher to send a police car out to assess the situation and they would have of course called out the fire department.

I offer similar advice to last week. Be smart when you call the emergency services. Be smart enough that if you think there is a fire or other emergency that you push the dispatcher if they don’t believe you. On the few occasions I have had need to call the emergency services I have never had them tell me that they don’t believe me. According to CNN the Fire Dept. was just up the road, If I was that close to the fire and knew the area, I would have gone and knocked on the door of the fire station. They are all at fault here but the dispatcher who didn’t send the resources out, should be fired.


Call 911 If You Need Genuine Help, Not Psychiatric Help!

January 17, 2007

I was just talking with a couple friends of mine on Skype and the conversation lulled so where do we end up but looking at funny videos on YouTube. I sent them one that I count as a favourite and it involves a woman calling 911 and they actually offer to come over and shoot her daughter. The operator is saying it as a joke but it is obviously not in least bit funny whatever way you spin it.

I looked for a few more examples of 911 calls gone bad or funny and came across a few more examples. Not only do people misuse the emergency phone number that is there for people to call when there is a genuine emergency. 911 has the same function as the UK’s 999 allows the citizen to contact the emergency services from any phone that has a dialtone, regardless of the cost. I would call these people who are using it as a number to complain about their order in Burger King or other trivial endevour hardly worth the time it takes to speak the words.

The video above is the worst of any of these examples. The police are called via 911 and the idiotic woman caller tells the dispatcher that she was attracted to a police officer who had just been out to her house and wanted to know if the dispatcher could relay her phone number to him! You have to hear it to believe it.

My message to everyone and anyone who is tempted to call the emergency services, unless it’s obviously very serious like your mother is lying on the floor in writhing pain, think twice before phoning the emergency services…they are there to offer emergency help, it’s not there as a free dating service or burger patrol, be smart!

James Kim Found Dead. Questions.

December 7, 2006

UPDATE: reader Dave commented with a link that better described how the family lost their way on the day that the Kims got stuck in the show. The San Fransisco Chronicle has the story. Rescuers were amazed at James Kim’s resolve to save his family, on terrain that they were having difficulty with, they tried in vain to get ahead of him. It is unfortunate that if Kim had followed the road he was on further than he did he would have come to a lodge, although abandoned for the winter, Rescuers checked it more than once during the investigation. An autopsy of James Kim will be performed to determine the cause of death, those details have not been released as of yet.

I would like to extend my condolences to the family of former CNET worker, James Kim. James was lost in the wilderness of Oregon after he went looking for help when his family’s car got stuck in the snow on a road later to be determined to be closed on the journey home to San Francisco, California. The police praised the Kim family for being “true champions” during the investigation.

I was listening to TWiT #79 yesterday and right at the end Leo Laporte mentioned his former co-worker, James Kim, had gone missing during the Thanksgiving Holiday and was still lost. Apparently, James had worked with Leo and especially closely with Patrick Norton when they used to produce “Screen Savers.” It was a short while after I had listened to TWiT when I came across the headline with the news on CNN.

I am confused as to why James and his family took a road that remains unplowed in the winter. Surely, you would know the road was a no-goer before you got too far down it and away from the civilization. For some reason the family did not go back to the main road and became stuck in the snow. It seems after days of waiting James Kim went out into the Oregon wilderness in search of help. The situation seemed to worsen when the emergency services became involved.

According to CNN, emergency packages were dropped in the hopes that Kim would find one I don’t understand if they were dropping packages why they were not including mobile satellite phones, long range radios or something more useful to him than a note from his family with his life at total risk in the elements. I understand that they should include that as a moral boost for him should he find it, but it seemed like not enough was being done right by the emergency services when I read over the reports from CNN.

There’s a couple of things that don’t make sense and I have thought about them since I read the news piece. Did the car travel a great distance onto the twisty mountain road? If it did, how did it become stuck and why wasn’t it possible to get the car unstuck? If the snow started to be more intense as they traveled up a road that was quite obviously not in use (not plowed) shouldn’t they have turned back before it was too late? If I was traveling in weather so obviously hostile, I would not make the decision to travel up a snowed down, abandoned mountain road. The only way I can accept that they were unaware of the status of the road is if it were too dark.

The family told CNN that they burned the tires of the car to survive once the petrol was all used…The car must have been seriously mired in the snow to justify burning the tires, but if the tires were accessible to remove and burn, in what way was the car stuck in the snow? Why was it considered a viable course of action to destroy any chances of moving the car by burning the tires? What kind of accelerant did the family have at their disposal to start the tires on fire?

From my understanding Kim waited in the car with him family for 9 days before attempting to go for help. 9 days is an eternity when stuck in the snow. I am not too clear on this part of the story and will update here as I learn more.

There is something amiss with this case. I can’t quite figure out some of the choices that were made, both by the Kim family and the rescuers.