April 01, 2006

911 Call Hits Automated Machine Response

After the A's game this afternoon, we were headed down south I-880, when a short distance ahead of me I saw glass and metal fly in a quasi-explosion, cars spun out of control coming to a rest diagonally, and directly in front of us, a van stopped, covering our lane, and multiple cars were leaking gas. One car, in the furthest right lane, had its front half completely totaled. As we edged our car around the stopped van, I got on the cell phone and dialed 911, expecting to reach an operator and give them an update to the where and when, as others helped the accident victims. Yet, when I called, after several rings, I was told I had reached the highway patrol, and "if this is an emergency, press any key." So, I hit a key, and was transfered to the emergency line, where after several more rings, I hit an automated response saying "all emergency operators are currently busy assisting other callers."

After a few cycles of this, I hung up. I had to hope that any of the other several dozen drivers who had cell phones and saw the accident occur had made a call. Heck - for all I knew, it was using a cell phone while driving that had caused the accident in the first place. But it wasn't a very reassuring feeling that all the emergency operators were busy when I called 911. What if I had been the only person to call? What if I had needed help? It's not as easy as they make it look on television.

Listening to ''Super Falling Star'', by Stereolab (Play Count: 5)