Tuesday, March 21

High Street? Do you know how many High Streets there are?

Why is it so difficult for callers to understand the term - where?

Ok, you've seen something
Lets say a bin on fire
You've managed to figure out that a fire engine will be needed
You reach into your pocket
Pull out your mobile phone
Take the keypad lock off (its harder for some of us I know!)
and dial 999
The operator asks you - which service and you manage to correctly answer 'Fire'
I answer the call......
at that point you feel its necessary to keep all the information to yourself

Me: Fire Service can I help you?
Caller: There's a fire
me: Ok where is it?
Caller: ..............................Opposite the pub
Me: ok, which pub would that be and what road is the pub on?
Caller: its the pub that my mate/dad/uncle/grandad drinks in on a Sunday
Me: oh that pub, how absent minded of me not to know! which road is it on?
Caller: High Street
Me: High Street, which area?
Caller: Lilyshire (obviously a made up large county!)
Me: Ok but what district of Lilyshire would that be in?
Caller: district?
Me: what area is High Street in? There's only 350 High Streets in Lilyshire, I'd be very grateful if you could narrow it down a little bit for me Sir
Caller: oh right, Old Town (insert another equally large town!)
Me: Arrrgggghhhh

Do you know something? I think I can actually feel my blood pressure rising. So in the interest of Health and Safety I shall stop it right there! But Im guessing you get the picture.

Please, please, please - if you have the need to dial 999 - please know where you are, it makes things soooo much easier on all of us!

9 comments:

Mere said...

Hullo, ran across this through A Year in the life of a police dispatcher Interesting blog, a couple of my friends over here in Canada have all been reading blogs like this and Nee Naw and such.

Interesting to see how you guys handle thing differently than us Canucks

M2KB said...

I have a confession to make - when I last phoned the fire brigade, I had a total mental block on where I was as well. So much so, I nearly had to walk back to the car and ask my GPS for the road name. It's only a road I drive down day in, day out, for the last 5 years to get to work and back.

Fortunately our 'local' fire control room is about 8 miles away and new the road I was talking about from my description! It's a horrible situation suddenly realising you become one of 'those' callers everyone hates.

Miranda Shuttleworth said...

There is a difference between someone who is genuine in not knowing the name of the road/area, and someone knowing it but waiting for you to pull it out of them, like blood out of a stone!!

It happened to me when I had to call the police, 'A van has just turned over in front of me on the motorway - it big and its white'. Now if I had taken that call, eyes would have been rolling skyward! Like anyone cares that its big and white!!

Interesting point about the 'local control' seeing that local knowledge is not important apparently. My absolute favourite person in the whole wide world (to hate that is!) Mr John ******** Prescott believes that local knowledge is not required and we can mobilise a fire engine without it. I shall save that for a post very shortly!

Mark said...

My best experience, as a punter, has been calling fire, police ans ambulance to my address over the last couple of years. The fire brigade and police both turned up quickly (fire much quicker than police though) but there has always been a call back from the ambulance control asking for directions. Ironically I can just about see the ambulance station from my front door.

The problem is that I live on a new estate and the road names aren't on the maps yet.

Cheers

Mark

M2KB said...

In my experience that's because fire brigade don't "grade" their calls (although I'm sure Miranda will correct me if I'm wrong). They either go, or they don't.

Police and ambulance have to prioritise their calls, police much more than ambulance.

Mark said...

I must admit that I hadn't expected the police to arrive at all. The call was just for a few kids throwing rocks at construction plant on a Sunday afternoon - annoying but quite minor in the greater scheme of things. The call for the fire brigade was similar someone had set fire to some straw bales in a concrete pipe - not a major conflagaration but behind a locked fence and my hose wouldn't reach that far. I suppoe the problem wth fires is that whilst they may start of as a minor incident they can escalate very quickly. That being said I didn't expect full blues and twos when I reported a very minor rubbish fire (I could have put it by steping on it if I had been able to reach it) in the grounds of the local bowls club. I did try to tell the controller the scope of the fire but I guess the hose-squirters were bored and wanted something to do :-)

Cheers

Mark

Miranda Shuttleworth said...

We don't grade calls as such, however resources can be stood down and mobilised elsewhere if required more urgently.

We do get various degrees of 'its only a small fire, no need for a fire engine, just a bloke in a van with a bucket of water will do'. We send out to a fire in the open and 10mins later the crew are asking for assistance as its an inferno! Whilst the majority are credible (like your goodself Mark) others aren't so much and therefore better safe than sorry.

But obviously hose-squirters really don't have anything else to do other than racing round squirting water so you saved them from being bored!! ;o)

Anonymous said...

can u tell me how to become a phone opertor in the fire department please, as it is a side ways movement i need to no how would i get these job.

Anonymous said...

As an ambulance service calltaker, i know exactly how frustrating this one is!! But then again, we are expected to be psychic!