Friday, April 15 2005
One of the minor annoyances of running 911 calls in a city you don’t live in is your relative unfamiliarity with the streets.
This, by the way, is merely an annoyance to those of us who must pilot; it in no way affects the 911 Caller In Peril, for each of the units has several huge, honkin’ mapbooks with detailed directions to each and every alphabetically-listed street, with each address on that street carefully drawn in. We may not be local, but we’re not lost either.
What these books lack, however, is how far away the street is. An example is in order.
Tones drop in the station, all conversations halt. The dispatcher speaks. “Box Zero Two-”
We’re Station 2 – immediately, we know this is for us. Start moving towards the units…
“- Sixteen, on Five Adam, for Injuries from an Assault-”
The Fire Guys relax – it’s not a fire, lockout, water hazard, power lines down, car accident, entrapment, trench rescue… fire guy stuff. They wave buh-bye. Bambulance folk away!
“-Fourteen thousand five hundred Wombat Circle, Apartment 107. Ambulance 502 at 23:16.”
Neat. Climb into the unit, put away A-Q and fish out the R-Z book. Look up Wombat Circle. The directions assume you’re in the station. They read:
. Left on Your Ave
. Right on Aussie Way
. Left on Didjeridu Lane
. Left on Wombat Circle
The accompanying hand-drawn topo view shows that 14500 is the third apartment building on the left. So far so good. Turn on the lights and woo-woos and go.
What these books fail to mention is that there are fourteen stop-lights until your Right on Aussie Way comes up. Six stop signs until the left turn, then an IMMEDIATE left with no stop sign or light…
Now, what does all this have to do with Our Friends, PD?
It so happened that not too long ago we had a call for an assault. Neither my driver nor I happened to live around them thar’ parts, so off we went – and got real close to the address before we knew it. Like, right in front of the address. All lit up and noisy we were, too.
Since the caller indicated he’d been shot (or stabbed – dispatch was getting conflicting information from him) we, Unarmed Healers, were in a particularly exposed position for Mayhem Upon Our Selves.
Calls like that, we “stage” two blocks away from the address, until the Poh Leece get there with special tools – Skills, Guns, Sprays, Cuffs, Sticks, and Muscle – to make sure that the bad guys who caused bodily harm are through harming bodies. They secure the scene, then call us in. This time we beat ’em there.
“Shit, we’re here,” laughs DTs.
“Oh Shit,” laughs his Trusty Driver. “Where’s the good guys?”
“Dunno, but go Stealth, real quick,” says DTs. Sirens quiet, lights slow and stop. The red light in the cab is extinguished. Run silent, run deep.
“Dispatch, is, uh, PD coming on this one? Cuz, we’re here…”
“502, you are on scene? Affirmative on PD, 502. We’ll advise.”
Driver: “You hear anything?”
DTs: “What, like gunshots, the schluuck of a stiletto into a body…?”
Driver: “Ha ha. No, dimwit. Cops. Sirens. The cavalry.”
Driver: “Me neither. Lock the doors.”
DTs: “Why’re you looking at me like that?”
Driver: “I’m looking for a laser dot. You don’t have one.” Laughter.
DTs: “Neither do you. Yet. God, I hope the bad guy could afford laser sights. Just our luck this is some poor, moneyless bastard.”
Driver: “Yeah, just a cheap-ass gun and lots of bullets.”
DTs: “Let’s keep looking anyway.”
FWOOM. The rig rocks as something blue streaks past, leaving a vacuum behind it.
Driver: “What the f* was that? Was that them?”
DTs: “What, did you see a big “S” and a cape anywhere?”
FWOOM. FWOOM. Two more. PD begins showing up, streaking past us like meteors. Must have been six or seven of them. We cheer them on, feeling like ground troops waving in air support.
What brought this call to mind, though, were the youths who ran into the station last shift. Teenagers, out pretty late at night. “Just going to the convenience store,” they said, when “guys with baseball bats” jumped into an SUV and started chasing them. We shut the bay doors and called 911 for PD assistance as the “bad guys” car took off.
Talking to the Misunderstood Youth, looking at the clock. Where were PD? A whole two minutes had passed and they still weren’t anywhere in sight!
Turns out, there were DOZENS of squad cars, ringed around the station. Man, we were SECURE.
Thanks again, guys.
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