KUDOS 311! coooo-doh!S

So here I am taking a nap. A nice summer day slumber, when I’m awoken by this god-awful STENCH. BLEH! …ever smelt someone tarring their roof, that stench of burning vasoline. That’s what I thought it must be, but I didn’t see any work being done, and didn’t pay much attention, apart from intermittent gagging.

I get up, went to the corner deli to get a sammich …and on the way back I still couldn’t escape the smell.

While eating said sammich, I noticed my throat was burning a bit and I still couldn’t rid the smell. “Well, this is a bit off” I thought. Perhaps I should be a good citizen and call this in. Just to be on the safe side After all this is NYC, is it a re-tarred roof or is it sarin gas??

So I call **311 ** and explain the situation. “Something smells funny”
“Oh this is an EPA issue”
so they transfer, again I explain the situation, “something smells funny, just wanted to make you aware”

They promptly redirect me to **911 ** :eek: I wanted to hang up then and there, but didn’t cuz it’s never a good idea to hang-up on 911. Now, here I am furiously trying to explain that this NOT AN EMERGENCY …I didn’t call 911 I just wanted to report a funny odor!

Funny odor you say, that’s a fire department issue! Now I’m on the phone with the fire department …now I’m freakin’ out! I’m fevorishly explaining to them that I was only trying to call 311 about an odor.
“Where’s the smoke coming from sir?”
“SMOKE? There’s no smoke, I don’t see any smoke I don’t see any fire. I just wanted to let you know there’s a weird smell in the air.”

Now I hear fire sirens …“better check that out”
sure enough, THREE count them 1, 2, THREE! fire engines and a battery of firement about ready to axe down our front door!

At this stage I’M FRANTIC! Trying to explain that all I tried to do was call 311 about a funny smell!

They were very understanding, and there did seem to be a group :rolleyes: when the lead fireman announced, “he called 311

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AT WORK FOLKS!

No let’s put this in perspective! That little incident occured over the span of about 10 minutes.

Now, four years while I was living in a 10 story midrise on Sheridan in Chicago. I was at my friends apartment down the hall when we started hearing the sound of glass breaking. The windows of the adjasent building where broken. I run over to my apartment and notice bricks being tossed off the roof, so I called 911, “Hey some tosser is chuckin’ bricks off the top of the building”.

Now they were tuckpointing the building at the time, hence the stack of bricks on the roof, and hence the scaffolding on the street in front of the building in. I went down to the lobby and there was a group of people huddled underneath the scaffold, many of whom had already called 911 themselves. While we’re waiting, and as bricks keep dropping, shattering on the street, denting cars and damaging windows and windshields. Two marked police cruisers casually coast by. We tried to flag them down, but with the scaffolding in the way we had no luck. At this stage I call 911 AGAIN.

I explained that I had called 20 minutes earlier and that someone was throwing bricks of the roof of my building and the police still hadn’t arrived and that we were getting frustrated after seeing two cruisers pass by.

And I get this gem of a response from the 911 operator, “SIR! You just need to CALM DOWN!” CALM DOWN??? I’m calm, I’m not in a panic, I’m not frantic! So I told her, calmly, “I just don’t think you understand the SEVERITY of the situation!” Sheridan Rd is fairly busy with pedistrian traffic during the day, if a brick were to hit someone, IT WOULD KILL THEM. Someone is tossing LETHAL projectiles off the roof, and she tells ME to CALM DOWN.

The police FINALLY arrived 45 minutes after I first noticed what was going on! Turns out a couple kids climbed onto the roof and thought it would be a good laugh to toss the bricks. HAHAHAHAH! BIG LAUGH HAR HAR HAR!
The families involved where subsequently evicted and thankfully no one was hurt, though the property damage wasn’t insignificant.

45 MINUTES! :rolleyes: I guess the lesson is, if you’re in an emergency just say “Somebody farted!”

I would reply to this thread…but…oh…hold on a second…I’ve got to transfer you to the Smartass Department.

Please hold.

And you’re calling ME a smartass why?

And are you the team lead there at the Smartass Call Center?

I’m sorry if my OP doesn’t adequately express it, but I truly think I have a legitimate complaint here. There was a noxious odor in the air that I felt was worthy of reporting. I didn’t think it was an emergency, hence I called the NON-EMERGENCY number. The dispatchers did not listen to what I was saying and overreacted. They sent the friggin’ fire brigade to an address where the caller (ME) explicitly told them, there’s no fire, there’s no smoke, there’s just a noticeably off odor in the air.

That’s a waste of time and resource to send three fire engines to a place where they were told there was NO fire! I was pissed and dumbfounded by the whole situation. I don’t fault the fire department and they deserve props for the response time, however I do fault the operators at both 311 and 911 for failing to properly handle my call.

I admit it’s unfair to compare the NYFD, the Chicago police department and their relative dispatchers, however, the point of the second story was that when I had an ACTUAL emergency, I was blown off and told I was overreacting. Would you still be calling me a smartass had someone been killed because they were struck by a brick when the police could been there earlier to put an end to the situation?

Perhaps my joke at the end was a bit smarmy, but I really don’t see how I’m the smartass when it comes to 311 & 911 bungling both situations.

This is a pretty general question. Maybe you could get a mod to [del]transfer[/del] move the thread there. :slight_smile:

Nonononononononono…I was being the semi-smartass.

I’m sympathetic to your aims. I was merely putting you on hold like the professionals did to you.

311 is a joke.

[sub]I’m deputy smart-ass.[/sub]

Sorry LOUNE, that’s the Ministry of Whooshes. I’ll connect you to them, just stay on the line…

No worries** Least**, sorry I went a bit on the defensive. I seem to have misunderestimastood your post.