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A 911 dispatcher has revealed the unusual tactic people often use to signal they’re in danger without giving the game away that they’re on the phone to emergency services.
One person asked about the advice to pretend you’re ordering a pizza if you’re worried about letting on that you’re calling the police, following countless news stories of the method being used successfully by people in dangerous situations.
Just last month, North Yorkshire Police confirmed they received a 999 call from a woman pretending to be speaking to a takeaway pizza company, leading a quick-thinking call handler to ask her if she was in trouble.
After the woman responded 'yes', the handler was able to ascertain further details about the situation by asking questions the caller could answer with either 'yes' or 'no.' The police force said that from her answers, as well as by texting with the woman, they were able to establish that she was at risk of being harmed by a man she was travelling on a bus with.
But is this something we can all do if we ever find ourselves in a similar situation?
Trying to get to the bottom of things, one Reddit user asked in the AMA: “Does the 'call to order a pizza if you're being abused' thing ever really happen or is that just an online legend?”
The 911 dispatcher said it was an ‘interesting question we talk about a lot’, going on to explain: “So the answer is sort of a yes and no. Ultimately, it comes down to if the call taker recognizes it so that's where it can be dangerous. On the flip side, I feel like usually we can pick up on that type of thing. I'd still recommend to get to a safe place where you can be totally forthcoming with information if it's possible and safe to do so.”
Another person asked if there was a piece of information ‘someone who calls 911 might not think to have handy, but would be a huge help to you or the first responders if they could give it to you’.
The dispatcher replied: “ADDRESS OR LOCATION. You would be shocked to know how many people don't know their address/location/directional. This is without a doubt the MOST IMPORTANT piece of information of all. People think we can just track a phone regardless and that is NOT TRUE. There are instances where we may have a decent idea where someone is based off location, but it's way more important to have it known.
“Address may be obvious to most people but it is an issue a lot. Other than address, descriptions of suspects, license plates, and good direction of travel can help a lot.”
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