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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Pizza and 911 – Another Fake Public Service Announcement

     I see the misinformed folks on Facebook are posting if you need to call 911 but are scared to because someone is in the room, you can call 911 and ask for a pepperoni pizza and the police will come running. "Share this to save a life!!!" the meme urges. 
     As usual, it’s false. Nor is there a secret code in which different toppings have a meaning that alerts 911 operators of the exact situation the caller is in.
     The meme originated with a Reddit thread from three years ago. In 2015, during the Super Bowl broadcast an organization aimed at ending domestic violence and sexual assault named No More aired a public service announcement showing an example of woman in a dangerous situation at her home who calls 911 and orders a pizza to get help. “When it’s hard to talk, it’s up to us to listen,” the tagline at the end of the commercial reads. 
     First off, 911 operators would probably advise the caller that they have reached 911 emergency, not a pizza place and if the caller continues operators would consider it a prank call. They may eventually figure it out though because operators are trained to recognize voice inflection and odd conversations that would indicate a dangerous situation. 
     A better solution is text to 911 if possible and give your exact location and the nature of your emergency. If that is not possible make the call and set down the phone if they can’t speak safely to dispatchers. Dispatchers are trained to see with their ears. Everything that happens on the open line will allow the operator to keep the officers that are enroute updated on the situation.

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