What does this mean for a caller? For those suffering from emergencies such as a heart attack, officials say the system will save precious seconds and get an ambulance there more quickly. Those who call with what the system classifies as less urgent matters, such as the common cold or flu symptoms, will have to wait longer. (emphasis mine).
People are calling 911 with "cold or flu symptoms"? I mean, I know a flu can get pretty bad, but a cold? What are people doing?
DISPATCH: Hello, 911, what is your emergency?
CALLER: Yes, [sniff] I have a really stuffy nose, and I feel really run down.
DISPATCH: Is someone attacking you?
CALLER: No, I'm just really feeling stopped up and my eyes are so watery.
DISPATCH: Are you in immediate danger?
CALLER: I really need some tissue. I'm all out of the lotion-kind, and all I have left is the really scratchy kind.
DISPATCH: We're on it. Kleenex will be there forthwith.
I can't imagine calling 911 unless (1) my house was uncontrollably on fire; (2) someone was having a heart attack or some other sort of instant, life-threatening issue; or (3) if there was some other sort of imminent danger.
When I have "cold or flu symptoms" I do what every other red-blooded American guy does - I complain to my wife about it and act like I'm five years old.