The New 9-1-1

By: Frank Ferri

Thank you for calling 1-866-742-8794 extension 895 — the new 9-1-1™! Make sure your children commit it to memory — it’s an important one!

1-866-742-8794 extension 895 — the new 9-1-™ is made possible by the Altria Group (formerly Philip Morris Companies Inc.) and other corporate sponsors dedicated to keeping this emergency service free.

Please listen to the following menu in its entirety as it changes hourly.

For fire-related issues and emergencies, press 1.

For situations requiring police assistance, press 2.

For situations involving the ingestion of a potentially dangerous substance, press 3.

For all other questions, comments and concerns, press 4 for our automated additional help menu, featuring a voice-guided tour to help you maximize your 1-866-742-8794 extension 895 — the new 9-1-1™ experience.

To hear this menu again, press 5.

You pressed 1. If this is correct, press 1 or say “Yes” after the beep. If this is incorrect, press 2 to return to the previous menu or say “Previous menu.” I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that. Please wait for the beep and try again.

Okay, so you’re having a fire-related issue or emergency. If you just have a question about fire safety or would like your local fire company to make a presentation at your child’s school, press pound to return to the main menu, then press 4 for the additional help menu.

If this is a fire emergency, please remain calm and tell us how urgent you think the situation is by using your keypad. Enter your number based on a Likert scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being something equivalent to a small grease fire and 10 being along the lines of a full-fledged conflagration or a regretted act of self-immolation. When you enter the number, it must be two digits followed by the pound sign. For example, if your toaster caught fire and you have wooden countertops, you might press “05#”. If you have granite countertops, you might press “02#”.

Sorry, I didn’t recognize that command. Try again, and remember to press pound —

You entered 9. If this is correct, press 1 or —

Okay, 9 is a serious emergency and time is of the essence. Enter your five-digit ZIP code, then press pound.

We’ve done away with the need to enter your four-digit ZIP code extension. But if you know it and want to enter it, do so now, then press pound. Entering your four-digit ZIP code extension could expedite the response time. But 1-866-742-8794 extension 895 — the new 9-1-1™ makes no guarantees as to response times.

You entered 0-8-4-0-2. If —

Before we connect you to the Margate, New Jersey Fire Department, enter your address. Press pound after each part of your address. For spaces, use the star key. For example, for 510 Main Street, press 5-1-0-#-*. Then press the numbers that correspond to your street name, and press pound. In this case, Main Street would be 6-2-4-6-*-78-7-3-3-8-#.

You entered 1-1-4-8-*6-6-7-8-4*-4-8-6-7-8-4-6-4-8-6-6-*2-8-3-6-8-3-#, indicating your address is 1148 North Huntington Avenue. If this is corr–

Now tell us whether it’s a “business,” “apartment complex,” “single family home” or “multiple family home” after the beep.

I heard “single fam–

On which floor of your single family home is the fire? Use two digits followed by pound. For example, if the fire is on the second floor, press 0-2-#. If it is in the attic or basement, press the numbers that correspond to the letters, then press pound. To save you time, the number for attic is 2-2-8-4-2-#. For basement, press 2-2-7-3-6-3-6-8-#. If the fire is in a crawlspace, press those corresponding numbers. Due to the small number of calls for crawlspace fires we’ll skip telling you the number. If you would like to hear the number for crawlspace, press 1 or enter it on your own.

You said the fire is on the second fl–

You’re likely not a professional firefighter, but in your best estimation, tell us how fast the fire is spreading. Use a Likert scale, with 1 being “at a testudinate pace” and 10 being “with the utmost celerity.” We’ve received numerous requests for the definitions of these words, so we’re excited to announce the launch of our dictionary feature. To hear the definitions of these words press 1. The dictionary feature is made possible by the National Education Association. Use two digits followed by pound. So if your fire is spreading at the pace of, say, an overweight cat that doesn’t scare easily, you might enter 0-5-#.

You know your vocab! You said the fire on the second floor of the single family home at 1148 North Huntington Avenue is spreading fast. You’re being routed to your local fire department. After you speak to them, would you be interested in participating in a short survey? We value your feedback and your participation will help us improve our services and save more lives. To participate, stay on the line after speaking with your fire department, then press *-6-#.

If possible, we recommend exiting the site of the fire. If you choose to participate in the survey, please bring a cordless phone with you.

Thank you for calling 1-866-742-8794 extension 895 — the new 9-1-1™ brought to you in part by McDonald’s, where for a limited time you can get two Egg McMuffins for just $3.99.

Good luck with your fast-spreading fire at 1148 North Huntington Avenue in Margate, New Jersey.


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