Like any other emergency numbers around the world, 9-1-1 is an emergency telephone number for the North American Numbering Plan(NANP), this number is intended for use in the emergency circumstances only, and using it for any other purpose (such as making fake or prank calls) is a crime in most jurisdictions.

911 Dispatchers  woks at a desk station with a variety of screen used to take 911 emergency calls
A dispatcher works at a desk station with a variety of screens used by those who take 911 emergency calls. (Lisa Marie Pane/AP Photo)

Answering calls all day might seem like a boring job but when you are working as a 911 dispatcher, every single call can result in life or death. The list below features some stories from real life 911 dispatchers that are just too much to handle on a debatable level that many of us could hardly comprehend.


I’ve never bolted from that room so fast in my life

From Redditor /u/PDvaughn147: “I’m a dispatcher for an agency in the Midwest. In my first six months of dispatching, I had taken every kind of call from car wrecks to stabbings and shootings to childbirth.

The call that sticks out in my mind though is one from a guy named Brady. I answer with the standard ‘911, where is your emergency?’ He just kept repeating, ‘I don’t know what to do. Oh, God, I don’t know what to do!’

At this point, I know this is going to be unpleasant. I get him calmed down, and he tells me that he just came home from work and found his house ransacked. While checking out the house, he found his girlfriend in the bedroom, naked and tied to the bed – she had been raped.

My partner sends the calvary as I give Brady some instructions. The sh*tty thing was that because he lived way out in the county, he only had cell service outside his house. He had to leave his girlfriend alone inside to get help. I stayed on the phone until help got there, which luckily was only about 10 minutes.

I’m not sure why, but that call stuck with me. It came in right at the end of my shift, and I’ve never bolted from that room so fast in my life.”


Man with Terminal Cancer shoots himself and wife who has Alzheimer

From user u/vicdamone911: “An elderly male finds out that he has terminal cancer. He already cares for his wife who has Alzheimer. He shoots his wife and then shoots himself. When relatives find them 3 days later, he successfully committed suicide but his wife wandered around the house for 3 days leaving blood all over the house until she finally expired.”

Lost in the Forest

From user u/Gangrapechickens: “I got a call from a young man, [who] identified himself as 21. [He said] he went on a hike with his best friend, this is where it got weird. I asked for his location and it was ~50 miles from the nearest trailhead, but not in the direction the trails move.

I asked him to tell me what the problem was and what services he needed when he burst into tears, saying one moment his friend was in front of him, and the next he was gone. Dispatched Sheriff and was told neither man was ever found. Still freaks me out.”


He Died With The Phone in His Hand

From user, u/vicdamone911: “The man calls and I could hardly understand him. He says his address and when I ask what is the problem he says, “Cut.Leg.Off.Chainsaw.” He moans and then that is all I hear. He bled out before anyone got there. He was cutting branches in the tree and then fell out of the tree. As he was falling with his chainsaw he cut off his leg. He tied his belt around the stump and crawled to his phone on the porch and called. He died with the phone in his hand.”

Troubled call From Deranged Husband

From user, u/vicdamone911: “A man locks his 2 toddlers in the bathroom, shoots his pregnant wife, [then] calls 911 and says, “Call my father and send police. I killed my wife and I’m going to kill myself.” He hangs up and kills himself. Police get there and hear the toddlers crying in the bathroom and they kick in the door.”


He said he was going to throw the mom out of the window.

From user u/Mizcreant908: 1979 NYC. I got a call from a crying child – a little boy – saying his mom and dad were fighting and his dad said he was going to throw the mom out of the window. I could hear a terrible fight going on in the background – woman screaming, things breaking, a man yelling, etc. The poor kid didn’t know his address. We didn’t have the technology for call ID and would have to use reverse telephone books. A trace would take forever.

Anyway, while I’m trying to get the address I [heard] a horrific scream and glass breaking. A few seconds later the other operators in the room are getting calls about a woman lying in the courtyard who came out of a window. Very sad. Worst of all is that I am sure someone else in this apartment building must have heard this fight but no one called for help until it was too late. Poor kid. Working 911 in NYC during the 70s/80s was a nightmare.”


I cried like a Baby when it was over

“I answered a call at 3 am from a 7-year-old girl who found her mom unconscious on the couch and not breathing. The child knew her address, and it was in the middle of nowhere – 25-minute response at best.

I had to talk the kid through getting her mom off the couch one arm and one leg at a time because she was too small to just pull her to the floor. Then, we started CPR instructions. The kid did great. There were no neighbors, and she did not know a phone number for her dad (divorced).

We ended up getting her mom breathing again just as the ambulance pulled up. I cried like a baby when that was over; I was so relieved for that child.”


Shot Himself and Wife with Alzheimer

From user u/vicdamone911: “I retired a couple of years ago but bad calls are rare but you can never forget them once an elderly male finds out that he has terminal cancer. He already cares for his wife who has Alzheimer’s. He shoots his wife and then shoots himself. When relatives find them 3 days later, he successfully committed suicide but his wife wandered around the house for 3 days leaving blood all over the house until she finally expired.”


I was the last person to talk to him

From user u/hollywoodhuskey: “Being a dispatcher, you are the last person to talk to people all the time, but usually it’s a suicidal person, or an older person, not an innocent man trying to make a living for his family after only working there three months I took a call from a trucker who had wrecked on the interstate and was flipped on his side. he was pinned by the steering column and the lower part of his body was crushed.

Usually, when a wreck happens on the interstate we get bombarded with calls from everyone passing the vehicle. I happened to receive that call from the man himself, he was awake and told me who he was, who he worked for, and that he must have dozed off for a second. he told me that he was pinned in and that the bottom part of his body was numb. he holds me where he was from and about his family (at this point I was making small talk to keep him calm) he started talking about god and asked me to pray with him, he leads the prayer, asking for help and for gods will to be done. I kept him on the line while responders traveled to the scene. as a little time went by, he started to slur his speech and he wasn’t comprehending my questions anymore, my guess is that he was slowly bleeding out and his level of consciousness was lowering. eventually, he stopped answering my questions at all, he had passed out. very shortly after, responders arrived and extradited him out of the vehicle.. as soon as the pressure from the steering column was released he bled out. dying almost instantly. medics told me that if a team of the best doctors in the world was 20 ft away, they would not have been able to save him. I was pretty much the last person to talk to this man alive, and in my eyes, I made friends with him.


Wife Killed Husband on His Birthday

From user u/lurlur: “My colleague answered a call from a woman who had run over her husband in a speed boat and chopped off his legs. Their children were with her in the boat. It was the husband’s 40th birthday and he wanted to go water skiing, she hadn’t wanted to because she wasn’t comfortable driving the boat.” He died.


An Upsetting call during Hurrican Katrina

From a former User: “I was a 911 Operator in Mobile, AL the day Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. We started getting lots of calls from New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast for some reason. I guess they started routing to us after all the 911 centers to the west of us started going down. Anyways, I got a call from a woman who said she was trapped in her house on Gordon Street between Florida and Law. I was confused at first because we have a Florida Street in Mobile, and after checking and double-checking and not being able to find her address I asked her what city she was calling from and she said “I’m in New Orleans”.

I tried to route her to New Orleans 911 and New Orleans Fire Department but could not get through. She started screaming and said the water was coming up into the attic where she was. I told her to find something heavy and break the attic vent out so she could get out on to her roof, but the vent was too small for her to crawl through. She sat down and started crying. I told her I would stay on the line with her for as long as she wanted me to. I stayed on the line and listened as she cried, prayed, cussed, and prayed some more. A little while later I could hear her struggling to keep her head and phone above water, then the phone went dead. To this day I don’t know if she lived or died. I quit 911 three months after Katrina.”


He was on the roof with a knife in his hand

From user u/Shumani: “I worked as a police dispatcher/911 call taker for a while. There are many different types of disturbing calls such as calls from mentally disturbed people and calls that leave you shaking afterward.

My most terrifying call was from a guy who was on the verge of committing suicide. I actually don’t mind suicide calls because the calls are usually made by friends, family, or after the fact, so you can usually get information and send out the call. However, in this case, the actual guy called. He was extremely high or drunk, sobbing UNCONTROLLABLY (heavy emphasis), and was using an old deactivated cell phone, so I could only find the general area of where he was calling from; he had a knife to his throat and was on the roof of a high-rise.


I could not get through to him because he was out of his mind and refused to tell me where he was while crying the whole time. I was on the phone with him for 10 minutes trying to figure out where he was and using everything I had in my arsenal to get him to not go through with it. During all this time, I was only able to get his name. He then hung up, but 10 minutes later called back and I got him again.

For the next 20 minutes, it was the same unresponsive threats to kill himself, but I pinged his cell and saw that he was near some apartment complexes, so I said, ‘F*ck it,’ and sent cruisers to every apartment complex in the area and told them to find a crying guy with a knife. I was on the phone with this guy for about 20 more minutes while the cops searched the area and finally found him hiding under a staircase in an apartment complex with a knife.

I found out later they shipped him to a hospital and that he was f*cked up on something. I was shaking afterward, and my next call was from a tow guy, but I could barely type.”


Husband has a shotgun

From user u/XxMagicChickxX: “The one call I’ll always remember was about a couple in their early 50’s who were known as regular callers due to their physical fighting and suicidal thoughts during their drinking nights.

One night, the wife calls in with slurred speech, telling the operator that her husband is in the corner of the kitchen in a chair with a shotgun. In the background, you can hear the man verbally harassing the woman on the phone, telling her that she’s a b*tch, c*nt, and she ruined his life. The wife just keeps telling him to shut up and tells the operator that he pushed her into a wall earlier which left a hole in the drywall. She wants him to spend a night in jail to sleep it off because now he’s carrying the shotgun around, and she’s worried he’ll ‘f*ck things up in the neighborhood.’ There is a sound of struggle and then she hangs up.


She calls back a few minutes later. The man is yelling so loudly that the woman is hard to understand. He still has the shotgun and says he’s done with this life. She says he went down to the basement. She gives the operator her information and repeats, ‘He just needs to sleep this off.’ Ten minutes go by, and the woman is still on the phone with the operator talking about her husband’s drinking habits, threats of suicide all the time, and her bruises throughout the years from him.

The operator tells the woman to check on the husband. She agrees, but with an attitude that shows she could be rolling her eyes, like it’s the same crap every other night.

A shot is heard. The woman makes a strange “Oh?” noise, and she walks down the steps. Incoherent words. The woman then starts yelling, ‘Why! Why! Why! Why!’ and the phone drops to the ground. The operator asks what has happened. No answer. All you can hear is the woman yelling at someone. She then picks up the phone and tells the operator that he shot himself in the head, and blood is everywhere. The operator tells her to calm down and to let the officers in.

The husband shot himself in the temple, shattering his entire skull.”


First Solo 911 Call

From user u/psychedelicGoat42: A friend of mine who used to dispatch has the worst story, I’ve ever heard of. It was one of her first solo 911 calls, and the caller is requesting medical help with slurred speech. My friend was under the impression it was an elderly gentleman experiencing a stroke. When units arrived on the scene, however, they discovered that the caller was a 17 y/o who had been shot in the face by his mother. He bled out and died while my friend was on the phone with him.


Husband shot himself in the head

From user Redditor: “A lady calls in hysterics. I spend a solid two minutes on the phone trying to get her to calm down enough that I can understand her, and the whole time I hear someone screaming in a language I can’t recognize in the room with her. It sounds like some fanatic speaking in tongues. I finally get her calmed down enough to understand what she’s saying.

“My husband shot himself in the head! You’ve got to help him! He’s talking to me but I don’t understand what he’s saying! Pleasepleaseplease you’ve got to come help him!!”

Husband and wife were arguing, husband was drink. He gets his .45 and shoots himself in the head. The incoherent yelling I was hearing was his broken brain trying to… Scream? Cry? Ask for help?

[He] was still alive when they got to the hospital but was taken off life support the next morning.”


Mom heard everything

From user u/TheSpiritTracks:”My mom is a dispatcher for Phoenix. She had a call where a guy was calling in advance because he was going to kill himself. Well, he did, but he didn’t hang up, and legally you’re not allowed to hang up unless there’s some very specific circumstances, so she had to sit there and listen to him die.”

The most unsettling things I’ve ever had to listen to

From user /u/VVangChung: “I was a 911 dispatcher and a volunteer firefighter in the town that I dispatched for. To set the story up, the way 911 works in the state I lived in at the time was your call will first go to a 911 call center, where an operator pulled up all the electronic information, GPS location if cell phone and then determines the location, usually by asking the caller, before forwarding the call to the proper fire department dispatcher (me) in the area of the call who will get the location (again) and the emergency information and dispatch the fire department and/or the ambulance. The 911 operator will stay on the line while the caller talks to the dispatcher, but they usually don’t say anything and let us talk to the caller. If we need additional location info, they sometimes chime in with additional info.


So, I’ll first say that I wasn’t dispatching the night of this particular call, I was actually one of the first on scene with the fire engine for the call because I was with the volunteer FD that night. Two cars full of girls that had just come from a soccer team pasta dinner decided to go ghost hunting in our town late one night because we had an old abandoned mental hospital in our area. We also have very windy, unlit back roads. The girls were going way too fast and one of the cars didn’t negotiate a sharp corner very well. The vehicle rolled and two girls were ejected from the vehicle before the car rolled on top of them. Those two girls did not make it.

The eerie part about the call was the next dispatch shift I worked, I talked to the dispatcher who was on that night and we reviewed the tapes of the call. Even though I was on scene for that call, listening to the recording of the call was terrifying. I heard our dispatcher answer the call but all that could be heard on the other end was screaming. Screams of horror from teenage girls as they try to help their friends. Sheer terror. I’ve never heard screaming like that before. That’s when the 911 operator spoke up over the screams to the dispatcher “Hey, I have no idea what is going on. I wasn’t able to get any info from anybody. The call comes up on GPS in the area of 123 [Street]. That’s all I have.” Luckily the dispatcher was smart and realized that there was a true emergency and not only dispatched my department, but the next closest department as well for extra personnel.

Listening to that playback was one of the most unsettling things I’ve ever had to listen to.”


The sound of a mother who has just been informed that she lost her child is the hardest thing to hear

Got a call for a Traffic Accident on the 5 Freeway in California. [When] we got there and there was a mutilated body laying in the road. As I approached the body I realized it was a child. I kept looking at him [and] I knew there was nothing we could do.

His skull was concaved and his chest was crushed from being run over by a semi-truck. apparently he was driving in a car with his uncle which broke down on the freeway, and when he tried to get out in the middle lane on the freeway and was ran over by a semi-truck. I initiated CPR anyway because of how young he was. The fire department showed up and I heard one of the firemen say, “If we leave him here, CHP will be pissed because they’ll have to shut down the whole freeway, we better take him in”.


Even though I knew there wasn’t anything I could do, I still worked him up the entire way to the hospital. Every time I did a chest compression blood and brain matter would come gushing out of his ear. It was hard to get a seal around his mouth because his jaw was halfway ripped off of his face and he had a single tooth that was half hanging out of his mouth that was only held on by his braces. When we arrived at the hospital, the Firefighter stopped pushing meds and stopped trying to shock him. He casually got out of the ambulance and told the nurse, “The kid was done”.

He told me I didn’t have to keep doing chest compressions, but I didn’t listen. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t stop. Even though I knew there was absolutely no way he was coming back. We pushed him inside and the doctors and nurses gave a brief effort of trying to bring him back. I remember standing there in the hallway watching them work the kid up while my pager was blowing up from dispatch asking what our ETA was to go back into the field. Finally, I heard the doctor ask for the time of death. As I was cleaning this poor child’s blood and brain matter off the floor of the ambulance I saw the boy’s parents show up at the back door. The mother had a slight look of concern on her face, but I could tell that she didn’t know the severity of what had happened to her son. I walked back inside to throw away the blood-stained sheets when I heard the doctor break the news to the mother. There is no sound in this world that is harder to hear than the sound of a mother who has just been informed that she lost her child.


The mother lashed out at the Father and screamed that it was his fault, the mother had to be restrained by hospital staff and sedated. I spoke with the Father who seemed to be in a state of shock and disbelief. Apparently, he and the boy’s mother had been divorced for years and he said that he hadn’t seen the boy for months because he failed to pay child support. He said that he couldn’t remember the last time he told his son that he loved him and he said he would do anything to have a chance to tell him how proud he was of him.”

Now that you’ve read about 911 Dispatchers creepiest calls read about Funeral workers describing the strangest and mysterious cases they’ve ever worked on.


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