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For when you're not sure whether it's an emergency
  (+9, -1)(+9, -1)
(+9, -1)
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Sometimes you hear or smell something unusual but you'd hate to bother the 911 emergency-response people if it's actually nothing. As a result, you decide not to do anything.

Sadly, some of these questionable incidents do turn out to be dangerous. For example, that argument you hear next door could be domestic violence, or that smoke you smell might be something other than the person next to you burning food.

What's needed is a service that listens to your description, and groups it with other people's descriptions from the same location in order to decide whether it's an emergency; if they think it is, then they route it to 911-emergency for you. They make the decision for you based on established rules.

For example, if the ?11 people get complaints from multiple people in different apartments in the same building about smoke, then they call the fire department. But if it's just one person they won't. Again, if you really want the FD to come, call 911 yourself. If you're not sure, call ?11.

In the case of the domestic argument, the ?11 service can decide if this is the first time or if lots of people have reported this in the same location. They can count the number of reports of concern and send someone only after it reaches a certain threshhold. You feel no guilt for calling and reporting it. Whereas with 911, they have to respond immediately even if the caller is wrong, and you may feel guilty reporting it if it was a mistake.

Thank you.

phundug, May 24 2011


       Where's the '?' button on my phone?
Alterother, May 24 2011

       Where's the [?] button on the 'bakery?
pocmloc, May 24 2011

       In a recent murder prosecution in the UK, a neighbour of the victim was examined as a witness as to the domestic habits of the alleged perpetrator and victim.   

       Lawyer: "Would you say that the accused and the victim had a difficult relationship ?"   

       Witness: "Yes".   

       Lawyer: "And were you aware that the relationship involved physical violence, to the extent that the police were called on a number of occasions ?"   

       Witness: "Yes"   

       Lawyer: "And were you concerned that the violence might result in the serious injury or death of one of the protagonists ?"   

       Witness: "Yes"   

       Lawyer: "And did you ever raise your concerns with the relevant authorities ?"   

       Witness: "No"   

       Lawyer: "Why not ?"   

       Witness: "Well, it's gone quiet now, hasn't it ?"
8th of 7, May 24 2011

       They have this in Germany - it's called Nein One One.
normzone, May 24 2011

       <Administers L.J.Gibbs-style reprimand thump to back of [normzone]'s head>
8th of 7, May 24 2011

       This is baked in Australia, at least for the police. There are 3 levels of urgency - 000 emergency, 13 1444 police assistance (non urgent), and 1800 333 000 Crime Stoppers (for reporting crimes, no assistance needed). Calling the 13 1444 number has pretty much the effect you describe.
spidermother, May 25 2011

       From the title, I thought this was some malformed occam.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, May 25 2011

       Concerned Citizen: "I'd like to report an emergency, please"   

       ?11: "Please state the nature of your emergency, so I can properly direct your call."   

       CC: "Someone has abducted my children's snowman and shot through with it. It was a real killer snowman, too!"   

       ?11: "Based on the keywords "abducted"; "children"; "shot" and "killer" your emergency has been given a Code Red priority... 60 heavily armed police are on their way to your address right now. Click."   

       CC: "Wait... damn! They didn't even ask my address."
infidel, May 25 2011


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