911 Operators Share the Disturbing Calls That Still Scare Them

I think working as a 911 operator would be downright frightening.

And I don’t think I have the emotional makeup to work that difficult job.

That’s why we should tip our hats to these folks!

What’s the most disturbing call you ever received?

911 operators on AskReddit shared their stories.

1. Frantic.

“A call from a male who stated he’d found his girlfriend’s son unresponsive. Very frantic caller. He and the mother passed the phone back and forth multiple times while I tried to give various rescue instructions.

That part wasn’t all that abnormal, but they later took the male into custody and I found out the initial caller had strangled the kid and then freaked out and called.

Still makes me mad and it’s been years.”

2. Good lord.

“An elderly man had a complete psychotic break and k**led his wife with a hammer. Afterward he calmly called 911 and confessed.

The dispatcher attempted to give rescue instructions, up until he realized the damage was extensive enough that her head was mostly gone.

Several of the first officers on scene were violently ill because of how bloody the house was.”

3. Screams.

“Apartment fire, woman burned alive on her balcony because she was too afraid to jump. The screams over the radio of the fire crews trying to rescue her.

20 mins later we get a call for a young man that walked in front of a dump truck on a highway to take his own life.

While crews were responding to that, a 10 year old girl who hung herself was found by her mother.

I was still quite new the day all this happened but I will never forget what I heard that day.”

4. Brutal.

“Man wrecked an 18 wheeler and was pinned between the seat and dash.

He called me, I sent the trucks out, he knew he was gonna d**… he asked me to pray with him.. I’m not religious, but I prayed with him.

He got more and more quiet, I tried to keep him alert and talking,passed out before crews got there, I heard the medics arrive on the phone.

D**d on arrival. I can’t remember the man’s name, but I know he really loved his kids.”

5. Nothing you could do.

“I think the worst we had was a s**cidal girl calling in and saying she was going to jump off a parking garage, not wanting to talk no answering questions just says that and hangs up.

Sure enough she took her shoes off and left her phone and took a dive off the top floor. It was very sad.”

6. Unresponsive.

“Every call where someone is reporting an unresponsive relative. Some will let you walk them through the CPR process if they don’t know it, some won’t.

Every one of them you hear the caller at some point pleading with the patient to not leave them. Most times they do though.

Parents, spouses, children, I’ve had them all call. Never gets easier.”

7. Won’t forget it.

“My first medical call was a woman who found her young grandson had hung himself. I don’t remember a lot of details, but I remember her cries still.

I remember the quiet somber “I’m sorry” that someone told me right before he put the phone down and s**t himself after trying for an hour to convince him to give himself up and step outside to talk to waiting police.

I still remember a scream as a woman who called in to say she was throwing herself from her third story window was yanked out of the window by a police officer that snuck in while I distracted her.

I remember the quiet “off” insistence of a man as he kept getting my CPR instructions wrong while I tried to help him with his step-son who wasn’t breathing. He was charged with homicide later, and used the CPR as a cover for the child’s injuries.

I loved my job, but in some ways I’m glad I left it. Almost ten years later some things still stick around.”

8. Very scary.

“This was 10+ years ago, but one night I had a call from a woman who jumped out of a moving vehicle to escape a s** a**ault (suspect was an ex-boyfriend who had done it in the past).

Luckily she was still able to run, but she was definitely injured and had no idea where she was – and this was when a cell phone’s “location” was just the closest cell tower.

She was (understandably) hysterical and I spent the first few minutes trying to get her calm and quiet enough to avoid detection. She found one of those big green electrical boxes to hide behind for a few minutes while the suspect drove back and forth looking for her.

Once she couldn’t see the headlights anymore, she was able to coherently speak to me and we determined she was in an office park. There were building numbers, but she wasn’t near a street sign, so that wasn’t very helpful. I told her to check the nearest mailbox and to read me the address on any mail that she could find.

It took her a minute or two of running behind buildings to locate a mailbox, but when she did we were able to pinpoint her location. Half of the deputies in my county responded, and the happy ending to the story is that the suspect was still in the office park and when he tried to flee on foot, “Chewy” caught up to him and made the arrest. Oh, Chewy was a 120-pound German Shepherd who served a long and distinguished career at my agency.

This wasn’t a call that necessarily keeps me up and night, but it was the scariest “in the moment” call I ever took.”

9. Still upset.

“I get a call one night of a woman crying.

Not abnormal, people don’t tend to call 911 on good days. She’s crying but trying to hold it together. Her son fell in the bathroom and isn’t responding to her. She can crack open the door a little bit but can’t open it because he has fallen against the door and the bathroom is small. She can see in, a little bit.

Her grown up son is living with her. He went into the bathroom to do some drugs. I don’t know what kind but it was the kind you inject with a needle. We know this because she can see the needle hanging from his arm. I asked if this had ever happened before, she said yes. She gave me his age (mid 20’s) and her address and some other things I needed.

While I’m talking to her, I can hear in every word this woman speaks the tremendous love and fear of a mother for her child. Her son is DYING, or is d**d, and she knows it but she can’t do anything but stay as calm as possible to answer my questions. She was holding on, but I could hear it in her voice. He was in his 20’s but it was her BABY dying on that floor and she couldn’t do a thing about it.

That was about eight years ago. I still feel upset when I think about that call even now.

Rescue got there and he did live, but that doesn’t change how I remember feeling. That poor mother.”

10. Sad.

“Not my call, one from a training session we had going.

An elderly gentleman had called 999 as he was feeling faint, tight chest and struggling to breathe. He wasn’t in the house on his own, his son was downstairs but he wanted to call in private due to his son being a worrier.

He collapsed mid call, the operator frantically dispatched somebody to go round and help, however, in the process of this, the sounds that man was making were horrific. Almost like a squeal, then turning into a grunting, high pitched groan. I genuinely can’t explain it.

He sadly passed away by the time the crew had arrived down to a massive heart attack. His son didn’t even know what was happening until the police and paramedics turned up. Safe to say the son was devastated and hearing him scream was just as bad.

His son sadly k**led himself a month later.”

11. Heartbreaking.

“My dad’s long time gf was an 911 operator. She was an absolute angel on earth, but she had the most heartbreaking stories.

Worst I can think of was an older woman who called 911 because her husband had locked himself in their bedroom and refused to come out, despite her begging and pleading.

The lady exclaimed “he’s in there and he has a g**, please hurry!” While the operator was trying to keep her calm and talk her down, she heard the unmistakable pop of a gun.

I can’t imagine the wailing on the other end of the phone after that poor lady had to listen to her husband committing s**cide through the door.”

12. Disgusting.

“I was a 911 operator.

When I asked for the address, I got an angry man yelling, “Just get the f**kin’ ambulance here!”

When I asked what happened, the caller said “You don’t need to f**kin’ know that!”

“I just need to know what happened so I know who to send and what equipment to bring, sir.”

“Just send a godd**n ambulance, my kid’s having a seizure! Don’t send any f**kin’ police.”

“Don’t send police” coming from a caller is basically them telling on themselves. Please send police, because the patient or the EMS crew or both could be in danger.

So I passed a note to my partner, who was dispatching: “Send PD. Extremely uncooperative caller.”

I tried my best to get through the rest of the questions (how old is the kid, are they conscious, are they breathing, has the seizing stopped, etc.). I got nothing but verbal a**se.

All I knew is that a pediatric patient had a seizure when the call started, there was yelling in the background, and there was some terrible yelling in the foreground.



And that was it. Police had the caller.

The patient ended up being a toddler, who had been beaten to within an inch of their life by that a**hole. That was terrifying and sad and I hugged my own kid a little tighter that night.

What’s the most disturbing call you’ve ever received?

Let us know in the comments.

Thanks a lot!