Friday, August 21, 2020

Urban Legend of the Week

 Call #77 or 112 instead of 911



Call 911 in an emergency. A story has gone around the internet, sometimes changing a few details. Ironically, the story usually starts with, "this isn't one of those Internet things that isn't true", or "this has been confirmed by the Somewheresville Police".

The story involves a lady named Lisa or Lauren who is driving at night in a secluded place with a weak signal. An unmarked car behind her puts on lights to pull her over. Instead of pulling over she calls an emergency number other than 911, for some reason. In some versions, the number is #77, and sometimes it's 112. The alternative number goes through, despite the weak signal, because it is more powerful than 911, even though that's not how cell phone signals work. The dispatcher verifies that the car is not a real cop. Real cops surround the fake cop, arrest him, and find out he's a rapist, and the young lady was saved by calling the alternative emergency number.

Despite the story's denial, it is in fact one of those Internet things that isn't true. #77 is not an emergency number. For some states, #77 connects to the highway patrol, but it isn't a universal emergency dispatch number. 117 is an emergency number in some places outside the  US, if you call it in some states, it will connect to 911. It is not universal to all states, and neither number is  more effective than 911. 

911 is designed to be a number anyone can remember and use anywhere. There are no secret superior emergency numbers, unless you're a Stonecutter like Leny and Carl from the Simpsons. It's always better to call 911, than listen to the story your concerned Aunt Helen posted to Facebook.

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