We’ve all heard the story of tourists from Europe buying air tickets to Sydney Australia, not reading the fine print, and finding themselves in Halifax Airport about  to be transferred to a smaller plane to the Sydney in the Maritimes’ Cape Breton.

Similar things happen in the 911 emergency network.  On Christmas Day a person in distress reached out to 911 in Surrey B.C. through Facebook~unfortunately she had contacted Surrey in southeast Great Britain. As Global News reports there just happened to be a police officer from Toronto in the British Surrey Police department office, visiting one of the police telephone operators. This officer linked the distress call through the Vancouver  Police Department who coordinated with the RCMP detachment in Surrey, B.C.  While the British Surrey dispatcher kept the person on the line, the RCMP  in Surrey B.C. located the lady and got her to support services. In British Columbia calling  911 connects Metro Vancouver and 25 regional districts with emergency services. This call centre receives over 1.45 million calls annually.

But perhaps the most extraordinary 911 emergency answer came to a call made by mistake from the International Space Station.

When dialling out of the station, astronauts must use the international dialling code of  “011”. Astronaut Andre Kuipers by mistake dialled “911”.

“First you dial the 9 for an outside line, and then 011 for an international line,” he explained. “I made a mistake, and the next day I received an email message: Did you call 911?”

The mistake astronaut Kuipers made was in hanging up the phone from a 911 call. Had he stayed on the line he could have clarified he had dialled in error, and not had emergency services assume it was a dispatch call.

While embarrassed over his gaffe, astronaut Kuipers did quip “I would not have minded if they had come up”.

International Space Station (ISS) Dutch

images:CBC.ca & thedrive.com

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