Sharing Viral Facebook Post Could be More Harmful than Helpful
A meme making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter tells people to "order a pizza" while calling 911.
According to the post that's supposed to be some sort of "secret code" to let dispatchers know that you're calling for help but unable to describe the situation because you are scared of another person in the room with you. It goes on to claim that dispatchers are trained to ask very specific yes or no questions and will understand what's happening. At the bottom of the post, people are urged to "share this to save a life."
Our friends at KTVB reached out to dispatchers with the Nampa Police Department and Canyon County Sheriff's office to see how real the claims in the social media post are. While dispatchers go through training to learn when to ask the person calling 911 simple "yes" or "no" questions, there is no secret pizza code. They'll often do that if the caller hesitates before speaking or has a tone in their voice that indicates that someone who may harm them is nearby and can hear the phone call.
Using the fake pizza code could slow down help actually getting to your location as the dispatcher has to decipher if the call is a legitimate call for help or a prank. The local dispatchers tell KTVB the best thing you can to get first responders to your location is to state your address or location before setting the phone down. If you can't do that because you are in danger, leave the line open so that dispatchers have a chance to detect your location.
Where Did the Meme Come From?
I saw it when one of my Facebook friends shared it last week and immediately thought "I've seen this before. Why does this sound so familiar?" If you felt the same way and watched the 2015 Superbowl, that's why. That was the year that the NFL threw all of its support behind the "No More" campaign calling for an end to domestic violence. The meme is actually the plot of a 60 second commercial that aired during the big game. Although, going back and watching it now...you realize that the woman calling for help immediately did what our Treasure Valley dispatchers recommended.