Tuesday 8 May 2012

Chasing Geese

"Unknown age, unknown sex, ? fainted"

It was about 2am on the first night shift. The first is always the worst. I'd been up since about 7am and was seriously lagging. No amount of cold air or coffee was helping and despite being busy and having an in-depth conversation with my crew mate my eyes were shutting at an alarming rate. We got sent to the most bizarre sounding church with no other information than ? Fainted. It sounded like a hoax to be honest, the area that it was in wasn't a nice one but regardless of our scepticism, we began the 6 mile journey. I requested more information about what we were supposedly walking into but they had none. The caller was vague and had called from a phone box and there was now no answer apparently. The roads were nice and empty so before long we were approaching the address; as we pulled into the road the location updated.

The new address was 4 miles in the other direction. We queried how someone who had fainted 'outside the church' was now so far away and now 'lying in the road'. No reason was given, we were basically told to get over it and get driving! So we did! After 5 minutes or so we pulled into the new road. Like all sat navs ours has a flag when you arrive at the location, not always exact but normally pretty close; so we sat at the flag, no lifeless body in sight, and called up for instructions.

"Right, the location has changed, just sending you the new one"

Again! Now the location was a fixed address. It was 5 miles away but now we had no sat nav as we had already pressed 'at scene'. One of the many bugs in the system! Out came the map book. Slowly we navigated ourselves to the new address; it was in the middle of an estate, so it took a while to find the actual house. We pulled up outside and looked the place up and down, it was in darkness, in fact, the whole road was in darkness. I wasn't remotely convinced that a)this job was genuine and b)the people possibly asleep in this house had called an ambulance. I decided to share my concerns with control.

"Red base, we are now sat outside the third location, the house is in darkness, it seems like a hoax and I'm not too happy about waking someone up at 2:30am because their address has been given as part of a joke"

"Sorry but that is the address that was given, you'll have to go and investigate"

Call me a wimp but it's quite a nervy business knocking on the door of pitch black houses in the middle of a rough estate. I gave a tentative knock and took a few paces back. I felt reassured when the FRU arrived; he too had been taking part in the wild goose chase across the city. There was no answer and no movement of the blinds. I knocked again, this time with much more conviction. Nothing! I looked through the letterbox and shouted whilst knocking. Nothing. There was no one here, THAT I was sure of.

"Red base, the house is in darkness, there is no answer, can we treat this as a no trace?"

"Negative, we will have to treat it as a collapsed behind closed door, standby for police, over"

"Roger" (said in the most sarcastic tone I could muster)

We waited and waited and waited. 45 minutes later the police arrived. I told them the situation thus far, and that control wanted us to gain entry as this was now a collapsed behind closed door. They were not happy or convinced this was the case and neither were we, but at the end of the day, these decisions are above our pay grades. The officer tried to kick the door in. Based on how this job had gone so far it was no surprise he was unsuccessful. Another 20 minutes went by waiting for the enforcer to arrive with the 'universal key'. A few well-placed acts of violence towards the door and we were in. I say in, I mean hiding behind the police who were in! We searched the place. Nothing! Not a soul! 

(Back to the sarcastic tone) "Red base, we have gained entry, there is no one at this  location, would you like us to treat this as a no trace or is there something else to try"

(prolonged pause)........"Treat as a no trace"

It was a victory for me because I love nothing more than an 'I told you so' moment but in all seriousness almost 2 hours had been wasted on this job. That's an ambulance and a car not available for another job because someone had decided this hoax call was genuine, not to mention the police time wasted too. It was a hoax from the moment it was called. It was never anything but. A constantly changing location, called from a phone box nowhere near any of the locations, the call back not answered, no age or sex given, no real presenting complaint... is it just me who smells a hoax?! This was a wild goose chase from start to finish; it was a waste of everyone's time and as far as I was concerned, not in the public's interest to pursue it to the length that we did. The door will now have to be replaced at a cost to the tax payer and for what purpose? To satisfy the curiosity of a non-clinical manager and amuse a time wasting fake caller who was probably watching from the block opposite laughing away. What a cock-up!


  1. How absurd, the trouble is few people actually have the balls to call no trace up here

  2. Have been on the end of a 'universal key' fecking enforcer whilst not in my property. Not something you want to come home to. Would be great if such people could be traced and have their doors smashed to pieces!


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