The Atlantic goes behind the scenes of an emergency 911 call centre. When you call the emergency services, it’s easy to forget that there’s a real human being on the other end of the phone.


We rely so heavily on the emergency services, but we rarely think about how difficult it must be to keep things running smoothly at their end. Not only are the workers constantly juggling callers, but they’re having to find out vital info from extremely distressed people.

It’s an intense working environment where making just one small mistake could be the difference between life and death. Their judgment has to be spot on as well, as they need to work out whether the situation is as serious as it sounds. Worst of all, there’s no respite or relief given to the workers. When they hang up that phone, that’s it, they don’t know what happens to the person. That’s almost the scariest thought of all, not knowing whether that person was helped in time after all.

911|The Atlantic|Documentary

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