A highly-strung woman in the United Arab Emirates forced the emergency services to come racing to her home after calling them about a grubby-looking cat sitting on her air-conditioning unit.
The incident took place next to Dubai in Sharjah, part of the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman metropolitan area, in the north-western United Arab Emirates (UAE) and was reported by the local authorities as an example of emergency hotline misuse.
According to local media, every eight-hour shift sees between 900 and 1,000 calls to the country’s 999 hotline, however only 200 to 250 are considered actual emergencies.
The other calls are transferred to the non-emergency number 901 which was set up in 2015 to relieve the burden on the 999 hotline.
Control room director Jassim Bin Hada said: “We received a number of calls on the emergency number for general inquiries, wrong numbers or bogus emergencies which placed an extra and unnecessary strain on emergency resources.”
He added: “I ask people not to misuse the emergency number.”
From the beginning of 2019 to the end of September, over 1.2 million calls to 999 were registered although many of them were related to minor issues, according to reports.
Bin Hada said: “We receive many calls that do not require the assistance of the police such as a woman calling about a dirty cat sat on her air conditioning unit near the animal market. The woman said the cat was tired, sick and needed assistance.”
Police diverted the call to the local authorities who attended the scene and found nothing wrong with the grubby cat, adding that it was just sitting on her air-conditioning until to keep cool.
Bin Hada said that they try to answer calls to 999 and 901 within three rings, which is around 10 seconds.
He added: “The 901 service was launched in June 2015 for inquiries that are not related to emergencies in order to lessen the burden of calls to 999.”
Staff members answer the calls in six languages, English, Arabic, Urdu, Persian, Chinese and Russian.
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