Video: ‘Is it ok for a little squirrel to die?’ – listen to one of ambulance service’s most absurd 999 calls

The EEAST emergency operations centre

The EEAST emergency operations centre - Credit: Archant

Sore feet from wearing shoes, lethargy on a diet, and a dead squirrel are just a few of the reasons people called the East of England Ambulance Service this year.

As the trust strives to encourage the public to use 999 wisely it has releasing an audio clip of a caller trying to argue the case for an ambulance to attend a hit-and-run, and then revealing that the “someone” was a squirrel.

The caller asked: “Is it ok for a little squirrel to die?” after arguing that an ambulance should have been sent to the incident in the Epping Forest area of Essex.

Two ambulance crews had been dispatched until it was established that the “someone” the caller described was in fact a squirrel.

Click here to hear the 999 call.

Other inappropriate 999 calls included:

“I’ve gone out shopping and locked myself out of my house” – Shoeburyness woman needing emergency locksmiths.

“My dog is vomiting blood” – woman in Wisbech calls 999 for a sick pet. She is advised to phone a veterinarian.

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“I’ve eaten too much take-away food” – Chelmsford woman feeling a bit sick after a day of indulgence.

“My feet hurt after wearing too small shoes” – Peterborough man needs an emergency cobbler.

“I’ve dropped my burger and it is bleeding” – Basildon caller has take-away accident.

“I have been dieting and feel lethargic” – Hitchin man’s slimming efforts suffer a setback.

“I need to go to hospital and I don’t get paid until tomorrow” – Benfleet man calls 999 for a free taxi service.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) said they have received 1,248 hoax calls over the last two years.

Frontline crews have attended almost half of those, believing them to be genuine emergencies.

Gary Morgan, regional head of emergency operations centres at the EEAST, said: “We’re an emergency service and our front-line staff are trained to save lives.

“However, sadly, some of the calls we receive are not even medical related and we will refer hoax calls to the police.

“We prioritise all life-threatening calls to get the quickest possible response. However, that response can be affected if our call handlers and front-line staff are dealing with inappropriate 999 calls.

“We would strongly urge people who think it is funny to make a prank call to stop and think about the potential consequences.”

The EEAST today launches a new video behind the scenes of one of their emergency operation centres to show people how 999 calls are answered and prioritised and what patients can do to help us