Stop, Look, Listen, THEN Report
Last week was a bad week for collisions in our patrol district. One call had us off to a three vehicle pileup in the northbound lanes near where the recent fire was in the median. There was no indication of how bad any injuries were, but since the highway is posted at 110 km/h someone is probably hurt so police, fire and ambulance were dispatched. Things went downhill from there.
The incident was nowhere near the place where the last fire in the median occurred. When we did locate it, it was in the southbound lanes. One car had gone off the road and two others had stopped to give assistance. No one was hurt, damage was minimal and all that needed to be called was a tow truck. Emergency services were stood down, thank goodness no one else needed them in the meantime, and they were not involved in a crash themselves during the emergency run to get to the scene.
Cell phones are wonderful inventions. They allow prompt attention to emergencies that saves time and lives. As you can see, they also allow someone that drove past at 110 km/h to paint a picture that bears no resemblance to what had actually occurred. Emergency services must prepare for the worst case, so everyone was dispatched.
Don't stop reporting incidents like this. However, please do it intelligently. Taking two minutes to stop and inquire about the state of affairs at this scene is not a major inconvenience for you and makes all the difference for the victims and emergency services. Dispatch can send only what is needed, or decide properly that this is going to be a disaster that needs a full turnout of everything available.