Help! There's a fly in my ear! 鸡毛蒜皮小事 滥用999求救电话

Vocabulary: Emergencies 词汇: 紧急情况

Image caption What to do if there's a fly in your ear

If you had a strange, buzzing sound in your ear, what would you do? One man in Wales who thought he had a fly in his ear called 999, the emergency services number in Britain.

And so did a woman who was worried about her green potatoes. Could she make chips with them? Were they poisonous? She had no qualms about calling the local ambulance service to ask.

According to a recent report, more than 31,000 non-urgent calls were made to the Welsh Ambulance Service in the last year.

Inappropriate calls are a headache for health professionals everywhere. In the US, prank calls to 911 happen on a daily basis. Many callers use apps which hide their identity. But those who try to be funny shouldn't be surprised if the police have the last laugh. One man from Colorado was arrested for allegedly making more than 1,200 prank calls, according to a report on the US television station KOAA-TV.

People who take these calls are trained to stay calm and keep a straight face, no matter how strange the query sounds. "There's no way for us to know whether the call is real, accidental or a prank call," said a public safety worker interviewed by the American TV channel.

The Head of Clinical Services at the Welsh Ambulance Service, Richard Lee, has a warning for prank callers. He says: "When people misuse the service it means our precious time is being taken away from someone who really does need our help."

Indeed, these hotlines are supposed to help the seriously ill or those with a life-threatening injury.

You never know, one day, the person who needs assistance could be you or someone in your family.