|What ever happened to common sense? That is the question the Coral Springs Fire Department is asking themselves as the constant Anthrax calls keep streaming into the city’s 911 department on a daily basis. The people that make these calls are definitely suffering from SPS, or Stupid People Syndrome. This is a disorder of the part of the brain that deals in common sense. It is quite often refereed to as “Are you out of your mind” syndrome, or AYOYM for short.Of the hundreds of calls that have been made as a HazMat, short for Hazardous Materials, each one has been handled as if they were authentic. Each time the department accumulated the sample of the white power and each time they sent it to the lab for testing. Each time the results have come back that is was not anthrax. All of the hundred and hundreds of calls in Coral Springs and Broward County and every single time the same answer: It’s not Anthrax! So what was it? We visited the Coral Springs 911 center last week to accumulate some of the recent calls that our valuable fire department has been going out on. To illustrate my point here are but a few true calls:
The Anthrax that looks like Bird Droppings Call:
A Coral Springs resident called the 911 department claiming that there was a dry white powder on the hood of his car. The car was parked under a tree. The CSFD was dispatched to the scene and quickly surmised what it was. Droppings. Bird Excrement!. Plain and simple. They took samples anyway and sent it off to the lab. (Then they quickly got back on their trucks and had a good laugh).
Anthrax looking like Publix Powdered Donuts Call:
A Coral Springs resident calls 911 claiming that there is white powder on the kitchen table. CSFD quickly responds and finds the powder next to a box of Publix Powdered Donuts. The sugary looking substance and the donuts were quickly confiscated. The white powder was sent to the Lab.(The donuts were sent to the Police Department which quickly determined that the Donuts tasted great).
Anthrax looking Dust on the Parking lot Call:
CSFD responds to a call at a bank located just north of Royal Palm on the east side of University. Someone called indicating that there was an anthrax looking powder on the asphalt parking lot. In fact there were several spots of this anthrax looking powder that looked a lot like dusty foot prints. A sample was taken and sent to the lab. It was dirt. (They still haven’t found the perpetrator that made the foot prints and messed up the parking lot).
Anthrax on the Beer Bottle Call.
CSFD was called to a home on a Sunday during the football game where someone complained that they may have anthrax on the label of the bottle. The beer was confiscated, the label sent to the lab for testing. It turns out that it was dried glue used to fasten the label. (It was not certain what happened to the contents of the beer bottle. Speculation has it that it evaporated on the way to the lab).
Anthrax Falling From the Sky Call:
CSFD was called to the home of a Coral Springs Resident who while on the hood of the car with three buddies drinking beer, saw a white powder falling from the sky. No powder was found and the sky was clear.
Anthrax in the Laundry Room Call:
A Coral Springs resident called 911 when she saw a white powdery substance on the floor of her laundry room beside the washing machine. A cup of powdered detergent was on the washing machine directly over the spot where the powder was seen. When the CSFD arrived, they asked her if it was possible that the powder may have been the detergent spilling. She was unsure of the question, and the CSFD accumulated the Hazardous Material and sent it to the lab.
Anthrax Covering the Swimming Pool Deck
A Coral Springs family saw their pool deck covered with a white substance and called the CSFD. It turned out to be pollen from nearby trees. The amount of pollen that was on the deck was substantial. (Had it really had been anthrax, no one would have been able to make the call in the first place).
Anthrax located around the lid of the Sour Cream Container Call:
A Coral Springs resident called the 911 department who quickly dispatched the CSFD to them. She was worried that the dried material located around her sour cream container, was anthrax. The white crusty dried matter of the opened container was sent to the lab and came back as dried lactose enriched product, or dried sour cream.
So what does all this illustrate? It shows that hysteria can cause intelligent people to become stupid (SPS). We will know next year when our taxes go up just how much all this hysteria has cost us. To save all of us a lot of money and the CSFD a lot of time, I have put together 5 quick questions to ask yourself prior to calling 911:
Before calling 911, what to do if you think you see anthrax:
1. Determine if there would be some other more likely explanation for the white powder being there. Chances are (almost 100%) it is the other explanation.
2. Determine why you would be a target in the first place. Are you of any significant importance like….the head of State or a Senator, or a reporter that claimed that Bin Laden’s penis was too small. If you determine that none of the above profiles fit you, chances are it is not anthrax.
3. Determine if it is really necessary to have 15 guys from the Police Department and Fire Rescue Department converge on your home. When they leave, you will have 15 people (plus the entire 911 staff) thinking that you are an idiot that has totally wasted their time and tax payers money.
4. Check to make sure you have no illegal drugs in your house or other illegal material. Chances are the Police and Fire Department will be doing a thorough search of your premises and that you may be fair game for any of them.
5. Email me. I will tell you not to worry, and eat the donuts.
It is not reasonable for the Coral Springs Fire Department to go out to every anthrax call so that some paranoid person with no common sense can be made to feel better. It is costing us a lot of money to have this increase in needless protection, and it also ties up our emergency forces in case of a real emergency. Instead the 911 department should be told to just tell the caller suffering from SPS that they should place the substance into a plastic bag, seal it and bring it to the police department..With a box of donuts of course!.