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As a long-time avid listener of police and fire calls that come over her scanner, Ramona DiMassimo could not believe her ears - an ambulance was being dispatched to a home for a child with a toothache.
"That's unbelievable," DiMassimo said.
"I think 911 is meant for emergencies. If you're bleeding to death or you fall, or you're having breathing difficulties, a bad accident, something that is life threatening, then you call," said DiMassimo, a resident of Fairfield Township.
"I got totally disgusted when I heard that (toothache) call. A toothache, to me, is not an emergency. This was a child who broke off a tooth. Go to a dentist," the mother of two grown sons said.
Other calls that DiMassimo has heard on the scanner that she doubts are real emergencies include "headaches, stomachaches, sore foot."
"The next thing you know, they will be calling 911 for a hangnail."
DiMassimo believes callers abuse the emergency system.
"I really don't think people use 911 for what it's there for. I think some of the callers take advantage of it, really. If you need a ride, call a cab," said DiMassimo, who has four grandchildren.
"I think people use the system to their advantage when it really isn't an emergency. And who are the ones paying for those calls? In a lot of cases, we are," she said.
DiMassimo, who is on disability and pays school and real estate taxes, said, "I think one of the reasons health care is so expensive today is that people abuse the system."
While ambulances are sent to non-emergency incidents, "I'm sure there are cases where they are not available to someone who is having a true emergency and needs the help," she said.