If you’re in an emergency and need to call 911, don’t pretend like you’re ordering a pizza, despite what the Internet might tell you.
Law enforcement agencies across the country say there are better, safer options.
The pizza suggestion, which has been circulating on social media, claims that if you’re in a situation where you can’t call for help because someone’s in the room with you, simply pretend you’re ordering pizza and the emergency dispatcher will know what you mean.
“Dial and ask for a pepperoni pizza. They will ask if you know you’re calling 911. Say yes, and continue pretending you’re making an order. They’ll ask if there’s someone in the room. You can ask how long it will take for the pizza to get to you and they will tell you how far away a patrol unit is. Share this to save a life!!!” one of the posts reads.
Many believe the false information stems from a Reddit thread from three years ago in which someone claiming to be a 911 dispatcher tells the story of a woman in a potential domestic violence situation who used this trick to call for help.
In 2015, during the Super Bowl XLIX broadcast, No More, an organization aimed at ending domestic violence and sexual assault, aired a PSA showing an example of woman in a dangerous situation at her home who calls 911 and orders a pizza to get help. “When it’s hard to talk, it’s up to us to listen,” the tagline at the end of the commercial reads.
It’s unclear why this information has resurfaced on social media in recent days, but police departments across the country want to make sure people know it’s false. The LAPD shared the viral post on its Twitter account along with a statement about the content.
“Communications has seen this graphic circulating on various social media channels. This is false,” the police department wrote on Twitter, along with a copy of the popular social media post. “Text to 911 is a much better option. Your exact location & the nature of your emergency is what’s needed to send the right resources.”
“This article gives the impression that asking for a pepperoni pizza is somehow a ‘secret code’ to the 9-1-1 operator. That is false. Operators are trained to recognize voice inflection, odd conversations that would indicate a dangerous situation, among other things,” the LAPD added.
The Bremer County Sheriff’s Office in Waverly, Iowa shared similar information dispelling the myth. “Calling 911 and asking for a pepperoni pizza is not some secret-squirrel, coded message that tells the call-taker that you are in trouble,” the law enforcement agency wrote on Facebook. “Asking for pineapple on your pizza does not mean that someone has a weapon. Besides, pineapple never goes on pizza! No, never. This is an indisputable fact. #SorryNotSorry”
“Asking how long the delivery will take, will not give you an estimated time for the deputy's arrival. Contrary to popular belief, there is not a Pizza Topping Academy of Emergency Call-Taking. (PTAECT) However, if you call 911 and ask to order a pizza, the dispatcher will inform you that you have called the emergency line and not a pizza restaurant. When you continue trying to order a pizza, the Comm. Tech. is going to figure out that there is a problem,” the sheriff’s office continued.