Please Send Help

Years ago, shortly after we moved into our current home, Gilles and I tried to start a fire in our new fireplace one evening after the boys had gone to bed.  It didn’t go well.

We hadn’t opened the chimney flue properly and smoke quickly filled the family room, drifted up the stairs, and set off the smoke alarms {good news – the smoke alarms are working}.

In the blink of an eye, 7-year-old Jordan came flying down the stairs screaming FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! at the top of his lungs.  With our one-and-only fire extinguisher tucked under his arm, he ran straight out the front door yelling all the way.

While I ran to retrieve Jordan from the front yard, Gilles ran upstairs to shut off the ear-splitting wail of the smoke alarm and check in on 4-year-old Misha.

We expected to find a terrified child either hiding under his blankets, under the bed, or in his closet. We knew these were the common places a small child would be found by firemen when there is a house fire.

Instead, Misha was still fast asleep, oblivious to the ear-bleeding noise outside his bedroom door.


1992 – Misha asleep … but not in his bed.

This incident was our first clue that perhaps we would not be able to rely on our children to help us in the event of a crisis.

Fast forward 20+ years.

The four of us each have a location tracking app on our phones.  It has proven invaluable when one or more of us is in transit and expected to be somewhere by a certain time.

Recently we were at a post-wedding open house for one of Jordan’s university friends. Jordan, who had been the man-of-honour, was obviously in attendance and conversation drifted to the Life360 app we use for location tracking.

Jordan casually mentioned that the app had a *panic* button.

You would think Jordan would know his mother by now.  Me – being the curious me I am – thought it was a great idea to test the panic button to see what would happen.

Jordan (2)

From Jordan’s Facebook page

Innocently enough, it begins a 10 second countdown with a warning that it will send a notification to everyone in your circle of friends.  Almost immediately at the end of the countdown, Gilles and Jordan’s phone both received a message – “Joanne needs help”.

Within seconds, both of their phones rang.  It was a call originating in California with an automated message saying “Joanne needs help … these are her coordinates”.

That was seriously impressive … and we jokingly wondered whether we were now about to find the house surrounded by emergency vehicles.  That wouldn’t have been quite so impressive – at least to the attending first responders.

Then I suddenly remembered Misha who wasn’t at this party.  I needed to contact him immediately to assure him I was in fact ok.

Surprisingly, he answered on the first ring … which is very unusual.  My first thought was that the poor guy was both worried and relieved to see my name pop up on his phone display.  His actual response?  “Oh.  Was I supposed to answer that call from California?”

He had no idea a potential crisis could be in progress. *Sigh*  It appears that perhaps nothing much has changed in the past 20ish years.

Help might not be coming after all.

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in Family, Memories, Random Stuff and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to Please Send Help

  1. jannatwrites says:

    That’s too funny! At least Jordan has your back, right?


  2. nimi naren says:

    Ha ha Lol 😆😆 siblings can be so different


  3. Great story and the mental visual of Jordan running out the front door with the extinguisher under his arm, screaming ‘fire’ is priceless! Interesting app for an emergency but I always wonder about tracking apps and whether we always want our family knowing our every move…hmm could be a good blog topic…


    • joannesisco says:

      There are clearly some *dark* sides to tracking apps and so we don’t always have the app on. Quite frankly, I don’t think there is a need to.
      I was particularly happy to have the app this summer when Jordan and his friends went into in rather remote part of Algonquin Park for their annual camping trip.
      Cell service was spotty at best, and I was relieved to discover Jordan had turned his tracking on so we would be able to locate them in case of an emergency. Smart guy!


  4. I’m not sure if I’m having a giggle because you tested the panic button or because your lovely son is so nice and laid back. That’s a great story Joanne.


  5. NotAPunkRocker says:

    OK, Misha sounds like Matthew. So I know what to expect at least 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Alex Hurst says:

    Hahaha, oh dear. But you’re right. That’s a really useful app (if used responsibly).


  7. I love this, Joanne, it’s just so YOU! I do wonder, however, if everyone has overlooked the fact that perhaps Misha was not just a heavy sleeper, but instead a child prodigy – already being able to tell when there was a real emergency or when his parents were just up to their usual trouble-making behaviours during his sleep time……. 🙂 🙂
    I’m going to check out this Life360…you’ve introduced me to so many new ideas!


  8. Great post, it made me smile. Although, I am glad to know I am not the only one who has to press buttons, must to find out what will happen. So glad to know you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sammy D. says:

    How I love these family tales. Well told, Joanne. I could see the four of you in a sitcom episode “Joanne Needs Help”.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is soooo funny! I’m still smiling. And also as I was reading, I was nodding my head. Funny how two children from the same parents can be SO so different. Same with mine. When our fire alarm went off (due to a bat – that’s another story) (and our kids were about the same age as yours), one came running into our bedroom, ready to wake us up and get us out of there. The other? Sound asleep still, a miracle since the alarm could wake up an entire cemetery. Now? A panic signal would never work – that child would check it, perhaps five days after the fact. 🙂


  11. Hysterical. I wonder if Misha has a built-in false-alarm detector? I envy his ability to sleep through something as ear-splitting as a smoke alarm, though I suppose that’s the idea of smoke alarms, isn’t it? A wake up call!


    • joannesisco says:

      I also envy people like Misha who don’t seem to have issues sleeping anywhere, anytime. I have enough trouble in my own bed under perfect conditions!
      I’m confident that since he now routinely needs to get up early every morning to an alarm, a smoke detector would get his attention 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  12. hilarymb says:

    Hi Joanne – how interesting … and to have such a laid back son?! What to do … I’ve no idea! Just don’t rely on him – or take him with you all the time!! Gosh -fascinating story .. cheers Hilary


  13. Sue Slaght says:

    Interesting how some things don’t change after all those years Joanne! I was a bit worried I we admit by your title. Glad you really are ok!


  14. Nancy says:

    Oh my! This reminds me of the time my mother and I were staying at a hotel in Florida and the smoke alarm in the hall kept going off. I jumped up and ran for the door but mom, who was deaf in one ear was snoring away because she was sleeping on her good ear! We decided then that she should never stay alone in a hotel room


  15. Mrs. P says:

    Wow! Good for Jordan in handling the fire emergency…even with all of the errors. Not many children his age would have done something.

    I’m with you…curiosity would have gotten me and I would have pushed that button! 😀

    Oh, one last thing…Rick has slept through smoke alarms as well…It’s a good thing that I am a light sleeper. 😀


  16. Solveig says:

    What a great story. I hope Misha will wake of there is a real emergency.


  17. bikerchick57 says:

    That is a funny story. Is there anything that wakes Misha up from a sound sleep? Does he now understand that he answers all calls from California, no matter what?


    • joannesisco says:

      When Misha was a child, he was impossible to drag out of bed in the morning. It’s pretty impressive how being on his own has changed that!
      … but I think the next time we are together (ie this weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving), we will need to have a family discussion about what our protocol should be related to the panic button 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Sigh. Boys…or particular boys, it seems. LOVED the fire alarm story. The image of Jordan racing out with the fire extinguisher under his arm still has me giggling. At least you know he’s good in a crisis. 😀
    And I love the photo of Misha asleep on the floor. I’ve got a few of those, all of the Middle Son, who had the ability to sleep anywhere, any time.


  19. Anonymous says:

    Gotta love that ‘boy’. If nothing else he’s consistent!!! Lol


  20. Haha, funny story. I’m glad there wasn’t a fire and that there was really no need to answer that call from California.


    • joannesisco says:

      It’s always a good idea to test an emergency system because we can never be sure it’s going to work exactly the way we thought it would … especially when children are involved 😉


  21. Some things don’t change…or people. 😀 😀 😀
    Great story. Can’t stop laughing because there was no real fire.
    BTW, the help button sounds a fantastic app. ❤


  22. Hmmm…as for me, I’d definitely respond to “Joanne has cake”…

    Liked by 3 people

  23. This was priceless! It’s so funny how different the personalities of siblings can be.


  24. Wow! From the title of your blog I was hoping it wouldn’t end with an emergency call for donations or volunteers!! You know, I once saw news segment that was quite disturbing about how younger children sleep so soundly they will not be awakened by a fire alarm. I’m surprised your 7 year old woke up. You’re extremely lucky for that.


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