Hoax callers slammed by fire officers for putting lives at risk

STAFFORDSHIRE Fire and Rescue Service is issuing a warning that lives are being put at risk by an increase in hoax calls.

The service has received just short of 600 false alarm call-outs since lockdown began in March - including 17 classed as "malicious."

Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Rob Barber said: “False alarm calls are inevitable with the majority of people getting in touch with good intentions – however, it’s extremely disappointing when we received hoax calls: 17 in lockdown is 17 too many.

“These malicious calls are a complete waste of our time and put the lives of our crews and the public at risk – with unnecessary journeys on blue lights.

“The public are our eyes and ears to fires across the county and we’re grateful for the help we get. We encourage people to get in touch if they genuinely believe they see a fire, but these fake calls cause unnecessary pressure to our resources and we ask everyone to be more responsible and respectful when it comes to phoning in.”

Between March 23 and May 28, crews responded to 2,832 calls in the county, including 587 false alarms - 356 of made with good intentions.

An example of the latter would be someone suspecting they saw a fire but it turned out to be a BBQ or controlled burn.

A further 214 false alarms have been deemed as a result of an equipment fault, like a smoke alarm sounding in error.

But the remaining 17 have been labelled as malicious or hoax calls.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Rob Barber said: “Lockdown has been an incredibly challenging time for all of us and we are doing all we can to ensure our communities are kept safe during this period of uncertainty. “These malicious calls are a complete waste of our time and put the lives of our crews and the public at risk – with unnecessary journeys on blue lights.

“The public are our eyes and ears to fires across the county and we’re grateful for the help we get. We encourage people to get in touch if they genuinely believe they see a fire but these fake calls cause unnecessary pressure to our resources and we ask everyone to be more responsible and respectful when it comes to phoning in.”


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