Hoax 999 calls prompt warning from Warwickshire fire chiefs - The Leamington Observer

Hoax 999 calls prompt warning from Warwickshire fire chiefs

Catherine Thompson 30th Mar, 2020 Updated: 30th Mar, 2020   0

HOAX calls have prompted a warning from Warwickshire fire chiefs.

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service receive a number of false call-outs last week.

One caller reported people trapped in a house fire but when crews arrived there was no fire or emergency.

Fire chiefs have warned not only did hoax calls endanger the lives of crews, but if firefighters were called to attend an incident where they thought lives were at risk, the call would be prioritised above less urgent calls.

They have also warned all calls were recorded and even anonymous callers could be identified, leading to possible prosecution.

If the fire control operator suspects the call is suspicious, the caller will be challenged, giving them an opportunity to confirm whether is a hoax call. If the caller persists, the police will be informed meaning they could be prosecuted or fined up to £5,000.

Those making repeat hoax calls could have their mobile or landline number cut off and, given the current climate, the move could have a detrimental effect on communication family and friends.

WFRS spokesman Neil McElvenny said: “It’s really disappointing to see people making hoax calls, especially at this time, but not completely unexpected with the closure of schools and businesses. However, like all blue light services, we’re doing our best to deal with the impact of the coronavirus, which means that we are working hard to ensure that we have enough firefighters available to assist the community when they need it. To achieve this, we are trying to reduce community contact as much as possible. Unfortunately, being sent to places where people live where there no emergency is not ideal for the residents or our crews, so please think and perhaps put your extra time to better use. You never know when you may need us and we would never want to risk the lives of our community attending a hoax call, when someone else needed our help.”

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