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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Over 30 Fake Fire Calls in Two Weeks

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued a warning to people who maliciously call the fire service, following 35 fake fire calls in just two weeks.

"We would encourage parents to explain to their children how serious making hoax calls is, as if a child is proven to have made a hoax call it is the parents who must take responsibility."

Control Manager, Gill Irwin

Of the calls, 28 were hoaxes and seven were attended by crews and found to be malicious calls, as there were no signs of fire.

The 28 hoax calls which Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service did not attend were predominately in the Stoke-on-Trent area; however calls were also traced to Stafford and Hednesford.

Control Manager, Gill Irwin said: "If someone is calling from a landline or call box, we immediately receive their location on screen. Some call boxes are also monitored by CCTV, and footage from that will be used by the Police as evidence if necessary.

 "We can also trace mobile phones back to the registered owner and will activate an immediate disconnection via the phone service provider if it is found to be a hoax call. Pay as you go phones can also be de-activated via the phone service provider - we will not tolerate malicious calls."

Hoax callers will be prosecuted by the Police and are automatically issued with an automatic fixed fine of £80. All emergency calls are recorded and can be used as evidence plus Fire Control have a database of how many calls have been made from each telephone number.

"For every hoax call we receive there could be a person desperately trying to get out of a burning building or trapped in a car crash in urgent need of our assistance. If an appliance has attended a hoax call this means it could be delayed in responding to a genuine emergency," warned Gill.

The Service’s Fire Control logged 19 of the 28 hoax calls as being from children and put this down to the children being off from school for the past two weeks: "We unfortunately always have an increase in children making hoax calls during school holidays," continued Gill,

"Sometimes they are obviously calling because they find it funny or are showing off to their friends but there are some calls that could be genuine and so we mobilise appliances to the scene which wastes time, resources and money.

"We would encourage parents to explain to their children how serious making hoax calls is, as if a child is proven to have made a hoax call it is the parents who must take responsibility."

If you are concerned that your child or someone you know is making or has made a hoax call and would like some advice on how to deal with this situation please contact 08451 22 11 55 during office hours.  You could just save a life.