A Derbyshire fire chief has issued a safety plea to crank callers after a spate of Bonfire Night hoax 999 calls
Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service received a number of hoax calls on November 5 , an evening that was busier than usual with several calls to out of control /unattended bonfires.
The service warned that hoax fire calls divert fire engines away from people who may by in life-threatening situations and who need urgent help.
This could mean the difference between life and death for someone in trouble.
Group Manager, Alex Johnson, Duty Manager on Bonfire Night said: “The role of our emergency call handlers is critical in any emergency.
“Prank calls can take up their valuable time and keep them from genuine emergencies.
“Any hoax call is putting lives at risk and we will not tolerate our Firefighters and fire engines being sent to non-existent fires because of prank calls.”
All calls to the 999 emergency services are recorded and the telephone number being used to make the call is displayed to the emergency call handler.
Any person who makes a hoax call is committing a criminal offence and if prosecuted, may face a fine of up to £5,000 or six months in prison.
Any call to Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service, where the emergency call handler suspects a hoax/prank will be challenged with the following statement “If this is a false call, we are taping your voice and we will be passing this to the police, do you wish to continue?”
A text message will also be sent to any phone that the fire service believes a hoax call has been made from.
The message will inform the caller that Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service will liaise with their phone service provider to disconnect and cancel their phone contract should any further malicious calls be made.