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Hoax callers in South Wales cost the local economy thousands of pounds

Abercynon Fire Station

Hoax callers in South Wales cost the local economy thousands of pounds each year, as well as putting people’s lives in danger.

A staggering 1,194 hoax calls were made to South Wales Fire and Rescue Service in 2013 in comparison to 1,749 calls received during the same period in 2012. This is a reduction of 31% and is due to the proactive approach and successful campaigns carried out by South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

Jennie Griffiths, Head of Fire Control at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said, “Malicious callers are not only an enormous drain on resources but their thoughtless behaviour endangers the lives and safety of the public.

“Firefighters must respond to every emergency call that is made. If they arrive at an address and find out that it's a hoax, it may delay them from attending a serious emergency incident, where they may be needed to rescue someone trapped in a house fire or road traffic collision. It might even be someone you know.“

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service is urging people, before you make that call, to stop and think:

Each call requires one, sometimes two fire appliances to be mobilised – each with fire crews
Each hoax call costs a great deal of time and consumes valuable resources – this is a waste of public funds

More importantly, making hoax calls costs lives.

Dewi Jones, Head of Fire Crime Unit at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service commented, “It is illegal to make a hoax emergency call. If caught and prosecuted, these individuals may face a fine of up to £5,000 or six months in prison. They could also have their phones cut off.

Due to the successful campaigns we have run over recent years, we have seen a reduction in the number of hoax calls. However, we still receive an unacceptable number of malicious calls.”

Fact

Over half of emergency calls received via 999 last year in the UK were considered to be hoax calls.

Effect

In many emergencies, every second really does count. Increasing the time is takes the fire crews to respond, if they are diverted by a hoax call, could mean the difference between saving a life or losing one.

Fact

All calls to the emergency services are taped.

Effect

All calls to the Fire Control Room are recorded and can be instantly be traced back to you. This doesn’t just apply to landlines; even calls from public phone boxes and mobile phones are taped and could be traced. You can't use the 141 code to hide your number if you dial 999.

For more information about fire safety in your home and business visit www.southwales-fire.gov.uk

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