ALERT: Are your children making hoax emergency calls?

ALERT: Are your children making hoax emergency calls?

Published at 11:13am 22nd July 2019.

3 minute read

There's a warning from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue as the school summer holidays get underway.

This time is year often brings an increase in incidents and we're being warned that there can be some serious consequences.

Our local fire brigade tweeted this weekend about a hoax call they'd received:

We're told that call came in to them at around 6.00pm yesterday (Sunday July 21st).

WHY ARE HOAX CALLS SUCH A PROBLEM?

Diverting an emergency crew to a fake incident could mean that they're not available for a real emergency, and that could cost lives.

Phonebox Payphone
Even payphone calls can be traced back if malicious calls are made

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service have said:

"(We) receive dozens of such calls every year, made from payphones, mobile phones and landlines. We also have issues with people deliberately smashing break-glass alarm points.

"Malicious callers are not only an enormous drain on resources; their thoughtless behaviour endangers the lives and safety of the public."

HOAXES CAN BE TRACED:

Whether you make a 999 call from a landline, payphone or mobile, the location it's come from can still be tracked.

Even using the 141 function to withhold your number doesn't block the trace.

Fire Engine - Salisbury crew (Mike Draper)
Crews being diverted to hoax calls then wouldn't be available to attend 'real' incidents

THE CONSEQUENCES OF MAKING HOAX CALLS:

Police can also be brought in if there are repeated calls made from an area or particular number.

  • Anyone prosecuted for making such calls can face a hefty fine and/or up to six months in prison if convicted
  • The Fire and Rescue Service has an agreement with the major phone companies that enables the disconnection of mobile phones and landlines if they have been used to commit hoax or malicious calls
  • If this happens, the owner of the phone will be blacklisted by all major networks and phone companies

If you know of someone who makes hoax or malicious calls, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

There's more advice on the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire service website.

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