Greenwich firefighters root out hoax callers as false calls attended drops by 88 per cent (From News Shopper)
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Greenwich firefighters root out hoax callers as false calls attended drops by 88 per cent over 10 years
GREENWICH firefighters have become wise to hoaxers as the number of bogus emergency calls attended drops by 88 per cent over 10 years.
Crews attended 609 false calls in 2001 – putting lives at risk for those at genuine fires – compared to 76 last year, figures released this week reveal.
Measures to tackle prank callers have included working with mobile phone operators to cut off repeated hoax numbers, educating young people about the consequences of a false call, and challenging callers if they believe it to be fake.
London Fire Brigade’s Borough Commander for Greenwich Andrew Rickard said: “Hoax calls put lives at risk, are a waste of our firefighters’ valuable time and a drain on the Brigade’s resources.
“Every time our crews are sent out to investigate a prank call they are unavailable to attend genuine, potentially life threatening emergencies in the borough.”
He added that although they now attend far fewer calls they will not become complacent.
With the brigade asked to make £64.9m cuts and fire stations – including Woolwich, Downham and New Cross – earmarked for closure, the need to fight time-wasting calls is particularly pressing.
Andrew Rickard said: “At a time when all public sector organisations are facing serious financial challenges attending hoax calls is not how Greenwich residents want their emergency services to spend their precious time and money.”