South East Wales

Public hoax 999 calls 'success,' says fire service

Blood on your hands campaign
Image caption South Wales Fire Service made some of the hoax calls public

A fire service says its summer campaign against hoax calls has been a big success with a 20% reduction compared to the same period last year.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service put recordings of 999 hoaxes onto its website to show how they divert resources from genuine emergencies.

The campaign was called 'Blood on your hands? Every second counts'.

Control staff dealt with 55 hoax calls over the 2011 schools summer holiday compared to 69 in summer 2010.

Andy Marles, the service's chief fire officer, said: "Our highly trained firefighters and control room operators are here for the public in an emergency.

"However, people that make hoax calls tie up valuable time and skills that could be used elsewhere at real emergencies, where real lives may be at risk."

"What surprises many people is that adults are guilty of making these calls, it is not just children 'messing about' in phone boxes.

"Our control staff will challenge any callers who may seem suspicious, but some of these calls are indistinguishable as fake which means we send fire-fighters to an incident which doesn't exist."

Control staff took 2,100 hoax calls last year, with over 500 resulting in officers attending the scene.

People visiting the 'Blood on your hands' website were asked to report any of the callers they recognised making the hoax calls.

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