Hoax emergency calls in Hertfordshire are putting lives at risk
Hertfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service is warning of the dangers of hoax calling following a spate of malicious calls in recent weeks.
Since the beginning of September there have been 39 malicious calls and false alarms, 12 of which resulted in fire crews responding to fictitious incidents. Fire engines may be attending a hoax call when they are required to attend a real incident which could cost lives.
Richard Thake, cabinet member for community safety, said: “People may think making hoax calls is just a bit of fun, but it is a dangerous prank which diverts valuable resources away from dealing with genuine emergencies.
“The fire service is not prepared to tolerate malicious callers and where possible we will take action against those responsible.
“If you’re found to have made a hoax call we can have your phone disconnected and you could face criminal charges leading to six months in prison and a fine of £5,000.”
Fire control is automatically given all telephone numbers and the location of any public call boxes or other landlines on receipt of call. It is also possible to establish the location of mobile callers using cell phone technology.
A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said: “All calls made to the emergency services are also recorded automatically and may be used in evidence.
“Fire and Rescue work closely with both the police and ambulance service to monitor hoax calls. The Police are always informed following confirmation of a malicious call.
“Hoax callers will be prosecuted and steps will be taken to have the mobile phones of offenders disconnected.”