Fire crews in Staffordshire received more than 200 hoax calls in six months as numbers rose, new figures reveal today.
There were 217 false reports of incidents in the county from the start of April to the end of September.
This was up from 206 in the same period in 2012. Bosses today said the majority were not attended by firefighters as efforts were now made to find out whether the call was genuine before resources are sent – but fire chiefs today reiterated warnings pranksters were putting lives at risk.
Fire crews attended just 32 of the bogus reports during the six months. The worst months for hoax calls were July and August, with 43 and 42 respectively being made.
A report to an upcoming meeting of the fire and rescue authority’s scrutiny committee states: “Although we are showing a slightly increased level of hoax calls it is pleasing to note that only a very few are actually attended by crews with just 32 calls attended out of 217.
“We work with telephone suppliers and the police in instances where hoax calls are made and we continue to run campaigns around the dangers of making hoax calls.”
Head of risk reduction Glynn Luznyi said: “It is our duty to provide an efficient and effective response to emergency calls. Hoax reports and unwanted fire signals can potentially put the lives of people who truly need assistance at risk.”
It has also been revealed that there were 124 fires at properties in those six months where no smoke alarm was fitted.
But chiefs say more than 2,000 home fire risk checks are carried out every month, where properties are examined and firefighters give advice on escape routes before fitting smoke alarms and fire guards.
The number of checks made during the six months has dropped by 61 year-on-year – and bosses say they are drawing on volunteers to help boost the figure.
The report states: “We continue to see improvements in accidental dwelling fires and those involving property and casualties. However, we are now approaching the time in which we historically start to see an increase. Therefore, our campaigns and prevention activity are around key events such as bonfire night, the winter safety and as always ‘push the button’. We have seen a slight reduction in the number of checks delivered, although this is now being addressed through the use of volunteers, and an increased focus on home safety.”
The amount of fires involving property and casualties in the second quarter of this financial year had declined compared to the same quarter in 2012 – from 418 to 372.