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Newark: Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service appeals to cut out hoax 999 calls that could put lives at risk

An appeal has been made by a firefighter to cut out false 999 calls that could put lives at risk, writes Elliot Ball.

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service has attended 20,676 such call-outs since 2016.

This year, the figure was 3,374 — with 108 of those classed as malicious, meaning the call was a prank.

Station manager Leigh Holmes
Station manager Leigh Holmes

A total of 937 calls were classified as being of good intent — well-meaning but did not need fire service assistance — and another 2,329 were the result of faulty technology, such as fire alarms that automatically notify the emergency services.

Station manager Leigh Holmes, of Newark Fire Station, said malicious and unnecessary calls meant valuable resources could be out of action when needed at genuine incidents.

He said: “Unfortunately, each year we continue to see over 100 malicious false alarms or hoax calls, which can take valuable resources away from other incidents, increasing our time to respond and possibly endangering life.

Newark Fire Station. (4147391)
Newark Fire Station. (4147391)

“All our calls are recorded and in the case of a hoax call, the details can be passed to the police for prosecution.”

In a bid to reduce the volume of false call-outs, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service teamed up with Derbyshire and Leicestershire.

The aim was to reduce time-wasting by getting additional information from the caller to establish if they were legitimate.

Since the new strategy was implemented, the number of fake call-outs has dramatically fallen.

Leigh Holmes said: “This has seen a reduction in the number of false alarms we attend caused by automatic alarm systems, enabling our crews increased availability to attend incidents and carry out other duties such as Safe and Well visits in our community.”

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue stressed it did not want to discourage residents who need their assistance from calling 999.

A spokesman said: “If you do come across a suspected fire we encourage you to call 999. We would much rather be called out by mistake, then be too late, or for a fire to grow, meaning additional resources are needed.”

To find out more information visit www.notts-fire.gov.uk

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