Firefighters across Staffordshire have received over 500 false alarm call outs since the coronavirus lockdown began in March – with a number of hoax calls being received.
Between March 23 – when lockdown started – and May 28, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has dealt with 2,832 calls outs – of which 587 have been deemed to be false alarms.
Firefighters say 356 of the false alarms have been made with ‘good intentions’, so could have been a suspected fire that turned out to be a barbecue or a controlled flame.
A further 217 calls have been deemed a result of an equipment fault. But 17 have been labelled by the service as malicious or hoax calls.
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Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Rob Barber said: “Lockdown has been an incredibly challenging time for all of us and we are doing all we can to ensure our communities are kept safe during this period of uncertainty.
“False alarm calls are inevitable with the majority of people getting in touch with good intentions – however, it’s extremely disappointing when we received hoax calls. 17 in lockdown is 17 too many.
“These malicious calls are a complete waste of our time and put the lives of our crews and the public at risk – with unnecessary journeys on blue lights.
“The public are our eyes and ears to fires across the county and we’re grateful for the help we get. We encourage people to get in touch if they genuinely believe they see a fire but these fake calls cause unnecessary pressure to our resources and we ask everyone to be more responsible and respectful when it comes to phoning in.”
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