Hoax fire calls up 64%

Sue Doherty

Reporter:

Sue Doherty

the number of hoax calls to the Fire Service in Donegal has risen by 64 per cent since 2007 and a senior fire officer is warning that lives could be lost if the problem continues.

the number of hoax calls to the Fire Service in Donegal has risen by 64 per cent since 2007 and a senior fire officer is warning that lives could be lost if the problem continues.

Acting Chief Fire Officer Joe McTaggart said yesterday that the number of ‘malicious, hoax’ calls to the Fire Service in the county rose by 64% between 2007 and 2011. In 2007, the number of hoax calls was 14 but that rose 23 in 2011.

“The fear is that someone will lose their life, whether in a traffic accident or a fire, because a crew has been sent out on a hoax call and is unable to respond to a genuine emergency,” he told the Donegal Democrat/People’s Press.

“What people have to understand is that we have no way of knowing when a call comes in whether it’s genuine or false. We have to respond as if lives are in danger and, once we have left the station, we aren’t in a position to deal with any other calls.

“A brigade will be sent from the nearest station, but the added delay, of up to half an hour, could mean the difference between life and death.

READ MORE IN TODAY’S DONEGAL PEOPLE’S PRESS.