Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging people not to make hoax calls to the Service.

The plea to the public not to call 999 unless there is an actual incident or emergency comes after a high number of hoax calls. In the last three months the Service has received 22 calls with malicious intent so far this month which have led to crews being sent out unnecessarily, preventing them from attending genuine calls and carrying out important fire prevention work.

Last night Fire Control received another fake call to the Highfields area. The caller reported there was a fire in the kitchen of a home and three crews were sent to the ‘incident’ only to find there was nothing there. This call came from the same phone box as several other hoax calls.

Prevent Manager Carmel Warren said:

“When someone makes a fake call to Fire Control there is no way for us to know it is not a genuine call until the crew arrive at the scene. This means that a crew are sent out no matter what and sometimes more than one pump may be assigned depending on the claims the caller makes.

“This results in a huge waste of time and resources attending these fake incidents and prevents firefighters responding to other calls where someone might genuinely be in trouble. It also takes added time for firefighters to properly check the area to ensure there is no signs of fire or any other incidents.

“Please only call the Service when there is a genuine need for our assistance.

“We take calls of this nature very seriously and will not hesitate to take legal action against those found to be responsible for such calls.”