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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 May, 2004, 06:35 GMT 07:35 UK
Rise in hoax fire calls
Fire engines
Children are to be shown the consequences of making hoax calls

About a third of all calls made to the Fire Brigade in Northern Ireland are hoax, according to a report.

More than 1,500 hoax calls have been made during the first four months of this year, an increase of about 200 for the same period last year.

The figures were contained in a report published on Thursday.

Assistant Divisional Fire Officer John Langtry said all calls had to be treated as emergencies.

"If it's a hoax call it will be 30 minutes before that's checked out and that's 30 vital minutes when somebody will be without immediate help if they're in that area," he said.

"The resources will be tied up until that's checked out. We're going to have to rely on resources coming from other stations, from other ambulance stations, other fire stations, other police stations, so the community could be the victim."

The Fire Brigade is hosting a joint initiative between the emergency services and BT to raise awareness of the rising trend in hoax calls.

Thursday's event will provide an opportunity for school children from Belfast, Omagh and Londonderry to witness the potential consequences of making a hoax call.

They will see how calls are handled in control rooms, as well as getting the chance to see a major operational exercise graphically demonstrating the dangers of making a hoax call.

Warning over hoax calls
23 Dec 03  |  England
Fire hoaxes 'put lives at risk'
19 May 04  |  Wales

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