Lessons in the dangers of making hoax calls

FIREFIGHTERS have promised to go into schools to warn youngsters of the dangers of making hoax calls in problem hotspots.

Hot spots include Halliwell, Breightmet, Little Lever, Darcy Lever and Smithills, according to the latest figures.

The highest number of calls were made in Halliwell, going up from 25 to 34 in 2011/2012.

In Breightmet, the fire service received 27 hoax calls in 2011/12, up 15 from the previous year.

Little Lever and Darcy Lever also saw an increase from just two hoaxes in 2010/11 to 16 in the following 12 months.

Smithills also saw a significant rise from no calls in 2010/11 to 10 in 2011/12.

But fire bosses say the number of hoax calls across Bolton has fallen so far this financial year.

From April to the end of November 2012, firefighters have responded to 35 hoax calls, compared with 65 for the same period last year.

Ian Bailey, borough manager for Bolton, stressed prevention work will bring the number of hoax calls down.

He said: “Our control room operators do challenge potential hoax callers and this has helped to reduce the number of hoax incidents we attend.

“Where we see a spike in the time of calls we look at what might be causing this.

“We go into schools to educate children about the impact and potential consequences of making hoax calls, and where adults are making the calls, we have a proven history in Bolton of issuing people through the courts and we will continue to do this.”

The average cost of each malicious false alarm is £1,970, according to an estimate made the Department of Communities and Local Government.

Hoax calls can potentially risk lives as while firefighters are attending false reports there could be a delay in attending serious blazes.

Mr Bailey said: “As a service we’ve generally seen a reduction in the number of malicious calls in recent years but unfortunately in Bolton we did see a slight increase in the last financial year compared with the previous year.

“However, so far this financial year we’ve seen quite a dramatic reduction compared with the same period last year.

“From time to time we do get these increases in malicious calls which is often due to one or two people.”

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