Monday, November 10, 2008

False Alarms

This morning LFEPA's Performance Management & Community Safety Panel received a report on hoax calls.

Amazingly the London Fire Brigade received 9,750 irresponsible hoax calls in 2007/08. Perhaps more surprisingly, we actually have the lowest rate of attendance at hoax calls of any of the UK metropolitan fire and rescue services, since we introduced a procedure involving challenging calls and recording numbers of hoaxers.

Over 1,000 mobile phones have been disconnected by service providers because they were being used for hoax calls.

The problem is particularly bad between 3pm and 5 pm on weekdays and all the time at the weekend. They occur more often during summer months, peaking in August.

The worst borough for hoax calls from 2005 to 2008 was Tower Hamlets with 470, the best being Richmond with 66 (City of London had only 25, but size and a small number of residents makes the City an exception amongst London boroughs). In all boroughs the number of hoax calls has fallen - except for Kingston...

False fire alarms are a particular problem during freshers weeks - indicating that the prank of getting everyone out of bed in the middle of the night is still happening. When I was a student (long ago) the university would make a donation to the Fire Brigade charity whenever they were called out to a false alarm. This was then added to the miscreant's hall fees - might be a good idea today.


judith said...

What is the punishment for making hoax calls? And is it ever enforced?

Roger Evans said...

Judith - I asked your question at the Fire Authority last week. I have posted the answer in an article about it today.