4,640 false alarm calls made in Cork city in the last 5 years costing local authority dearly
Fine Gael Cork South Central Deputy, Jerry Buttimer, has today (Wednesday) said that figures recently obtained by his parliamentary colleague, John O’Mahony TD, outlining the number of false alarm and hoax calls with malicious intent that are being made to the fire services reveal the true extent of this harmful practice in Cork city.
“Figure released by the Department of the Environment show that the number of false alarm calls to the fire services in Cork city between 2007 and 2011 amounted to 4,640. Of these, a staggering 1,113 were reported to be calls made with malicious intent.
“Of the 1,152 false alarm calls made to the Cork city fire services in 2007, 261 were malicious in nature, while 891 were thought to be made with good intent. In 2008, 980 false alarm calls made, of which 228 were considered to have malicious intent. In 2009, 212 malicious calls were made from a total of 877 false alarm calls. The following year in 2010, that figure reached 298 of a total of 919 false alarm calls made and in 2011, of the total of 712 false alarm calls reported, 214 were thought to be made with mischievous intent.
“This means that more than one in every four calls made to the fire services in Cork city, or 26% of the calls phoned in, is a complete waste of the emergency response’s time and resources. With some Councils estimating that each call-out can cost upwards of €1,000, the extent to which hoax calls are effecting Local Authorities is evident.
“The situation in the city, when compared to the figures obtained by Cork County Council, indicates that this sort of time wasting is much more prevalent in the urban areas as just 136 calls out of a total of 1,14 false alarm calls reported during this five year time frame were said to have been made with malicious intent.
“People need to be made aware that when the emergency services are responding to prank calls, there may be someone in distress who they cannot reach as a result, making hoax calls of this nature, literally, a matter of life and death.
“Deputy O’Mahony has called for penalties to be imposed on the perpetrators of this most serious of practices and I second that call. Repeat offenders, who insist on wasting the fire service’s time should be held account for their devious and harmful antics; they should be named and shamed and have financial penalties imposed. Resources are already badly stretched. It’s high time these pranksters were made aware of the full extent of what they are doing and the potential harm they may be inflicting on others as a result.”