Kids with 'their bodies on fire' scolded for hoax 999 calls to Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service
FIFTEEN hoax calls were made by children to Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service over the weekend.
All were made from two phone boxes in the Derby area by children who were thought to be about ten years old.
None of the calls resulted in a fire engine being sent out, thanks to call handlers asking questions about the fire to ascertain whether or not it was a hoax.
David Hutchinson, a group manager for the fire service, said: "We have call challenging in place, which means a number of questions are asked of the caller.
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"If it's a hoax, the questions usually result in them hanging up.
"These calls, rather than asking for help at an address, were abusive calls saying parts of their bodies were on fire."
Mr Hutchinson said that, years ago, the service would have felt duty-bound to attend every call, whether or not a hoax was suspected.
He said: "But now we do a little questioning and make the decision at control before sending a crew out.
"The calls this weekend were from bored children wanting to cause trouble.
"I reported it to the police to deal with the anti-social behaviour element.
"We get far fewer malicious calls than ever before thanks to education in schools and the simple fact there are fewer phone boxes around to call from now."
Mr Hutchinson urged parents to warn their children of the dangers of faking hoax calls.
He said: "Our operatives are tied up making a decision on a hoax call and then not able to take what might be a genuine call.
"If an engine is called out on a hoax, their response time to a real fire will be compromised and they won't be there to help people in real danger."