55 hoax calls made to Dungannon fire station

Dozens of hoax calls have been made to Dungannon fire station
Dozens of hoax calls have been made to Dungannon fire station

Fire chiefs have warned that lives are being put at risk by the dozens of malicious hoax calls made to Dungannon Fire Station.

Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service revealed that over the past five years there have been 55 hoax calls recorded at the town’s fire station.

Last year, firefighters in the South Tyrone and Fermanagh constituency dealt with a total of 23 such calls, one of the highest figures for Northern Ireland.

Fortunately, the figures have been dropping from a high of 37 in 2011.

By comparison, the Mid Ulster constituency is one of the areas least effected by prank calls, with only four such incidents reported in the past year, down from 19 in 2011.

Fire crews in Belfast South responded to the highest number of malicious calls, with 80, followed by West Belfast with 49.

Across Northern Ireland, there have been 442 hoaxes in the past year, a decrease from 488 the year before and 524 in 2012/13, the NIFRS said.

However group commander Mark Smyth warned that all prank calls can delay attendance at a real emergency.

“We may be the target but it’s the hoax callers who are the ‘fools’ and their local community who are the victims,” he explained. The number of attacks on fire crews has also been on a downward trend, from 178 in 2013 to 118 in 2014 and 110 over the past year.

“As far as attacks on our crews go, we enjoy great support from the vast majority of the local community”, he added.