It costs the taxpayer almost £2,000 on average every time a fire engine is put into action, so it’s no laughing matter when pranksters are behind a 999 call.
Herts Fire and Rescue Service is sending out warnings via social networking site Twitter that it will hunt hoax callers and, working with police, will get mobile phones of most prolific offenders cut off.
Assistant chief fire officer Doug Robinson said: “Every time a fire engine goes out it costs money.
“If it goes out to a hoax call it’s not going out to a genuine call so there is a risk to the public – that is our biggest issue.”
Between April 1 and December 31 last year, the fire service received 205 hoax calls from across the county.
Of these 126 were successfully challenge by specially trained call operators and no crews were sent out.
Of the remaining 79 others, 12 were in the Dacorum area and these were all attended to.
Mr Robinson said: “If the control operator is not sure we will always send a pump. We will not take any risks”