Hoax Calls

Firefighters normally respond to every emergency call that is made. If they arrive at an address and find out that it's a hoax, it may delay them in attending a serious emergency incident, where they may be needed to rescue someone trapped in a house fire or road traffic collision.

In many emergencies, every second really does count. Increasing the time it takes the fire crews to respond could mean the difference between saving a life or losing one. Therefore diverting an appliance through a hoax call could have a major impact.

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All 999 calls made to the Fire and Rescue Service are recorded and can be instantly traced back to the caller. This doesn't just apply to land lines; even calls from public phone boxes and mobile phones are taped and could be traced. Even dialling the prefix '141' will not block your identification when making a 999 call.

It is illegal to make a hoax emergency call. People can, and have been, heavily prosecuted for making hoax calls with a fine of up to £5,000 or six months in prison.

Remember - the Fire and Rescue Service knows the phone number you called from, and has a recording of your voice!

Financial Year

No. of hoax calls

2009 / 2010


2010 / 2011


2011 / 2012


2012 / 2013

2013 / 2014 54
2014 / 2015 52

The average recorded cost of hoax calls is approximately £250 per call out.