Hoax fire calls have dropped by 65% in the last five years.
Figures just released by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service show a steady decline in the number of hoax calls the service receives dropping from 1,489 in 2004 to just 531 in 2009; a drop of 65%.
Assistant Divisional Officer Vernon Kendall said: “Hoax calls are a problem, as a service we deal with more than two a day, but the number of hoax calls we get has been reducing year on year dropping from 1,599 in 2003.
“We recognise that the menace of hoax calls affects all people living within Essex and we are doing all we can to deter the hoax caller.
“We actively monitor hoax calls to the service on a daily basis and have computers working to flag multiple hoax call offenders, these phones are then disconnected. We work in close partnership with premises across Essex where hoax calls are a problem to develop a strategy to combat this socially unacceptable practice.
“We track exactly where the calls come from and this allows us to build up a pattern to show where we are most likely to receive these calls from which allows us to focus our community work on hoax calls to those areas it is needed most.
“The hoax call problem not only costs money, it also consumes valuable resources and it could potentially cost people’s lives, because appliances are not available to protect the public when and where we should be.”
There were 1,599 hoax calls in 2003; 1,489 in 2004; 1,283 in 2005; 1,149 in 2006; 951 in 2007; 835 in 2008; and 531 in 2009.