Fire service reveals thousands of fake calls

Many calls to the fire service are false alarms
Many calls to the fire service are false alarms

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MORE than half of all incidents firefighters attended in West Sussex were false alarms, according to a report.

Of the 9,504 calls to West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service in 2012/13, 5,141 were false alarms.

The annual report of the Chichester-based authority says 2,211 calls were listed under ‘good intent’, compared with 108 described as ‘malicious’. The rest were automatic fire alarms.

Performance on almost all indicators improved over the previous year, with response times improving.

Deliberate fires fell by more than a third, fire injuries in the home were down by 10 per cent and hoax calls decreased by a quarter.

But the overall number of house fires in West Sussex increased by 11 per cent, to 484, and the number of house fire fatalities doubled to six.

Sean Ruth, chief fire officer, said: ‘By focusing our resources where they are most needed and being flexible about how we deliver our services we have been able to make considerable financial savings without compromising the safety of the public or our firefighters.’

The report states people in West Sussex are four times more likely to die in a road traffic collision than they are in a fire. In total 440 people were killed or seriously injured on the county’s roads.