FIREFIGHTERS are warning that they will be getting tough on hoax callers during the summer holidays.
The number of hoax calls rises as the school holidays begin, as children with too much time on their hands try to alleviate their boredom.
There is also traditionally a rise in nuisance fires, which can cause damage to property and even cost lives.
Last year, firefighters in West Yorkshire attended 33 deliberate fires outdoors every day, while the communications centre received nine hoax calls on average each day.
Brian Robson, area manager for community safety at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said young people do not always realise the consequences of their actions.
“When a fire engine is called out to a hoax call or to put out a fire which was started deliberately, they are unable to attend other life-threatening emergencies.
“Seconds can mean the difference between life and death. Imagine how you would feel if your home was on fire or your family were trapped in a vehicle but your local fire engine was busy dealing with a nuisance fire or hoax call.”
Mr Robson said the fire service will be tough on anyone caught taking part in either crime.
“We take both crimes very seriously and will do everything in our power to prosecute those responsible. We also have the powers to have hoax callers cut off by their mobile phone company.
“The summer holidays should be enjoyed by everyone, so please help us by ensuring that your fun or foolishness does not cause someone else a tragedy.”
He said people can avoid falling victim to a nuisance fire by following a few tips:
Move items such as garden waste and bins away from your house. If they are set alight, the fire could spread.
Empty any skips regularly and do not leave rubbish or furniture in your garden.
Ensure matches and lighters are kept out of reach of children.
For more advice, or a free home safety check, contact 0800 587 4536 or visit www.westyorksfire.gov.uk