Fire department busy firefighting prank calls

Operators  see a rise in the number of such calls during the summer when children will be at home for vacation.

Published: 29th March 2018 05:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th March 2018 05:22 AM   |  A+A-

Fire department busy firefighting prank calls

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: The state disaster response and fire services department is not just tackling fires but also grappling with prank calls of all sorts. Be it calls ‘alerting’ about a fire mishap which never happened to calls asking them to recharge their mobile balance, the operators at the Fire Control Room (FCR) are flooded with such calls. The operators also see a rise in the number of such calls during the summer when children will be at home for vacation.

The department is forced to handle a number of dubious and mischievous calls besides dealing with false reports. “Because of summer vacation, a lot of children are at home and they make prank calls to the fire services emergency number. Sometimes, parents of infants also encourage their children to call us as a prank,” said K Surya Prakash, call operator, FCR. A majority of the mischievous calls are made in the evening and are from Charminar and nearby localities, he added.

Another telephone operator, N Prem Raj, observed that calls pertaining to the password of Paytm are high in number. “Though we want people to use fire extinguishing equipment to douse small fires by themselves, they call us even in cases of minor fire,” he added.“In the past the number of prank calls was pretty high as mischief makers found the coin-operated public telephone booths convenient to make such calls for fun. Though such calls are fewer nowadays, they nevertheless force us to unnecessarily rush to the place,” said GV Prasad, ADFO, RR District. When Express visited the FCR, it received 20 dubious calls in a span of just about one hour.  

Interestingly, under Chapter 5 (29) of the Telangana Fire Services Act, 1999, any person giving false information about outbreak of a fire to officials is punishable with imprisonment up to three months or a fine of Rs 500. But the TSDRFRS has, so far, not initiated any such penal action in cases of false reports.

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About 1,000 calls in a day are fake
Of the nine telephone lines that the FCR manages, about 2,000 calls are received per day. The distress calls among them are about 1,000, say officials.

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