Dialling 999 for a lift to the bank puts lives at risk
LIVES have been put at risk during the festive period because of inappropriate calls from members of the public.
One resident dialled 999 to ask for an ambulance to take them to a bank, while other calls in the past few weeks include someone having trouble with toothache and someone with a minor sore throat.
It comes at a time when staff shortages and high numbers of ambulance workers phoning in sick have caused havoc.
The Mail revealed last week how more than a dozen ambulances were off the road in Hull and the East Riding because 26 shifts went uncovered.
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Matthew Collins, a team leader in one of Yorkshire Ambulance Service’s emergency operations centres, said: “Every week, we receive hundreds of calls from people who are obviously wasting our time and it’s incredibly frustrating.
“What many don’t realise is that while we are dealing with a patient with toothache or a stubbed toe, we may be delayed in getting to a little girl nearby with serious breathing difficulties.
“All we ask is that before you pick up the phone to dial for an ambulance, think about whether someone else’s need could be greater.”
Earlier this year, the Mail reported Humberside Police had received 28 calls about UFOs, two about ghosts, two relating to zombies and one call each for a warlock and a witch in the past five years.
Last year, the police logged 509 as hoax calls, of which 204 were regular and persistent callers.
Helen Chapman, call handling manager at Humberside Police, said: “One of our greatest concerns is the inappropriate use of 999, whereby members of the public choose to ring the emergency number in an effort to queue jump, wrongly thinking their complaint will be dealt with more quickly than if they dial 101.
“If 999 lines are occupied with inappropriate calls it can have a detrimental effect on our ability to answer genuine calls and on our capacity to attend genuine emergencies.
“The new 101 number is easy to remember, it only costs 15 pence per call and should always be the number used unless it really is an emergency.”
However, Pete Baron, of Humberside Fire And Rescue Service, said there had not been as many problems with hoax calls.
He said: “We work hard in the community to reduce the number of prank calls and try to encourage people to only call us if they feel it is necessary.
“It is really important that fire engines are available to respond when needed so unnecessary calls can cause us a problem. It is pleasing to see that the number of prank calls has been relatively low and the message is getting through to only call us for a real emergency.
“This means that we can continue to offer the most efficient and effective response when needed.”