Kids making hoax 999 calls leave paramedics unable to attend genuine emergencies

PUBLISHED: 16:00 09 August 2018

Parents have been warned by the ambulance service to keep an eye on their phones.

Parents have been warned by the ambulance service to keep an eye on their phones.

Archant

Paramedics have asked parents to keep an eye on their mobile phones in the summer holidays, as South Western Ambulance Service has received a number of prank calls from school-aged children.

Call-handlers have dealt with a number of hoaxes, which have resulted in ambulances being sent to people’s houses, only to find no-one there when they arrive.

When call-handlers rang the number back, they were met with the sound of children laughing.

Wasted journeys have meant crews have been unable to attend genuine patients in need of care.

The ambulance trust says it will prosecute offenders if necessary.

Last year, it received 774 hoax calls, distracting paramedics from 91 real emergencies.

The service’s chief executive Ken Wenman said: “We strongly encourage parents to impress upon their children the importance of only dialing 999 in a genuine emergency situation.”

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