Warning for parents as one hoax call costs public £2,465 and diverts ambulance from real emergency

Warning for parents as one hoax call costs public £2,465 and diverts ambulance from real emergency call

When to make a 999 call

East Midlands Ambulance Service is asking parents to talk to their children about not making hoax 999 calls after one call cost the public almost £2,500 and saw an ambulance diverted from a real emergency. 

On Friday, a child made a hoax 999 call, reporting that a young girl had been run over by a car and had died. 

The air ambulance, a paramedic in a fast response vehicle and two ambulances were sent to the scene to treat the patient, but when they arrived there was no-one at the address and it became clear the call had been a hoax.

One of the ambulances was diverted from a real call where someone was experiencing chest pains as the hoax call was believed to be so serious, although another ambulance was sent to this patient moments later. 

As the air ambulance costs £1,700 per incident and each ambulance costs £255 per incident, this one hoax call cost £2,465.

 Yesterday, Monday 10 April, EMAS received a further three hoax calls from children.

Simon Tomlinson,  General Manager for our Emergency Operations Centres, would like to remind people that hoax calls can put lives at risk and to only dial 999 in the event of a serious emergency. 

He said: “Hoax calls can put people’s lives in danger by diverting resources away from genuine emergencies and can delay responses attending serious or life threatening emergency calls. 

“They also place additional strain on emergency services at a time when the EMAS is dealing with a rising number of 999 calls.” 

“Think - your life, or the life of someone you care about, could be put at risk by making a hoax call.” 

Ewan Hinde, the Emergency Call Handler who took the hoax call, explained that it was only his third day in the job and that it was very disheartening to hear people misusing the service.

He said: “It’s a complete misuse of the service we provide and it’s very disheartening and upsetting.”

Police have been informed about this hoax call, and take such calls very seriously.