The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has received a number of hoax fire calls and wish to alert the public to the potentially very serious consequences of making such calls. Besides the costs involved in responding to false alarms, they could hamper the ability of the Fire Services to respond to real fire incidents. For example; as response vehicles are taken away from the station at which they are based and a call for a real emergency in that station’s area is received whilst the vehicles are responding to the false alarm, a vehicle will then have to be sent from the next nearest station, which will delay the arrival of the emergency vehicle by several minutes. As a result of this delay, persons could die or property could be destroyed.
It should be noted that the Fire Brigade Services Act, 99 of 1987, as amended by the Fire Brigade Services Amendment Act, 14 of 2000 makes provision for penalties as regard the giving of false alarms; “Any person who summons a service while he knows that there is no reason to do so, shall be guilty of an offence and on conviction liable to a fine not exceeding R10 000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months”. Some members of the public have already been found guilty and received jail sentences.
The Municipality appeals to all offenders to realise the serousness of their actions and refrain from raising false alarms.