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16077 – Malicious false alarms

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A request for information about animal rescues 2013-2016

Ref: FOI/16077


I am writing to confirm that the West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information you requested on 6th June 2016.

Please find below a summary of our findings.


Please could you tell me the number malicious false alarms logged in Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley and Sandwell in 2015/16, 2014/15 and 2013/14.


Malicious False Alarms 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16
Dudley 81 68 43
Sandwell 95 88 88
Walsall 100 91 80
Wolverhampton 76 74 72

This includes both incidents attended and those where the Fire Control operator identified it was a malicious false alarm early enough that our appliances did not attend.


Please could you explain the fire service’s policy regarding these types of incidents.


Call handlers ask relevant questions when handling all calls to ensure that the right information is gathered and the right resources sent to the incident.  On occasions malicious calls are received.  Should a call be identified as a repeat malicious call we consider the appropriate action to take and this can include call barring.

Further Calls

Should repeat malicious calls be received we refer this to the police.

WMFS’s highly-trained fire control operators only challenge apparent hoaxers if their suspicions are raised. Their professional skills are backed up with one of the most advanced ‘command and control’ systems available, which includes satellite mapping technology. This system also provides operators with historical emergency call data including previous calls per telephone number combined with previous incident data per specific address. This all assists in building a risk profile whilst dealing with an emergency call which is used both in the call handling and the incident evaluation by the responding resources. We then reflect on this data to further enhance our approach to challenging the information offered by hoax callers to support further progress in reducing the number of life-threatening malicious calls.

If you have any queries about this email, please contact me.  Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications. If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision please write to The Public Relations Department, West Midlands Fire Service, 99 Vauxhall Road, Birmingham, B7 4HW.